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With stunning desert landscapes and national parks to explore, a road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix is the perfect way to experience the majestic Southwest.

If you’re planning this epic journey, our comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know for an unforgettable adventure on the open road.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick overview:

Make sure your vehicle is ready for the long drive with proper maintenance. Pack essentials like food, water, and maps.

Take I-15 S to US-89 S for scenic views. Stop at national parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Canyon.

Drive safely and stop to rest every 2-3 hours.

This detailed guide will cover choosing the best route, preparing your vehicle, what to pack, where to stop for scenic views and overnight stays, road trip tips and essential safety information for a smooth driving experience from Salt Lake City to the Valley of the Sun.

Choosing the Best Driving Route from SLC to Phoenix

I-15 S to US-89 S for scenic parks

If you’re looking to make the most of your road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix, taking the I-15 S to US-89 S route is a great choice.

This route will take you through some of the most scenic parks in Utah and Arizona.

As you drive through southern Utah, you’ll have the opportunity to visit iconic national parks such as Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park

. These parks offer breathtaking views, hiking trails for all skill levels, and unique geological formations that will leave you in awe.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of these natural wonders!

Alternate routes: I-15 S to I-40 W or US-93 S

If you’re looking for a different driving experience, there are two alternate routes you can consider. The first is taking the I-15 S to I-40 W route.

This route will take you through Nevada and eventually connect you to the iconic Route 66.

Driving on Route 66 is like stepping back in time, with its nostalgic roadside attractions and historic landmarks.

The second alternate route is taking the I-15 S to US-93 S.

This route will take you through the scenic landscapes of Nevada and Arizona, offering stunning desert views and the opportunity to explore lesser-known attractions along the way.

Tips for making the most of the drive

  • Plan your itinerary in advance to ensure you have enough time to explore the parks and attractions along the way.
  • Pack plenty of snacks and water for the journey, as there may be stretches of road with limited amenities.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition before embarking on the road trip. Check the tire pressure, oil levels, and other essential maintenance tasks.
  • Take breaks and stretch your legs during the drive. There are many rest areas and scenic viewpoints along the way where you can stop and enjoy the surroundings.
  • Consider staying overnight at one of the towns or cities along the route to break up the journey and experience local hospitality.

Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and attractions that await you on your road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix!

Preparing Your Vehicle

Before embarking on your road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix, it is crucial to ensure that your vehicle is in optimal condition.

Taking the time to prepare your vehicle beforehand can help prevent any unexpected breakdowns or issues along the way.

Perform routine maintenance beforehand

Start by scheduling a routine maintenance checkup with a trusted mechanic. They will inspect your vehicle and make sure that everything is in working order.

This includes checking the engine, brakes, lights, and other essential components to ensure they are functioning properly.

Check tires, wipers, fluids, belts

Inspect your tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth. This will not only improve fuel efficiency but also enhance traction and handling.

Additionally, check your windshield wipers to ensure they are in good condition for any unexpected rain showers.

Don’t forget to check your fluids, such as oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid, and make sure they are at the appropriate levels.

Lastly, inspect your belts for any signs of wear or damage.

Bring spare tire, jack, jumper cables

It’s always a good idea to have a spare tire, jack, and jumper cables in your vehicle. In the event of a flat tire or a dead battery, having these essential tools can save you time and hassle.

Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and that you have the necessary tools to change it if needed.

Pack emergency kits

Along with the usual road trip essentials, such as snacks and entertainment, it’s important to pack emergency kits in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Include items like a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, blankets, and a roadside assistance kit.

These items can provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re prepared for any unexpected situations.

Remember, taking the time to prepare your vehicle before hitting the road can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey from Salt Lake City to Phoenix. Safe travels!

What to Pack for the Road Trip

Preparing for a road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix requires careful planning, especially when it comes to packing.

Ensuring you have all the essentials will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Here are some key items to pack for your road trip:

Clothing, toiletries, medications

When it comes to clothing, pack according to the weather forecast along your route.

Layering is always a good idea, as temperatures can vary throughout the day.

Don’t forget essentials like underwear, socks, comfortable shoes, and a jacket or sweater.

Additionally, pack toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and any necessary medications. It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand as well.

Non-perishable snacks, water

One of the most important things to pack for a road trip is a selection of non-perishable snacks.

These snacks will come in handy when hunger strikes and you’re in the middle of nowhere. Granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruits are great options.

Additionally, make sure to pack plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the journey. It’s always a good idea to have a reusable water bottle that you can refill along the way.

Entertainment like music, books

Long hours on the road can get monotonous, so it’s important to pack some entertainment options.

Create a playlist of your favorite songs or download audiobooks and podcasts to keep you engaged. If you prefer reading, bring along a couple of books or e-books to enjoy during breaks.

These forms of entertainment will make the journey more enjoyable and help pass the time.

Chargers, batteries, cameras

In today’s digital age, it’s essential to pack chargers for your electronic devices. Make sure to bring chargers for your phone, tablet, and any other devices you may need.

Additionally, pack extra batteries for items such as cameras or portable speakers.

Having a fully charged phone and other devices will ensure you can navigate, capture memories, and stay connected throughout the trip.

Packing the right items for your road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Remember to pack clothing appropriate for the weather, non-perishable snacks and water, entertainment options, and chargers for your electronic devices.

With these essentials in tow, you’ll be ready to hit the road and make lasting memories.

Scenic Stops and Overnight Stays

Zion National Park

Located in southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is a must-visit destination on your road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix.

With its breathtaking red rock formations, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls, Zion offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Hike one of the park’s many trails, such as Angel’s Landing or the Narrows, and immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the awe-inspiring vistas!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Just a short drive from Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park is another stunning stop along your road trip route.

Famous for its unique geological formations called hoodoos, Bryce Canyon offers breathtaking views at every turn.

Take a scenic drive along the park’s rim or venture down into the canyon for an up-close look at these natural wonders.

With its clear night skies, Bryce Canyon is also a great spot for stargazing and astrophotography.

Grand Canyon National Park

No road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix would be complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Marvel at the vastness of the canyon, explore its numerous hiking trails, or take a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view.

Whether you visit the South Rim or the less crowded North Rim, the Grand Canyon is sure to leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

Page, AZ and other small towns

As you make your way from Utah to Arizona, be sure to explore the small towns along the route.

Page, Arizona, is a popular stop known for its stunning attractions like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon.

Take a boat tour on Lake Powell or go hiking in the nearby slot canyons for a unique adventure.

Other small towns like Kanab, Utah, and Flagstaff, Arizona, also offer charming accommodations and local attractions worth exploring.

Road Trip Tips and Safety

Take breaks every 2-3 hours

When embarking on a road trip from Salt Lake City to Phoenix, it’s important to prioritize your safety and comfort.

One of the most crucial tips is to take regular breaks every 2-3 hours.

Driving for long stretches can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, increasing the risk of accidents.

During these breaks, stretch your legs, grab a snack, and use the restroom.

Taking short breaks not only helps you stay refreshed but also allows you to appreciate the scenic beauty along the way. Remember, it’s not just about the destination; the journey itself can be incredibly rewarding.

Stay hydrated and avoid fatigue

Driving long distances can be tiring, especially in hot desert climates. It’s essential to stay hydrated to maintain your energy levels and avoid fatigue.

Keep a supply of water or other hydrating beverages in your vehicle and make sure to drink regularly.

Additionally, avoid consuming heavy meals that can make you feel sluggish. Opt for light snacks and meals instead.

If you start feeling drowsy, it’s crucial to pull over and take a short nap or switch drivers if possible. Safety should always be your top priority on the road.

Watch for wildlife crossings

While driving through the scenic landscapes between Salt Lake City and Phoenix, be aware of the possibility of encountering wildlife on the road.

Animals, such as deer, elk, or even smaller creatures like rabbits and squirrels, may unexpectedly cross your path.

To minimize the risk of collisions, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are most active, make sure to reduce your speed and stay alert.

Keep an eye out for warning signs indicating wildlife crossings and use your high beam headlights when driving at night to increase your visibility.

Maintain safe speeds

When driving on long stretches of open road, it can be tempting to increase your speed. However, it’s crucial to remember that speed limits are set for a reason.

Excessive speeding not only puts you at risk but also endangers other drivers on the road.

Adhere to the posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to road conditions, such as curves or construction zones.

By maintaining safe speeds, you can enjoy a smooth and stress-free road trip while ensuring the safety of yourself and others.


With careful planning and preparation, the drive from Salt Lake City to Phoenix can be an unforgettable Southwest adventure.

Follow this guide to choose the optimal route, ready your vehicle, pack properly, and plan scenic stops.

Most importantly, drive safely, take breaks, and enjoy the journey through stunning desert vistas on your way to the Valley of the Sun.

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