Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Photo by Janet Ward, NOAA Photo Library, Flickr Creative Commons

Phoenix to Albuquerque RV Road Trip

Photo by MJonesAz (wikimedia commons)Lower Salt River, near Metro Phoenix area Country Photo by MJonesAz (wikimedia commons)

As with most things in life there’s quite a lot of choice when it comes to routes from Phoenix to Albuquerque, there’s the most direct route, which will have you there in a day, then there’s the part scenic, part Interstate route; but we’re going to go the whole hog and take the absolutely scenic route.  Now, this route does come with a few warnings, if you’ve got a really big vehicle this route can have a few hairpin bends, but as long as you take it steady you shouldn’t have any problems.  The other way to look at is that some of the Arizona State roads have no break down lanes or hard shoulders, so the driving can be just as difficult, at least you’ll be going slower on this route!

Day 1

Leave the city behind you and head out east on the AZ 260 through the amazing Salt River Canyon towards Show Low and the Tonto National Forest.  As you can imagine the National Park has a great range of trails, opportunities to encounter wildlife, and of course, lots of trees.  The park covers three million acres, and is one of the most visited urban forests in the US.  If you want to explore, buy a map which shows the trails, lakes, and wilderness areas, just so you don’t get lost!  There are also special facilities for staying overnight in motorhome rental and campervan hire vehicles, so there’s no rush, take your time, and explore.

Day 2

Today you leave one forest and enter another, this time it’s the Gila National Forest.  Follow the road that travels through Pinetop Lakeside, no points for guessing why it’s called that, over to Eagar.  The roads can be rather winding, but the views really make up for that, and there are lots of places to pull over and admire the view.  You’ll then re-join the I60 and civilisation, well almost because the next stop is El Mapais National Monument, south east of Gallup.  The monument is where you can see some of the world’s oldest Douglas Fir Trees, lava tube caves, a massive natural stone arch, and some interesting lava fields.

From the monument you then rejoin the Interstate 40 from where you will be at you final destination in no time at all.

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