Drone view of the city's skyline with a suspension bridge connecting through over Trinity River Park during sunrise
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Road trip from Phoenix to Dallas

Updated by Dianne Titos on February 28 2024

Dallas is famous for its world-class museums, rich history, and quintessential Texan experiences. However, it isn't only the destination that makes this road trip from Phoenix to Dallas special; you will get to visit otherworldly national parks, admire quirky art installations and visit beautiful cities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The 1,145-mile road trip from Phoenix to Dallas will take 16 hours and 45 minutes to drive. Highlights are El Paso, Marfa, Las Cruces, Sedona, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Park.

This incredible drive from Phoenix to Dallas will be the road trip of a lifetime for anyone who wants to get out and explore the wide open spaces of the American West. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top highlights, best places to stay, and the best seasons to travel.

How far is Dallas from Phoenix, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between Phoenix and Dallas
RouteDistanceDriving Time
El Paso Route1,145 miles16 hours 45 minutes
Albuquerque Route1,210 miles18 hours 30 minutes

The El Paso Route on a road trip from Phoenix to Dallas covers a distance of 1,145 miles, with an estimated driving time of 16 hours and 45 minutes.

Alternatively, the Albuquerque Route is slightly longer, covering 1,210 miles and taking about 18 hours and 30 minutes to drive.

While it's possible to complete either route in a couple of days, the array of attractions and scenic beauty along the way means that you'll want to take your time. We suggest taking 5-6 days for this fantastic road trip.

View of downtown Dallas with open green space surrounding it
Dallas is a bustling metropolis that combines impressive cityscapes with beautiful green spaces.

Best road trip route from Phoenix to Dallas

While both the El Paso and Albuquerque routes offer plenty of natural attractions, they each have unique experiences and scenery.

The El Paso Route is a slightly shorter route but is jam-packed with amazing things to see and world-famous places to visit. You'll drive close to the Mexican border, where you'll get to experience unique Southwest culture, cuisine, and history.

This route is also a dream for hikers and nature enthusiasts. If you have more time, you can make a much worthy detour to Big Bend National Park on this route.

Along this route, you'll also find other beautiful landmarks like Dripping Springs Natural Area near Las Cruces, open year-round thanks to its warm southern climate. If you are lucky, you can spot red-tailed hawks and golden eagles here.

If you choose the Albuquerque Route instead, you'll have the opportunity to detour to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park. This natural wonder is a bucket-list destination, offering a plethora of walking, hiking, and photography opportunities.

This route also takes you through the historic city of Santa Fe, where you can indulge in authentic New Mexico cuisine and cultural experiences. You'll also get to spend some time in cities like Sedona, famous for their culture, history, and unique landscape.

The Albuquerque Route will also take you along the historic Route 66. Along this route, you'll get to see some of the most famous roadside attractions, including the famous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo.

How to drive from Phoenix to Dallas

The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Phoenix and Dallas. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.

El Paso Route

Start the El Paso Route by heading out of Phoenix on Interstate 10 (I-10) towards Tucson. Driving through Coronado National Forest, you'll reach Deming, a city known for its rich history and wineries.

The journey will then continue to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where detours to Dripping Springs Natural Area and White Sands National Park are well worth it for breathtaking views and hiking trails.

After Las Cruces, stay on the interstate to El Paso, a historical city blending American and Mexican cultures. From El Paso, head towards Marfa on US-90 E, a town famous for its minimalist art installations and mysterious lights.

Next, you will head to Alpine, Texas, a gateway to Big Bend National Park. Following this, head north towards Fort Stockton and then continue to San Angelo, Texas, known for its beautiful river walk and historical sites.

From San Angelo, continue further on to Abilene. Your final stretch will take you to your destination in Dallas.

Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA with cactus in the foreground taken at sunset.
The beautiful landscape that surrounds Lasa Cruces will take your breath away if you are following the El Paso Route.
Richter MachThunder/Shutterstock.com

Albuquerque Route

Take I-17 N towards Black Canyon City, a picturesque community in the Bradshaw Mountains. From here, continue north to Camp Verde, Arizona, where the historic Montezuma Castle National Monument awaits.

Heading north, you'll reach Red Rock State Park, an area known for its stunning red sandstone formations. After soaking in the natural beauty, head to Sedona, a town renowned for its arts scene and scenery.

Your journey then takes you north to Flagstaff via AZ-89A N, passing through the expansive Coconino National Forest, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You can base yourself in Flagstaff to visit Grand Canyon National Park, if you have time to make this recommended detour.

After your visit, you will drive to Winslow, Arizona, along I-40 E, and then visit the famous Petrified Forest National Park, a landscape filled with ancient fossilized trees.

Continuing on the interstate, you'll reach Gallup, New Mexico. Then, drive towards Albuquerque. After your visit, proceed north to Santa Fe, a city famous for its Pueblo-style architecture, cuisine, and world-famous arts scene.

Head south and merge back onto I-40 E towards Santa Rosa, and then continue to Amarillo, Texas, known for its iconic Route 66 landmarks. Driving through Wichita Falls, you will soon reach Dallas.

The Crystal Forest in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA against a blue sky surrounded by pebbles.
Be prepared to be amazed by a landscape filled with fascinating, fossilized remains of ancient trees that have turned to stone over millions of years during your visit to Petrified Forest National Park.
Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com

Best places to stop between Phoenix and Dallas

With so much to see and do, you'll want to explore this region at a slow pace. Below are our recommended destinations where you can rest easily and have plenty to explore on a road trip from Phoenix to Dallas.

Look for the mysterious lights in Marfa

Marfa, Texas, is an ideal stopover on the El Paso Route, approximately 9 hours and 10 minutes into the journey. This small yet unique town, located at the southernmost point of your trip, offers a refreshing break about halfway through your drive.

The town is celebrated for its art scene, housing the Chinati Foundation, established by renowned minimalist artist Donald Judd. The Marfa and Presidio County Museum also adds to the cultural richness, allowing you to dive into the region's history and heritage.

Pink courthouse building, located among green trees on a partially cloudy day
The uniquely pink Presidio County Courthouse in Marfa boasts beautiful Empire Style architecture and is included in the National Registry of Historic Places.
Sky of Texas/Shutterstock.com

A quirky highlight of Marfa is the enigmatic “Marfa Lights”, mysterious orbs observed in the local skies for over a century. See if you can spot one during your visit!

Once ready to settle in, we recommend staying at The Hotel Paisano, a historic establishment in the heart of Marfa. Designed by the famed architect Henry Trost, the hotel features a variety of rooms and suites, complemented by a restaurant and cocktail bar for an authentic local experience.

To unwind after the drive, you can enjoy a seasonally heated pool, or enjoy some retail therapy at the extensive shop and gallery on the property.

Nearby attractions include the Judd Foundation, just a 3-minute walk from the hotel, offering insights into Donald Judd's work and influence. Also within a 5-minute walk is the Presidio County Courthouse, showcasing impressive architecture.

Explore and learn about the beautiful architecture of Santa Fe

Santa Fe is located approximately 8 hours and 50 minutes into your journey along the Albuquerque Route. As New Mexico's capital, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, Santa Fe is an ideal place to experience rich local culture, incredible cuisine, and history.

Santa Fe is renowned for its distinctive Pueblo-style architecture and vibrant arts community. Our favorite places to visit while in the city are the majestic Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Museum of International Folk Art.

One of many outdoor markets, bazaars and shops around the plaza in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Santa Fe is known for its vibrant New Mexico culture, colorful markets and delicious cuisine.
Gestalt Imagery/Shutterstock.com

Did you know that Santa Fe was founded in 1610 as a Spanish colony, making it the site of the oldest house, church, and government seat in the United States? This means your stay here will be dotted with historic sights and landmarks.

For your stay, the highly-rated Hacienda & Spa is a superb choice. This beautiful retreat in the heart of Santa Fe offers a deep dive into the local Native American heritage and art. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites, each reflecting the area's unique aesthetics.

We highly recommend booking yourself a treatment at the relaxing spa at the nearby sister property, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. A complimentary breakfast is provided to start your day right, and there's also convenient access to a restaurant at the sister property.

Nearby, you can visit the New Mexico History Museum, a mere 10-minute drive from the hotel. Additionally, the Museum of International Folk Art is just another 10-minute drive away, showcasing an extensive collection of global folk art.

READ MORE - Click here for more great hotel options

Where to stay when you reach Dallas

Dallas, a fast-paced metropolis in North Texas, is renowned for its bustling arts and culture district, abundant shopping options, and famous sports teams.

For art enthusiasts, the Dallas Museum of Art is a must-visit, featuring a vast collection of works spanning various time periods and cultures. Another gem is The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, offering serene landscapes and stunning plant life.

Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) in the Pearl Arts District in Dallas, Texas
Dallas Museum of Art is the perfect place to visit for a laid-back, cultural afternoon away from the summer heat, if you are traveling during these months.

Something you might not know about Dallas is that it's the largest landlocked metro area in the United States. Even so, it's full of beautiful lakes and rivers that make the perfect stops for nature lovers.

When it comes to accommodation, The Joule stands out. This revitalized neo-gothic landmark is situated in the heart of Downtown Dallas and boasts several on-site dining and drinking options, including CBD Provisions, Sassetta, Midnight Rambler, and Weekend Coffee, accompanied by a daily breakfast offering.

For relaxation and self-care, the Forbes Four-Star Spa at The Joule provides full-service treatments, a relaxation area, a beauty studio, and retail space. During summer, you can enjoy the rooftop pool bar and full-service cabanas.

You will find some of the most famous attractions of Dallas nearby. The JFK Memorial and the Dallas Museum of Art are only a short walk away.

Things to see on a road trip from Phoenix to Dallas

This amazing drive from Phoenix to Dallas is full of non-stop fun and excitement around every turn. To help you make the most out of your trip, we've included our top highlights below.

El Paso Route

  1. Roper Lake - Roper Lake might be a detour from the route, but this tranquil oasis offers camping, fishing, and hiking, surrounded by the picturesque landscape of southeastern Arizona.
  2. Lordsburg - This small town in New Mexico serves as a gateway to the desert's beauty, with a rich history rooted in the Old West and railroad expansion.
  3. Deming - Known for its wineries and rich history, Deming is a welcoming stop in New Mexico that also features the fascinating Deming Luna Mimbres Museum.
  4. Las Cruces - A vibrant city that blends culture, history, and outdoor activities, Las Cruces offers breathtaking views of the Organ Mountains and a rich agricultural heritage. It is also a great gateway to White Sands National Park, a short detour away.
  5. Dripping Springs - Dripping Springs presents a serene natural retreat with hiking trails and historic ruins, set against the backdrop of the Organ Mountains.
  6. Dripping Springs Natural Area - This natural area is a haven for nature lovers, offering hiking trails through diverse landscapes and historical sites like Van Patten's Mountain Camp.
  7. El Paso - A unique blend of Mexican and American cultures, El Paso is a dynamic border city known for its vibrant arts scene and rich history.
  8. Marfa - An artistic hub set in the high desert of West Texas, Marfa is famous for its minimalist art installations and the mysterious Marfa lights.
  9. Alpine - Alpine, located in the heart of Big Bend Country, offers a mix of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and a charming downtown.
  10. Fort Stockton - Fort Stockton is a historic town where visitors can explore frontier history, including the well-preserved Fort Stockton and the famous Paisano Pete.
  11. Abilene - Known for its frontier history, Abilene boasts a charming downtown, historical museums, and the famous Abilene Zoo.
  12. Cisco - A classic small Texan town, Cisco is steeped in history with its downtown area featuring vintage architecture and a rich oil boom legacy.
  13. Fort Worth - Combining modern urbanity with rich cultural history, Fort Worth offers a unique blend of cowboy heritage and contemporary arts.
View of the Dona Ana Mountains from the Fillmore Canyon Trail at Dripping Springs on a sunny day
Take a break at Dripping Springs Natural Area to admire the majestic views if you are following our El Paso Route.
Anna Westman/Shutterstock.com

Albuquerque Route

  1. Black Canyon City - Nestled in the Bradshaw Mountains, Black Canyon City offers stunning natural scenery and a glimpse into Arizona's mining and ranching history.
  2. Camp Verde - Home to Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde is a historic town rich in Native American history and natural beauty.
  3. Red Rock State Park - Famous for its stunning red sandstone formations, this state park is a paradise for hikers and nature photographers.
  4. Sedona - Sedona is renowned for its vibrant arts community, stunning red rock landscapes, and spiritual vortexes, offering a unique blend of natural and cultural experiences.
  5. Coconino National Forest - Spanning diverse landscapes, Coconino National Forest is a haven for outdoor activities with its vast forests, mountains, and canyons.
  6. Flagstaff - A charming mountain town, Flagstaff is known for its historic downtown, proximity to natural wonders, and as a gateway to the Grand Canyon.
  7. Grand Canyon National Park - One of the world's most stunning natural wonders, Grand Canyon is a vast and colorful chasm. Its immense size and intricate landscapes, featuring rugged cliffs, diverse wildlife, and ancient geological formations, offer breathtaking views.
  8. Winslow - Famous for its mention in the Eagles' song, "Take It Easy," Winslow offers Route 66 nostalgia and the nearby Petrified Forest National Park.
  9. Petrified Forest National Park - This park showcases a vast collection of fossilized trees and offers a unique glimpse into the earth's prehistoric landscape.
  10. Gallup - A city rich in Native American culture, Gallup is known for its vibrant arts scene, historic trading posts, and annual Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.
  11. Albuquerque - Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city, is known for its annual hot air balloon fiesta, rich cultural heritage, and stunning Sandia Mountains backdrop.
  12. Cibola National Forest - Offering diverse landscapes, Cibola National Forest is a haven for hikers, campers, and wildlife enthusiasts.
  13. Santa Fe - The capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe is celebrated for its Pueblo-style architecture, thriving arts scene, and rich cultural history.
  14. Amarillo - A quintessential Texas city, Amarillo is known for its Route 66 landmarks, the Palo Duro Canyon, and its vibrant arts and cultural scene.
  15. Wichita Falls - A city that blends Texas charm with outdoor adventures, Wichita Falls features beautiful parks, historic attractions, and the famous "World's Littlest Skyscraper."
Historic petroglyphs on red rock surface
Camp Verde's rich history can be seen in its ancient architecture and petroglyphs.

Best time to go on a road trip from Phoenix to Dallas

Dallas, Texas, a dynamic and modern metropolis, is a wonderful year-round road trip destination. However, depending on the season you travel, you'll have different highlights and fun things to explore.

Taking the El Paso Route during the summer months can be challenging due to the heat in the deserts of New Mexico and Texas. Temperatures often soar past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's important to keep hydrated if you choose to travel during this time.

Fall is a wonderful time to travel because of its pleasant temperatures, clear weather, and events. If you plan your trip around September, you can experience the unique Marfa Lights Festival, the West Texas Fair & Rodeo in Abilene, or the State Fair of Texas in October.

Other fall festivals include the Sedona Arts Festival in October and the world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta are events not to be missed if your trip aligns with these months.

Winters in Dallas are mild, with average highs around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures can dip below freezing at night. Winter holidays are also full of activities and decorations in many destinations, including Dallas and Sedona.

Although the El Paso Route barely experiences snow or ice, the Albuquerque Route sometimes does, especially near the Grand Canyon. Keep in mind that the national park's North Rim closes down for winter while South Rim is open year-round, and plan accordingly.

Spring is an ideal time to travel, with wildlife flourishing and temperatures more moderate. If you are traveling in spring, don't miss the Dallas International Film Festival in April and May.