The Ultimate Dallas to Durango Road Trip
Looking for an amazing vacation option from Dallas? Why not try a Dallas to Durango road trip? Not only will you end up in an amazing place, but by RVing from Dallas to Durango, you’ll be able to take it slow and stop at all of the amazing places along the way.
All that said, it’s always good to have some sort of guide when planning a road trip, and a Dallas to Durango road trip is no exception. That’s where this article comes into play. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to go RVing from Dallas to Durango and have an amazing time doing it!
Before we get to the actual Dallas to Durango road trip itinerary, let’s talk a bit about the trip planning process. Doing some planning before you hit the road will help ensure your trip goes off without a hitch so you can focus on enjoying yourself the entire time.
It is, of course, good to know what kind of drive you’re in for before you set out on your Dallas to Durango road trip. Without taking any stops into account, the total drive time is about 853 miles and 13 hours long. That said, we’ve split up that drive over four days so you spend less time driving and more time adventuring.
It’s also worth mentioning the fact that the stops we recommend along the way may add a few miles and a bit of drive time to your trip, but they are totally worth it.
RVing from Dallas to Durango is definitely the way to go if at all possible. We love that taking an RV gives you freedom to travel at your own pace and in complete comfort. That said, sometimes RVing isn’t possible. In these cases, we recommend looking into other options.
Jumping in the car for a Dallas to Durango road trip is an option that allows you to see the sights along the way, even if you can’t bring an RV along. Of course, there’s also the option of taking a plane from point A to point B, a choice that will mean skipping the sights along the route but will still allow you to enjoy a vacation in fantastic Durango.
Either way, if you aren’t taking an RV on your trip, you can still relax at the wonderful Outdoorsy Bayfield. Renting an Outdoorsy Bayfield glamping tent is tons of fun, or you can snag an Outdoorsy RV rental and have it parked in one of Outdoorsy Bayfield’s many awesome campsites.
Obviously, you will also need to pack before you hit the road on your Dallas to Durango road trip. Since this particular itinerary includes so many state parks, NPS sites, and other outdoorsy activities, it’s a good idea to pack to be outside. Hiking attire and a wide-brim hat are recommended, as are good hiking shoes and a swimsuit for when the weather’s hot.
Not sure what else you might need for RVing from Dallas to Durango? Check out this RV packing list for details on items to include.
Another thing you might consider packing? An “America the Beautiful” Pass. This pass is awesome because it gets you free admission at a huge number of government-owned natural areas, including many of the parks listed in our itinerary.
Note that if you are a senior, a fourth grader, a member of the military, or you have a disability, you are likely entitled to a very low-cost (or even free) national park pass.
Okay, now let’s dive into our awesome Dallas to Durango road trip itinerary. Follow this itinerary exactly or change it up to suit your needs. Either way, you’re bound to have an amazing time.
The first leg of your trip takes you from Dallas to Amarillo. This drive is about 365 miles long and will take around 5 and a half hours. We recommend a stop at Wichita Falls on the way to break up the drive and stretch your legs, and then a full day in Amarillo for exploring.
— World’s Littlest Skyscraper —
When you stop in Wichita Falls, be sure to check out the World’s Littlest Skyscraper. Sure, it’s kinda silly, but it is interesting to see how much architecture has changed over the years and the kinds of things we take for granted.
Wondering what to do while in Amarillo? There are tons of options. Below are some of our favorites.
— Palo Duro Canyon State Park —
If you do nothing else in Amarillo, we highly recommend exploring the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Here you’ll find beautiful views, fun hikes, a super cool outdoor musical performance, and gorgeous night skies.
— Amarillo Botanical Gardens —
Want a quiet stroll in a beautiful place? Amarillo Botanical Gardens has you covered. This is a beautiful garden with tons of different kinds of plants, and it’s a great place to spend a few hours.
— American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum —
If you have any interest at all in quarter horses, you should plan a stop at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum features all kinds of interesting info, history, and art, all centered around quarter horses.
— Jack Sisemore RV Museum —
Prefer RVs over quarter horses? If so, the Jack Sisemore RV Museum might be right up your alley. This museum is actually quite small, but it is free to visit and does boast some pretty cool old RVs, so we think it’s worth a visit.
During your time in Amarillo, we recommend staying in the aforementioned Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This allows you to wake up to some amazing views and the beautiful sounds of nature. It also makes it easy to explore the park during your short time in the area.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park plays host to campsites with electric and water, which can be reserved online.
Image source: Mmyers240
On leg 2 of your trip you will go from Amarillo to Albuquerque. This is around 290 miles and should take you about four-and-a-half hours. There isn’t a lot to see along the way, so aside from one quick stop early in the drive, we recommend planning for a long stretch of driving.
— Cadillac Ranch —
The only stop we recommend along today’s path is at the Cadillac Ranch. Here you’ll find a line of Cadillac cars jutting up out of the ground and covered in spray paint. It’s a short stop, but is a great photo op and a fun opportunity to add a bit of paint (or a sticker or two) to the ever-changing art piece.
There is no shortage of things to see and do in Albuquerque. In fact, you might want to tack a couple of days onto your trip so you have plenty of time to explore it all.
Here are some of our top picks.
— Petroglyphs National Monument —
We will always recommend visiting any NPS site you pass, and Petroglyphs National Monument is no exception. This awesome little park features an enormous number of ancient petroglyphs, which you can seek out while hiking along some short and easy trails.
— ABQ BioPark —
Are you an animal fan? Enjoy checking out some interesting plants? ABQ BioPark might be the place for you. This is a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden all in one spot, and it is wonderful.
— Explora Science Center —
If you have kids in tow, you might consider heading to Explora Science Center for some hands-on fun. Building and experimenting allows kids to learn and explore while having a great time.
— New Mexico Museum of Natural Science and History —
Located right by Explora, the New Mexico Museum of Natural Science and History is another good pick. This museum has an excellent dinosaur exhibit that we highly recommend checking out first.
Our favorite place to stay in Albuquerque is Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post. This is a small, simple park, but the people here couldn’t be more welcoming. A pool is open to guests in summer, full-hookup and partial-hookup sites are available, and the bathhouses are immaculately clean.
Image source: Bryce Chackerian
Next up is Albuquerque to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This part of the trip is around 150 miles and two-and-a-half hours long. The scenery on this trip is wonderful, and we highly recommend the stop listed below to really enjoy the beauty of the area.
— El Malpais National Monument —
El Malpais National Monument is another fantastic stop that you really must make.
This beautiful NPS site will fill a few hours, at least, so be sure to leave Albuquerque early. The visitor center opens at 9:00 AM and this is when we recommend arriving to start your adventures.
Start in the visitor center building so you can check out the exhibits. You can also watch the park video and chat with rangers and get their suggestions. The idea is to learn a bit about the park and orient yourself.
From the visitor center, you can choose from a variety of adventures. Take a scenic drive or walk across lava flow. Hike to awesome sandstone arches or explore mysterious lava tube caves. No matter what you do, you’re sure to have a blast!
Things to Do in Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a very remote but super cool spot with some awesome history lessons. We recommend arriving early in the evening so you have a bit of time to explore when you arrive. You might also want to stay an extra day in this park to really explore it.
— Visitor Center —
Start your visit in the visitor center to get acquainted with the park and pick up some trail guides.
— Una Vida & Petroglyphs —
Check out this Chacoan “great house” after a one-mile hike. During the hike you might see some petroglyphs, so keep your eyes peeled!
— Pueblo Bonito —
Take a 0.6-mile round-trip hike through Pueblo Bonito. Make sure to use a trail guide to spot interesting aspects of Chacoan architecture.
— Casa Rinconada —
A half-mile hike will take you to Casa Rinconada and the nearby villages. There, you can see diverse Chocoan architecture.
— Ranger Programs —
Ranger programs are always a fantastic way to dive a little deeper when visiting national park sites. If any are scheduled during your visit, be sure to attend!
As mentioned above, Chaco Culture National Historical Park is in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, the park boasts its own campground so you have a place to park your RV during your stay.
Gallo Campground has 32 dry-camping sites. These can be reserved at recreation.gov. Flush toilets and a dump station are available to make your stay more comfortable.
The final day of driving will take you from Chaco Culture National Historical Park to Durango. You can expect to go about 100 miles and it will take around two hours. Once again, you will be treated to some beautiful scenery and a cool NPS national monument along the way.
— Aztec Ruins National Monument —
Aztec Ruins National Monument is an excellent stop where you can check out even more ruins left by Puebloan people. Go to the visitor center to see some amazing 900-year-old pottery, jewelry, and tools made by the Puebloan people, then head to the Aztec West Self-Guided Trail to see the ruins. You may also want to make time for strolling the Heritage Garden and Native Plants Walk, or attending a ranger program.
Once you’ve finished seeing the Aztec Ruins National Monument, you will head to Durango where you can rest, relax, adventure, and have a blast for a few days. Not sure what to do in Durango? We recommend the following.
— Mesa Verde National Park —
Mesa Verde National Park is a must-visit spot. Here you’ll see some awe-inspiring cliff dwellings. You can even go on a guided tour through one of these incredible ancient homes if you like.
— San Juan National Forest —
San Juan National Forest is the perfect place for anyone who loves the outdoors. Go hiking, fishing, cycling, or just relax and take in all the beauty.
— Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad —
Want a fun ride? Head to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This train allows you to see gorgeous scenery while also enjoying an old-fashioned train ride, something you don’t get to do every day.
— Top Notch Hiking —
We mentioned hiking in the national forest, but this is far from the only hiking around Durango. You’re definitely going to want that hiking gear while in the area.
— Excellent Fishing —
Durango-area fly fishing is also pretty incredible. If you like to fish, be sure to grab your gear when packing the RV!
— Adventure Tours —
The Durango area is home to several excellent outdoor adventure tour companies. Go on an ATV tour or see the sights from the back of a horse. No matter which tour you choose, you’re going to love checking out this beautiful place in a memorable way.
As we mentioned above, we highly recommend staying in Outdoorsy Bayfield during your time in Durango. The spotless bathhouses and beautiful walking paths make it an extremely pleasant place to spend time, and the private river access means more fishing fun.
Whether you choose RVing from Dallas to Durango and staying in one of the Outdoorsy Bayfield campsites, or driving a car or flying in and taking advantage of the onsite rental units, you’re going to love this place!
No road trip would be complete without things like the ultimate road trip playlist, some travel guidance from local influencers, and other wild off-the-beaten path ideas+pit stops.
Here’s a smattering of that for your Dallas to Durango Road Trip:
The name of this playlist says it all. You’ll be covering a lot of ground on this trip – these are the tunes to match.
Before heading on a road trip, it’s always a good idea these days to see what the influencers are saying you should see. Here are a couple cool cats to follow ahead of your trip:
–Visit Durango – The folks at Visit Durango set themselves apart from many tourist info centers by taking a very proactive and innovative approach to inspiring travel to Durango. Their site is packed with images and interactive tools that’ll help you figure out all the fun and quirky stuff to do in the Durango area.
–@sarahsturmy is your go-to if you want the inside scoop on all the best ways to shred the numerous mountain biking trails around Durango.
–Dana Green is a cancer survivor who has a renewed taste for Durango adventures. She shares these adventures to inspire others via her social presence.
Clearly, a Dallas to Durango road trip is an excellent vacation option that everyone in your travel party is sure to love. Why not start planning your amazing getaway today?