Most scenic route from Phoenix to Flagstaff

The largest city in Arizona, Phoenix serves as the starting point for numerous picturesque drives and Arizona’s natural treasures. You may see one such natural beauty in Sedona, which is close to Flagstaff and around two hours drive from Phoenix. The entire, nonstop drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff is about 170 miles (270 km) and takes about 3 hours. You can leave the highway and travel along Red Rock Scenic Byway, SR179, which the Federal Highway Administration has named an All-American Road. This route offers breathtaking views of the red rocks from several viewing spots. 

The Byways length is under eight miles. If you’re short on time, you may complete the journey in about 2 hours and 16 minutes by making no stops. Otherwise, rather than making a direct drive through the upcoming stopping locations, a full day of travel is advised to enjoy all the remarkable experiences it has to offer fully. When planning a long road trip like this, consider the weather, road conditions, breaks at rest stops, and fascinating side trips that might need you to travel for more extended periods, like a whole day.


Table Of Contents

  • Red Rock Scenic Byway
  • Schnebly Hill Road
  • Oak Creek Canyon

Phoenix, Arizona

Start your tour by looking at Phoenix, Arizona’s most picturesque byways and locations. In this instance, go on a hike and pick the most excellent restaurant for dinner before you leave. You should go to Camelback Mountain if you enjoy hiking. Its resemblance to a kneeling camel led to its naming as one of Phoenix’s most famous and distinctive recreation areas. You must climb to its 2,700-foot “hump” for some of the city’s best views. Two challenging routes atop Camelback lead to an unrestricted 360-degree view of Greater Phoenix and beyond. 

If you intend to go, be aware of your hiking limitations, bring lots of water, and allot some time to relax and take in the panorama. Otherwise, climb Piestewa Mountain to get a panoramic perspective of the whole Greater Phoenix area by conquering the second-highest peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. You’ll be out of breath (from the view) when you reach the end of the 1.2-mile, moderately difficult trail. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the city from Compass Arizona Grill’s dining room. There isn’t a bad seat in the house at this revolving restaurant atop the Hyatt Regency Phoenix hotel downtown.

Cottonwood, Arizona

It takes about two hours to go from Phoenix to Cottonwood, a distance of around 100 miles (or 170 kilometers). This route to Sedona is breathtaking. The Red Rock Scenic Byway, which runs north from Interstate 17 exit 298 onto Highway 179, is the route one uses to get from Phoenix to Sedona. The BywayByway initially appears to be just another Arizona road with a reasonably dry, plain-looking landscape. 

However, as soon as one rounds a bend, the landscape transforms into something different as the red rock formations rise dramatically all around. The landscape changes dramatically and abruptly, and it continues to be breathtaking for the remaining distance to the Y in Sedona, where the BywayByway ends. A US Forest Service visitor center, a fantastic place to stop and safely take in the view, is located right after the Byway’sByway’s landscape abruptly changes to red rock. 

An overlook that offers a more incredible view of the breathtaking scenery along the BywayByway, including Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Castle Rock, is located at the back of the visitor center’s parking area. The visitor center is also a great spot to stop to become familiar with the Sedona area by speaking with the Rangers, obtaining maps and brochures, and, if you intend to hike any of the area’s top-notch trails, buying a Red Rock Pass. In addition, the visitor center contains a big book and gift shop, clean restrooms, and picnic space.

Sedona: Scenic Oak Creek Canyon Drive

The scenic 30-mile drive from Sedona to Flagstaff offers numerous opportunities for photo stops. The two-lane, meandering state route 89A travels through the stunning Oak Creek Canyon. The Oak Creek Vista, sometimes referred to as The Overlook, is one of the places to pause. And this is a great spot to take in the breathtaking splendor of Northern Arizona as you gaze out over the canyon. The Ponderosa Pine forest provides a way to Oak, Sycamore, and Walnut trees growing densely along the roadside as you travel uphill around a few twisting twists to the vista.

Oak Creek, which runs beside the road for most of the trip, is protected by imposing sandstone cliffs. Along the route, there are several locations to stop and take in Oak Creek Canyon. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the numerous swimming holes, hiking trails, and eateries. In the Oak Creek Canyon, swimming In the canyon, the Forest Service manages two swimming holes for leisure. Accommodations in Oak Creek Canyon There are numerous overnight lodging options should you spend more than one day admiring the canyon’s magnificence. There are cabins and cottages, hotels, breakfast and beds, and vacation rentals to meet the needs of every visitor. The Forest Service runs three campgrounds annually if you want to experience Oak Creek Canyon’s natural setting fully.

Flagstaff, Arizona

There are several picturesque routes through the National Forests that encircle Flagstaff. Specific drives are delightful when the leaves change color in the fall. Bull Basin Road Scenic Drive is one of the alternatives. Kendrick Mountain, which rises to a height of 10,400 feet in the Kaibab National Forest, may be seen magnificently from there. This journey begins by passing through a mixture of prairie, isolated ponderosa pine, and pinyon-juniper woods, with excellent views of Kendrick to the east. 

Following the turn onto FSR 90, the path ascends into a ponderosa pine forest and passes through several tiny open grasslands, providing views of the mountain’s north and northwest faces. The views back to the west are expansive. One of the most excellent close-up views of Kendrick Mountain’s north slopes is when the tour ends. Combining a trip to Bull Basin with a visit to Spring Valley or Government Prairie is simple. 

A great site to watch wildlife is the area next to FSR 90. It offers beautiful views of Kendrick Mountain’s aspens in the fall as they change color. The road has a cinder surface and can accommodate passenger cars up to FSR 90. Only high clearance vehicles should travel the final 3.5 miles of the route because it is unclear.


Distance from phoenix to flagstaff

The driving distance between Phoenix and Flagstaff is 149 miles (240 km), which is about a 2 hour and 30 minute drive.

Bus from phoenix to flagstaff

The best to get bus from Phoenix to Flagstaff is a Greyhound. It runs directly and takes about 3 hours and 17 minutes.

Using highway 17 from phoenix to flagstaff

Highway 17 is a great road to take if you want to avoid the Interstate 17. It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes, and there are plenty of things to see along the way.

Mountains between phoenix and flagstaff

You will pass by several mountains when driving from Phoenix to Flagstaff. These include the Bradshaw Mountains, Mingus Mountain, and the San Francisco Peaks.

Best time to drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff

The best time to drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff is spring or fall. The weather is cooler and the scenery is beautiful.

Leave a comment