If there is a single road trip through Arizona and Utah that everyone should do once in their lifetime, it's the drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. Dotted with world-famous national parks and iconic cities like Las Vegas, this journey is the perfect adventure for breathtaking landscapes and urban thrill.
The 755-mile road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City will take about 12 hours to drive. Highlights are Las Vegas, Sedona, Flagstaff, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Montezuma Castle National Monument as well as Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
This is an epic journey full of adventures and beautiful places on every mile. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top places to stay, best highlights, and the best seasons to travel.
How to drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City
The map below shows two great route options for your road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. Click on the star icons for headline details, and scroll down for much more information below.
* Always remember that drive times can be impacted by traffic, closures, weather and other conditions. It's best to double-check while planning and before starting out on your trip.
|Las Vegas Route
|11 hours 50 minutes
|Grand Canyon Route
|15 hours 50 minutes
How far is Salt Lake City from Phoenix, and how long will the road trip take?
If you were to drive directly from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, completing your trip would take 10 hours and 20 minutes, spanning 660 miles. But, as everyone knows, it is not about the destination but the journey!
The Las Vegas Route is a slightly longer option, and this is a journey of 755 miles, and can be completed in approximately 11 hours and 50 minutes.
Alternatively, the Grand Canyon Route covers 830 miles with a drive time of about 15 hours and 50 minutes without accounting for any further detours.
While it's possible to complete either journey in a day or two, the scenic beauty and attractions along both routes make them ideal for a leisurely drive. We recommend taking 3 to 4 days or more to get the most out of this incredible region.
Best road trip route from Phoenix to Salt Lake City
While both the Las Vegas Route and the Grand Canyon Route on the Phoenix to Salt Lake City road trip offer a ton of natural attractions and big city highlights, the best option for you will depend on which iconic places you'd like to tick off your bucket list.
The Las Vegas Route takes you through the vast American Southwest's deserts and canyons. You'll see awe-inspiring views, including a stop at the engineering marvel of the Hoover Dam.
It will also give you the opportunities to visit the stunning Zion National Park and Dixie National Forest, as well as Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world.
On the other hand, the Grand Canyon Route focuses on the region's natural wonders. It transitions from the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix to the Ponderosa Pine Forests of Flagstaff and the mesmerizing red rock canyons of Sedona.
This route is a journey through some of the most iconic natural wonders, including the majestic Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion National Park, and Bryce National Park.
The drive along the Red Rock Scenic Byway to Sedona is a visual treat, and the well-maintained roads will lead you through the mountainous terrains of Utah towards Salt Lake City.
Las Vegas Route
Start your journey on the Las Vegas Route by heading north from Phoenix on US-60 and then US-93. As you travel, the expansive desert landscapes of Arizona unfold before you.
You will then drive west to Kingman; don't miss the Mojave Museum of History and Arts during your visit in this charming town, famous for its beautiful turquoise stones.
From here, take US-93 North towards the Nevada border, where the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam awaits. After your visit, proceed to Las Vegas. Here, the iconic Las Vegas Strip and the Fremont Street Experience offer endless entertainment.
From Vegas, head northeast on Interstate 15 (I-15). If you want to experience more natural beauty, a slight detour on the Valley of Fire Highway leads you to the stunning landscapes of Valley of Fire State Park.
Continuing on I-15, the majestic Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park offers breathtaking vistas.
Your journey then takes a unique turn towards Monroe via I-70, where you can visit Mystic Hot Springs. Traveling north on the interstate, make a quick stop to see the Giant Soda Cans in Salina. Finally, head towards Provo, Utah, before you continue to your destination in Salt Lake City.
Grand Canyon Route
Leave from Phoenix by heading north on I-17. Continue on the interstate to Camp Verde, where you can visit the Montezuma Castle National Monument, an ancient cliff dwelling.
As you proceed towards Sedona, the stunning Red Rock Scenic Byway unfolds with breathtaking formations. In Sedona, experience the city's arts scene and outdoor adventures, including the famous Pink Jeep Tours.
Next, journey through the picturesque Oak Creek Canyon towards Flagstaff on US-89A.Then, head towards one of the trip's highlights, the Grand Canyon National Park, via US-180 and AZ-64.
Continuing your journey, you'll drive north to Page, Arizona, where the stunning Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River is a must-see. Here, you can also make a detour to visit Monument Valley before heading into Utah.
Back en route, make a detour west towards Springdale for an entrance into Zion National Park, another jewel in this route. Next, head back on route northeast on US-89 to Bryce Canyon National Park.
On your way towards Salt Lake City, enjoy a relaxing dip at Meadow Hot Springs, just off the I-15. Your journey concludes in Provo before reaching your final destination in Salt Lake City.
Best places to stop between Phoenix and Salt Lake City
Along the way between Phoenix and Salt Lake City, there are plenty of amazing stops. Below are our top recommendations so you can rest up and explore the region.
Roll the dice in neon-lit Las Vegas
Las Vegas is an ideal halfway stopover on the Las Vegas Route from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, approximately 300 miles into the journey. Famed as the 'Entertainment Capital of the World', Las Vegas offers an electrifying blend of glitz, glamor, and endless fun.
The Las Vegas Strip is where the magic so famously happens. This 4.2-mile stretch of resorts, theaters, dazzling casinos, and attractions offers an unparalleled entertainment experience.
For a taste of classic Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience Downtown is a must. Explore the historic casinos or soar above the crowd on a thrilling zipline.
When it comes to accommodation, the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas offers a five-star luxury experience without the usual casino frenzy. Located on The Strip, this beautiful resort-style hotel is like an oasis in the heart of Vegas.
The sophisticated rooms offer stunning night views of The Strip. You can enjoy a private pool, along with access to the Mandalay Bay Pool complex. For ultimate relaxation, the fabulous Spa on the property includes poolside massages.
In the vicinity of the Four Seasons Hotel, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is just a 6-minute walk away. Also nearby is the Titanic - The Artifact Exhibition, a 10-minute walk from the hotel, showcasing real artifacts from the ill-fated ocean liner.
Walk along the canyons of Zion National Park
Springdale, at the entrance to Zion National Park, is a captivating overnight stop on the Grand Canyon Route, located about 470 miles into the journey.
The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is a fantastic drive through the heart of Zion National Park. This route runs alongside the Virgin River, leading to trailheads and viewpoints that reveal the stunning majesty of Zion.
For the more adventurous, The Narrows hike in Zion National Park is a breathtaking experience. This must-do hike involves wading through the Virgin River, surrounded by an awe-inspiring natural corridor of rock walls and greenery.
If this region looks familiar, there's a reason. Zion served as a backdrop for the classic 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
For your stay, we recommend the luxurious Cliffrose Springdale, Curio Collection By Hilton. This historic hotel is nestled on the banks of the Virgin River, surrounded by beautiful cliff walls and endless views.
Just under a mile from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, the hotel provides a free shuttle service for easy access to the park. For relaxation, you can enjoy the two heated outdoor swimming pools with hot tubs, open year-round.
The Anthera restaurant, featuring an open patio, allows you to dine amidst the breathtaking landscape. Also, the hotel spa offers a range of services, including massages, for the ultimate in relaxation.
If you're looking to explore Zion National Park, Zion Adventures, offering guided tours and rentals, is conveniently located less than a mile away from the hotel.
Where to stay when you reach Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is a destination renowned for its beautiful architecture, unique culture and outdoor adventures. If you're keen to explore the city upon arrival, consider a visit to Temple Square, known for its flourishing gardens and striking architecture.
Another must-see is the Great Salt Lake, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. It's famous for its high salt content and unique ecosystem, offering activities like sailing, kayaking, and hiking, along with a natural history museum.
For your stay, the highly rated Grand America Hotel, the largest hotel in the city and its 8th tallest building, presents an epic choice. Conveniently located within walking distance of downtown, it's perfect for exploring local restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.
The hotel boasts the Forbes Five-Star rated Grand Spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments such as therapeutic massages. The rooms feature balconies offering stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains, adding a scenic backdrop to your stay.
Nearby, you're just a short drive from many attractions such as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and downtown Salt Lake City. Once done exploring, you can enjoy a meal at the Laurel Brasserie, which serves European-inspired cuisine, or you can enjoy cocktails in the beautiful setting of the Gibson Lounge.
Things to see on a road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City
The road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City isn't necessarily one of the longest adventures, but it is jam-packed with amazing places to visit. To make your planning easy, we have picked a few of the placed we think you simply cannot miss!
- Zion National Park - A magnificent national park in Utah, known for its towering cliffs, narrow canyons, and diverse wildlife, offering a range of hiking and sightseeing opportunities.
- Utah Lake - A large freshwater lake in Utah Valley, offering a variety of recreational activities like boating, fishing, and birdwatching.
- Provo Pioneer Village - This historical village in Provo, Utah, transports visitors back to the 19th century with restored buildings and artifacts depicting the life of early Utah settlers.
Las Vegas Route
- Mojave Museum of History and Arts - This museum in Kingman, Arizona, offers a deep dive into the rich history and culture of the Mojave Desert, showcasing artifacts and exhibits that span the area's indigenous and pioneer past.
- Hoover Dam - A marvel of modern engineering, Hoover Dam is located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, providing stunning views and educational tours about its history and significance in American infrastructure.
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Spanning across Arizona and Nevada, this area offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, from boating and fishing on the lake to hiking trails with breathtaking desert vistas.
- Fremont Street Experience - Located in downtown Las Vegas, this pedestrian mall features a massive LED canopy, street performers, and free nightly shows, capturing the vibrant spirit of the city.
- Las Vegas Strip - The heart of Las Vegas, the Strip is famous worldwide for its concentration of luxurious hotels, casinos, and entertainment options, all set along a bustling boulevard.
- Valley of Fire State Park (Slight Detour) - Known for its vibrant red sandstone formations, this park provides a visual feast for nature lovers, with hiking trails and ancient petroglyphs.
- Little Jamaica Natural Swimming Hole - A hidden oasis near Littlefield, Arizona, offering a refreshing break with its clear waters and lush surroundings.
- St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site - Located in St. George, Utah, this site presents well-preserved dinosaur tracks and fossils, giving a unique glimpse into the prehistoric world.
- Mystic Hot Springs - Known for its natural hot springs and rustic, vintage bathtubs, this location in Monroe, Utah, provides a unique, relaxing experience.
- Giant Soda Cans - An unusual roadside attraction in Salina, Utah, featuring large, colorful soda can sculptures that make for a fun and quirky photo opportunity.
- Gunnison Reservoir - A serene spot near Gunnison, Utah, perfect for fishing, boating, and enjoying peaceful water views.
Grand Canyon Route
- Sonoran Preserve Desert Vista Trailhead - A gateway to the beautiful Sonoran Desert, offering trails that showcase the unique flora and fauna of the Arizona landscape.
- Montezuma Castle National Monument - An ancient cliff dwelling in Camp Verde, Arizona, providing a fascinating look into the lives of the Sinagua people who inhabited the area over 800 years ago.
- Red Rock Scenic Byway - This byway near Sedona, Arizona, offers stunning views of the area's famous red rock formations and provides access to numerous hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
- Village of Oak Creek - A charming community near Sedona, known for its picturesque settings and proximity to incredible red rock landscapes.
- Pink Jeep Tours, Sedona - Offering guided off-road adventures in Sedona's rugged terrain, these tours provide an up-close experience of the area's geological wonders.
- Oak Creek Canyon - A breathtakingly scenic canyon north of Sedona, known for its lush foliage, stream, and recreational areas, perfect for hiking and picnicking.
- Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff - A historic observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where Pluto was discovered, offering educational exhibits and telescope viewing opportunities.
- Flintstones Bedrock City - A unique theme park and campground in Williams, Arizona, based on the popular Flintstones cartoon, featuring whimsical stone-age structures and attractions.
- Grand Canyon National Park - One of the world's natural wonders, this park in Arizona showcases the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon with its incredible vistas, hiking trails, and educational visitor centers.
- Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - A stunning natural formation near Page, Arizona, where the Colorado River creates a dramatic 270-degree bend, offering spectacular views from the rim.
- Little Hollywood Movie Museum - Located in Kanab, Utah, this museum features movie sets and memorabilia from classic western films and TV shows shot in the area.
- Bryce Canyon National Park - Famous for its unique geological structures called hoodoos, this park in Utah offers breathtaking views, especially at sunrise and sunset.
- Maynard Dixon Legacy Museum - In Mount Carmel, Utah, this museum celebrates the work of artist Maynard Dixon, showcasing his contributions to American art.
- Meadow Hot Springs - A set of natural hot springs located in a meadow near Fillmore, Utah, providing a serene and relaxing soak in a picturesque setting.
Best time to go on a road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City offers a diverse range of experiences throughout the year. However, each season offers different highlights and challenges.
In winter, temperatures in Salt Lake City hover between 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit. While this season brings cold and frequent snow, especially in the mountains, it transforms the city into a winter wonderland, perfect for skiing and snow sports.
However, if you're taking the Las Vegas Route during this time, be prepared for potential snowfall at higher elevations in Northern Arizona and Utah, and remember that winter storms can make the roads hazardous. Zion National Park remains open, but certain trails may be closed.
Summer in Salt Lake City sees temperatures soaring to 75-95 degrees Fahrenheit, offering clear skies and perfect conditions for outdoor festivals like the Utah Arts Festival in June.
In summer, ensure your vehicle's cooling system is in top condition, as the heat in Phoenix and Las Vegas can be intense. If you're traveling in summer, don't miss the Grand Canyon Music Festival and Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally in June.
Spring and fall are arguably the best times to travel, with mild temperatures (50-70 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit in fall) in Salt Lake City. These seasons bring pleasant driving conditions and beautiful natural scenery along both routes.
Spring on the Las Vegas Route aligns with the start of the World Series of Poker in May. In fall, don't miss the Sedona Arts Festival in October on the Grand Canyon Route.