Most scenic route from Phoenix to Albuquerque

Phoenix and Albuquerque are fun, exciting attractions. The quickest way to drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque is by the interstate. It passes through inhospitable desert terrain. To avoid the long and tedious route, you can choose the alternative, which takes about 11.5 hours. The distance is 568 miles, with a fuel consumption of $123.86.

Albuquerque to Phoenix or vice versa offers many tourist attractions to see in Arizona and New Mexico. The stops recommended are: 

  • Apache Trail, 
  • Globe to Show Low, 
  • The white Mountains Scenic Drive, 
  • El Malpais National Monument, 
  • and Chain of Craters Back Country Byway.
Most scenic route map from Phoenix to Albuquerque


Table Of Contents

Apache Trail

Travel Overview: 47 minutes — 38 miles

It is best to visit the Apache Trail in spring. You can expect the journey to take you over 48 minutes, and in this time, you will cover about 38 miles. Many tourists choose this time because you can experience the beautiful wildflowers. 

Apache Trail has steep roads that require caution because of heavy winding and cliff drop-offs. The trail is open year-round, but you need to be caught up on the weather predictions to avoid flash flooding. There is no fee to access most trail attractions, and lake lovers can boat for free if you like extreme water sports. Feel free to bring your recreational water vehicle to enjoy Canyon Lake. 

This location is easily accessible; however, there aren’t any overnight options available to travelers. You will need to try one of the fantastic campgrounds if you need a place to stay. The Apache Junction or Globe can locate hotels in the area. For those passing through, you will need to see Goldfield Ghost Town. This town has been renovated to look like an 1890s ghost town. The main attraction is the defunct gold mine and Old West gunfights. To end the journey, you can bite to eat before heading down the trail at the old-timey Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon.

Globe to Show Low

Travel Overview: 1 hour 35 minutes — 70 miles

It will take about 1 hour 30 minutes to arrive at Globe from Phoenix. To travel this route, you will need to travel east. This road is the US-60, and Queen Creek Old Tunnel is on it. This marvelous piece of infrastructure leads you out to Queen Creek Canyon. It would help if you prepared for huge temperature fluctuations to gain more significant elevation because it will get colder. 

While on the route, it is a good idea to stop and see the Archaeological Park found at Besh-Ba-Gowan. This park’s main feature is a 700-year-old Salado Culture pueblo. The next stop is the Tonto National Forest, and here you can see desert plants and cacti. Denser forests of pine trees are also visible in this area. Feel free to stop and have a picnic here while enjoying the sights.

After driving for 30 miles, you encounter the San Carlos Apache Reservation. This reservation provides an excellent opportunity to fish for largemouth bass, catfish, and trout. For those looking to see some romantic waterfalls, you can visit nearby Seneca Falls. These falls offer camping, hiking, and fishing opportunities.

For those who enjoy white-river rafting, you can feel free to stop at the Salt River, where you can drop more than 9,000 feet over 50 miles. Traveling down US-60 will see you plunge 2000 feet into the beautiful Salt River Canyon. Here it is possible to see layered sediment, rocks, and turbulent water. The route ends up in the serene Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

The Mogollon Rim is the last stop before arriving in Show Low. It has some outstanding landscapes that consumers should try to climb if they wish to see the extensive forests of Ponderosa pine. This view is covered by the majestic peaks of the White Mountains. This location is perfect for meditation as you delight in the peaceful nature.

White Mountains Scenic Drive

Travel Overview: 25 minutes — 16 miles

The White Mountain Scenic Drive is mainly a national forest area perfect for travelers who wish to enjoy scenic vistas, interpretive signs, and strolls. The first stop to see on the route is the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. This area offers some of the most majestic views through New Hampshire’s the White Mountains. Many consumers take amazing pictures on this 34-mile loop. 

The White Mountains Scenic Drive was launched in the spring of 2012. It encompasses the National Forests east of the Mississippi River. You can stop at more than 40 sites on a 100-mile loop. The next major stop on this route is the Weeks Act Legacy Driving Tour. Forest Service visitor centers also offer free brochures with maps as souvenirs.

El Malpais National Monument

El Malpais National Monument is one of the top sights you can see on route 117. This formation is one of the youngest in the county, being formed just a thousand years ago. This location found in Grants, New Mexico, offers consumers the chance to see young lava rocks. If you continue to proceed alone on I-40, you can see the Sandstone Bluffs Overlook. This area is quite famous for having an unusual mix of sandstone cliffs and lava fields. This area forms the backdrop for what you will see on the western horizon. While in these fields, you should be able to see the Zuni Mountains and Mount Taylor.

Chain of Craters Back Country Byway

Travel Overview: 42 minutes — 34 miles

Chain of Craters is a well-known attraction on the Back Country Byway. This route will take you through the New Mexico Country Road 42. Many travelers choose this route because it is the last stop after the El Malpais National Monument. Travelers here can see the volcanic cinder cones. Continuing east down this journey will take you through the sandstone bluffs. The area is quite beautiful and exciting to explore. Here you can enjoy various activities such as hiking trails and camping sites.


Phoenix to Albuquerque driving time

The drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque takes 6 hr 32 min (419.3 mi) via I-40 E.

Phoenix to Albuquerque via i-10

The drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque via i-10 will take approximately 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Best RV route from Albuquerque to PhoenixPhoenix

The best RV driving route is through the I-40 E. This journey should take you about 6 hr 32 min to complete lasting a distance of 419.3 miles.

Route 66 from Phoenix to Albuquerque

Route 66 is one of the most beautiful routes travelers take across America. It takes you through over eight states and has stunning landscapes along the journey.

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