On this Scottsdale to Sedona road trip, you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful red-rock terrains in the country. Some great state parks and attractions along the way show off the very best this area has to offer visitors. If you’re willing to travel a bit before and after your road trip, you’ll also get to visit some of America’s top national parks. If you’re ready to hit the open road, then hitch up your trailer or rev up your motorhome and get started on your road trip from Scottsdale to Sedona.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is located an hour and 40 minutes south of Scottsdale on the outskirts of Tucson. The distinctive cacti that give the park its name have long been featured in movies, artwork, and in other media depicting Western life and culture. There are some great hiking trails here that open up this desert environment for fun exploration. Whether you want to take an easier path or a harder one, you’ll be able to get your fill of the distinct desert flora and fauna of Saguaro National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is also named for the distinctive flora that grows within its boundaries. You can reach this lovely desert park by driving roughly three hours and 45 minutes west from Scottsdale into California. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to see plenty of the exotic Joshua trees as well as the multiple types of cacti, wildflowers, and desert wildlife that call this park home. Whether you want to take a stroll around the quarter-mile Cholla Cactus Garden or hike to and from Lost Palms Oasis, you won’t lack for fascinating options at Joshua Tree National Park.
Petrified Forest National Park
Once you’ve reached the technical end of your Scottsdale to Sedona RV road trip, you’ll be able to visit several more excellent national parks. One of these is Petrified Forest National Park, which is about two hours and 20 minutes away from Sedona. The primary attraction of this unique national park is the fascinating fossilized wood that formed millennia ago. This park is also home to gorgeous multicolored desert landscapes, various types of desert fauna, and prehistoric petroglyphs. Whether you’re exploring this park via horseback or backpack or just your own two feet, you’ll have a great time at Petrified Forest National Park.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is about two hours north of Sedona, so it’s easily within reach. Given the Grand Canyon’s status as arguably the most iconic national park in the U.S., traveling a couple of hours to see it is a small price to pay. If you want to join the millions of people who visit this park every year, you’ll be able to experience the highs and lows of this enormous gorge carved out over time by the Colorado River. Hiking, riding, rafting, camping, photography, and numerous other activities are popular at this world-famous national park.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is four and a half hours from Sedona and two hours from the Grand Canyon. This stunning national park is the jewel of Utah because of its breathtaking canyon vistas, its iconic gorge called the Narrows that's perfect for wading, and its rugged mountain forest terrain. You can hike along the park’s East Rim through ponderosa forests, wade to your heart’s content through the Narrows, and gaze in wonder at panoramic views of gorgeous Zion Canyon.
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Fortunately, the state parks on your road trip itinerary from Scottsdale to Sedona are much closer to your route than the national parks. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located in the Tonto National Forest, which parallels a decent portion of your route. The park is named for the large natural arch in the park that resembles a bridge. You’ll also be able to explore the aboveground portion of the park, which is full of delightful plants and animals.
Fort Verde State Historic Park
Fort Verde State Historic Park is located in picturesque Camp Verde, which is roughly 40 minutes south of Sedona. Visitors can experience historic recreations of what life was like as a frontier soldier in the Wild West. The Verde River flows nearby, so there are plenty of opportunities for swimming and fishing. There are plenty of areas for hiking and picnicking as well.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is another park featuring part of the Verde River. Obviously, fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities are widely available here. You can also explore this former working ranch courtesy of the multiple trails that take you through this park. It’s only 30 minutes from Sedona, so it’s not far from the endpoint of your road trip from Scottsdale to Sedona.
Red Rocks State Park
There is no shortage of red rocks in general on this road trip, but if you want to see some great ones, you should stop by Red Rocks State Park. Besides, it’s only 17 minutes from Sedona, so you definitely need to explore this gorgeous red canyon and its flora and fauna while you’re in the area.
Slide Rock State Park
Slide Rock State Park is actually about 15 minutes north of Sedona, but it’s worth the slight bit of extra travel. At this park, you can slide down an 80-foot stone waterslide, eat apples seasonally from the park’s apple orchard, and hike along Oak Creek.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
The first point of interest on your road trip itinerary from Scottsdale to Sedona is Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. It’s just out of the Phoenix area in Deer Valley, so you won’t have to go too far on your road trip to reach it. This water park in the venerable Six Flags franchise has tons of fun rides like the Bahama Blaster, Mammoth Falls, Tornado, and Anaconda.
Pioneer Living History Museum
Not too far up Interstate 17 close to the Anthem area is the Pioneer Living History Museum. This museum takes the form of an Old Western town that includes both original and replicated buildings from the 1860s to the 1910s. Costumed reenactors may also roam the streets of this museum and are always willing to share their knowledge with interested guests.
Agua Fria National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument is about an hour and a half into your Scottsdale to Sedona road trip. This park is 71,000 acres and contains the Agua Fria River and two plateaus. The roughly 1,500-foot elevation change throughout the park guarantees a variety of diversity in the plants and wildlife of the park. You can also see prehistoric petroglyphs here.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument is about 35 minutes south of Sedona. This prehistoric cliff dwelling is so extraordinary that it’s one of the first four national monuments that President Theodore Roosevelt designated as such in 1906. While you can no longer tour the ruins themselves in the interest of structural preservation, you can still walk on multiple trails and view the museum.
Bell Rock Pathway
Bell Rock is only 15 minutes from Sedona, so you can stop there near the end of your Scottsdale to Sedona RV road trip. This distinctive red-rock formation is best seen from Bell Rock Pathway, which also gives you a great vantage point of Courthouse Butte. The path is only 3.7 miles long, so it’s easy to hike or bike at your leisure.
Deer Valley is an urban village in the Phoenix area, so it’s close enough for visitors to take advantage of Phoenix’s dump stations and campgrounds. In addition to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, other local attractions include the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, Deer Valley Park, and Paseo Highlands Park.
Anthem is about 45 miles away from Scottsdale, so it’s still close enough to take advantage of some of Phoenix’s dump stations and campgrounds. Lake Pleasant and Lake Pleasant Regional Park are close by as are Anthem Community Park and the outskirts of the Tonto National Forest.
About 40 minutes outside of Sedona is the picturesque town of Camp Verde located near the Verde River. This area is so gorgeous that numerous tourists visit, so there are plenty of dump stations and campgrounds to serve travelers. In addition to enjoying the Verde River, you can also visit the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, the Cliff Castle Casino, and Fort Verde State Historic Park.
Lake Montezuma isn’t too far up the road from Camp Verde. It’s fairly close to Prescott, so you could use their dump stations if necessary. Lake Montezuma is close to Montezuma Castle National Monument, Wet Beaver Creek, and, of course, Lake Montezuma.
Oak Creek is near Sedona, so you can take advantage of Sedona’s campgrounds if you’re exploring the area. Local attractions include Bell Canyon, Jacks Canyon Trailhead, and Bell Rock.
If you’re ready to get started on your Scottsdale to Sedona RV road trip but you don’t have an RV, you should rent one from RVshare. You can rent an RV from Scottsdale, Sedona, or any number of locations throughout the U.S. Renting an RV for this Scottdale to Sedona road trip is sure to create a truly epic vacation!
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