The Ultimate Phoenix to Durango Road Trip
A road trip is always the best way to explore, providing you with a chance to really see every inch of the area you’re visiting. One of the best adventures you can go on to take full advantage of these benefits? A Phoenix to Durango road trip, especially if you can do it via RV.
Not only are the sights in between Phoenix some of the best in the West, but Durango itself is also one of the prettiest places you’ll ever have the chance to visit. RVing from Phoenix to Durango means you can meander at your own pace, explore whatever suits your fancy, stay in Durango for a while, and stay perfectly comfortable the entire time.
Yes, the freedom to fly by the seat of your pants is great. That said, we also think it is good to do some research and have a loose plan (including some campground reservations) before you head out.
That’s where this itinerary comes into play. Use it to plan your trip, but leave some room for extra fun you find along the way. After all, you never know what unexpected gems might pop up!
Before we get into an actual itinerary, let’s talk a bit about planning your Phoenix to Durango road trip. Read on to learn what you need to know before you go.
Taking the most direct route from Phoenix to Durango, you will drive a total of ~442 miles, or about 7 hours and 15 minutes. That said, there are tons of things to see along the way that will add some miles and time to your drive. If you include all of the stops mentioned below on your route, your drive will be a total of 490 miles, but those extra miles are well worthwhile.
We’ve already mentioned the fact that RVing from Phoenix to Durango is our very favorite option. That said, not everyone has this option. Fortunately, there are other ways to get to Durango.
Taking a Phoenix to Durango road trip in a car is one option. You can choose to tent camp or stay in hotels along the way before settling into an Outdoorsy Bayfield glamping tent or an Outdoorsy RV rental in one of the Outdoorsy Bayfield’s many awesome campsites.
Another way to get to Durango is to fly. This is the best option for those who are pressed for time, but it does remove the super fun road trip factor. Still, you can get some good relaxation in nature by staying in a rental in Outdoorsy Bayfield.
Not sure what to pack for RVing from Phoenix to Durango? Most of the things to do in Durango (and along the route there) are in the great outdoors.
Therefore, you will want to pack for the weather and ensure the clothes you choose are good for activities like hiking, fishing, etc. A swimsuit is recommended during the summer, and hiking shoes are always good to have on hand.
Beyond the typical clothes and toiletries, you’ll also need to pack camping essentials. Check out this RV packing list for details on items to include.
We also highly recommend investing in an “America the Beautiful” Pass before your Phoenix to Durango road trip. This handy pass will get you into all of the national park sites included in our itinerary, so you don’t have to worry about paying fees at each individual site.
If you are a senior, a fourth grader, a member of the military, or have a disability, you may be entitled to a free or very low-cost national parks pass, so be sure to look into that option as well!
The next step? Figuring out what to do in Durango and along the way to get there. Below is our ultimate itinerary for RVing from Phoenix to Durango. Use this as a foundation and add to it as you see fit.
The first leg of your trip is from Phoenix to Sedona. With all of the listed stops included, your total mileage for this leg will be about 132. That may not seem like much, but with so much to see along the way, it will definitely take a whole long day.
First, you will stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument. This is an incredible place where you can see the awe-inspiring Montezuma Castle, an ancient cliff dwelling that is remarkably well-preserved. How this dwelling was built boggles the mind, and the exhibits in the visitor center do a fantastic job teaching visitors about the people who built it.
Located just down the road from Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well is Arizona’s only sinkhole. The collapsed cave created a small lake, which the ancient people used to create an irrigation system to water their crops. They also built some smaller cliff dwellings into the side of the sinkhole, which are interesting to look at.
Those who are interested in petroglyphs will want to stop at V Bar V Heritage Site. Located in Rimrock, AZ, this is the largest petroglyph site in the area, with more than 1,000 images carved in the rocks. It’s lots of fun to look at and ponder.
Sedona is chock-full of amazing things to see and do, and could easily be a vacation getaway all on its own. Depending on how much time you have to spend in the city, we recommend checking out one or all of the following:
Sedona is home to a few different camping options. Rancho Sedona RV Park is the best place for camping with amenities, for sure. Meanwhile, we have to recommend Javelina Designated Dispersed Camping for those who prefer camping without hookups.
This 30-mile leg is quite short and could probably be combined with either the leg above or below. However, if you have the time, we recommend taking a whole day to do it. Oak Creek Canyon is a great place to do some exploring, Slide Rock State Park is a lot of fun, and there are several great things to do once you get to Flagstaff.
Oak Creek Canyon is an absolutely beautiful place that is known for colorful rocks and unique rock formations. We recommend using your time here to take a scenic drive, stopping along the way to purchase Native American crafts, play in the water, or have a picnic.
One of the best things to see in Oak Creek Canyon is Slide Rock State Park. This lovely park was originally an early 1900s homestead, and the homestead’s original cabins are still available for viewing. The best part however is the natural water slide created by a slick rock in the creek. This rock provides hours of entertainment for swimmers of all ages!
Of course, you’ll also want to explore Flagstaff itself. We recommend checking out some of the attractions and sites below before moving on:
Fort Tuthill County Park Campground is our favorite place to stay when visiting Flagstaff. It is a tiny bit outside of town, but the beauty of the place is well worth the drive to reach the shopping and restaurants. This campground boasts both dry camping sites and campsites with hookups, so you can choose how you camp.
Next up, a drive from Flagstaff to the Navajo National Monument. Once again, this is a stretch you can probably cover in a single day, but if it seems like too much and time isn’t an issue, splitting the drive is a possibility. Total mileage with all stops is 138 miles.
Walnut Canyon National Monument is another place where you can see some amazing ancient cliff dwellings. Admire the natural beauty of the canyon itself and then imagine the work it must have taken to build the homes set in the canyon’s walls.
Have you ever stood in a volcano crater? Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument gives you a chance to do just that! Marvel at the ways the volcano’s eruption changed the landscape, go for a hike to immerse yourself in the beauty of it all, and learn about the human history of the area.
Yet another fantastic place for a history lesson, Wupatki National Monument allows visitors to hike to 900-year-old Pueblo structures. These structures are incredible, and it’s easy to imagine the thriving community that once called this place home.
Don’t forget to use your evening and morning to do some adventuring in Navajo National Monument. You will want to be sure to check out some of the following:
There are two campgrounds in Navajo National Monument, making finding a place to stay a cinch. Sunset View Campground is a first-come-first-served spot with 31 sites that is 100% free. Canyon View Campground is also free, but closes in the wintertime. Neither offers hookups, but both are lovely. Just be aware that very big rigs may not fit!
Once you’re done at Navajo National Monument, you can head to Mesa Verde National Park. This is a 190-mile leg that will require a total of 3 to 3.5 hours of driving. There are not as many stops along this stretch, but Mesa Verde National Park is a must-see that will take a bit more time than other stops, so plan for that.
Have you ever stood in four states at once? If not, a quick stop at Four Corners Monument is a must. This won’t take long, but is an awesome photo opportunity.
Mesa Verde National Park will absolutely be one of the highlights of your Phoenix-to-Durango road trip. Here, you can see amazing canyons and mesas, learn about the Ancestral Puebloan people that once called this place home, and see their incredible and mesmerizing cliff dwellings up close with a guided ranger tour.
Since Durango is your final destination, it’s also probably where you will spend the most time. This is good news, as there are a ton of amazing things to do in Durango as well as the surrounding towns, including the adorable Bayfield, CO.
While in Durango, be sure to check out the fun below:
Fortunately, there are many campgrounds in Durango, Bayfield, and the surrounding areas, making it easy to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the natural beauty all around. As you might have guessed already, Outdoorsy Bayfield is our top pick, thanks to its beautiful grounds and amenities such as walking trails and excellent onsite fishing.
As you can see, RVing from Phoenix to Durango is a road trip unlike any other. You’ll see beautiful sights, learn about the history of the area, and make memories that’ll last a lifetime.
So what are you waiting for? Rent your RV and book your campsite—or reserve your glamping tent—and get ready to enjoy all that this amazing area of the country has to offer!
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 Phoenix to Durango Road Trip:
Thanks to Spotify user momondo, the world has a playlist that’s custom-made for a road trip like this one. Put these tunes on lock as you meander through the majesty of the Southwest:
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 few accounts you ought to follow for some trip insights along the way:
–bestfoodphoenix is, you guessed it, a page devoted to all things fantastic about Phoenix food. Dig into the pics and stories to find the best grub to fuel your Phoenix to Durango road trip.
–Jesse Yazzie is a Navajo influencer who showcases indigenous artists throughout Arizona. Most of his images are of murals painted at various locations you could see along your road trip to Durango.
–Flagstaff_Arizona is an Instagram page managed by a Flagstaff photog family who loves visually showcasing all the cool spots to see in their area. Check it out to pick a few pit stops in this uber-cool Arizona town.
A Phoenix to Durango road trip takes you ’round some of the most spectacular spots in the Southwest. Why not start your planning today?