12 National Parks & Memorials Within Driving Distance of Phoenix

How to access national parks and monuments from Phoenix
​TripSavvy / Danie Drankwalter

A driving tour of the Southwest from Phoenix to Bryce Canyon and the other southern Utah national parks takes you through some of the most breathtaking desert and red-rock country in the world. With at least 25 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas within a 500-mile radius of the city, you can plan a road trip itinerary for as long as 10 days with stops at some of the country's most iconic landscapes, including the Grand Canyon, Montezuma Castle, and Monument Valley.

Some of them you can reach on a day trip from Phoenix, while others require at least one overnight, either en route or at the destination. Arizona may bring to mind heat, but as you gain altitude on the way to Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon, you can experience cool to cold temperatures, especially at night and in the winter. Use these distances and approximate driving times, which take into account the fastest and most straightforward routes with normal traffic, to start planning your tour. These are the top national parks and monuments that you can reach from Phoenix.

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Montezuma Castle National Monument

View of Montezuma Castle, a pre-Columbian dwelling carved into a cliffside. with some leaves at the top of the image
Nancy C. Ross / Getty Images
Montezuma Castle Rd, Camp Verde, AZ, USA
Phone +1 928-567-3322

On the way to the Grand Canyon, you'll pass by this incredible pre-Columbian structure carved into a limestone cliff. Built by the Sinagua people between the 12th and 15th centuries, the five-story stone dwellings have around 20 rooms and it was made a national monument in 1906. Today, visitors can walk trails through sycamore trees, visit a museums, or go on a ranger-led tour.

Distance from Phoenix: 102 miles, 1.5 hours

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Wupatki National Monument

Aerial view of the stone ruins that make up Wupatki National Monument and the surrounding scrub bushes
Peter Unger / Getty Images
25137 North Wupatki Lane, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, USA
Phone +1 928-679-2365

Wutpaki was one of the biggest pueblos in Northern Arizona until the eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano in 1085 made it uninhabitable. The national monument encompasses more than 35,000 acres and includes several other pueblos. Guests can go on an easy half-mile walk through Wutpaki Pueblo or embark on a 20-mile backcountry trek through difficult terrain. You could also tour the area on a scenic drive. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is nearby, so you can visit both sites on the same trip.

Distance from Phoenix: 188 miles, 3 hours

03 of 12

Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim)

A view of two people standing on a cliff at the Grand Canyon as the sun comes up on the horizon
Piriya Photography / Getty Images
Arizona, USA
Phone +1 928-638-7888

As one of the country's most iconic natural features, the Grand Canyon needs little introduction. Beyond soaking in the breathtaking vistas, hiking is the main draw here. For true adventurers with some time to spare, consider a multi-day hike from the rim to the base of the canyon. Bright Angel trail is a great introductory hike. The full trail is 19 miles out and back but you can turn back at any time.

Distance from Phoenix: 231 miles, 3.5 hours-4 hours

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Pipe Spring National Monument

brick building with two roofs on a bright blue day

Burley Packwood / Wikimedia Commons / CC by SA 4.0

406 N Pipe Spring Rd, Kaibab, AZ 86022, USA
Phone +1 928-643-7105

An oasis of freshwater in the shadow of sandstone cliffs, Pipe Spring has a fraught history. Indigenous people from the Kaibab Paiute tribe used the spring for millennia but the arrival of Mormon settlers in the 1850s sparked conflict. The main buildings of Pipe Spring National Monument were built in the decades that followed. This site can be toured in under an hour if you're on a time crunch and there is a trail, museum, and historical film that you can watch.

Distance from Phoenix: 352 miles, 5.5 hours

Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12

Zion National Park

Sunset over the Watchman in Zion National Park and the Virgin River.
Justin Reznick Photography / Getty Images
406 N Pipe Spring Rd, Kaibab, AZ 86022, USA
Phone +1 928-643-7105

Zion is one of those national parks that is so incredibly unique that it needs to be experienced in person. Three different biospheres meet here, offering desert, forest, and river environments in one area. A 5-mile route through Kolob canyons is perfect for those who want to explore from the car. Otherwise, Zion is known for its incredible hikes, with options for every skill level. A trip to Zion can be paired with the, relatively, nearby Bryce Canyon National Park.

Distance from Phoenix: 414 miles, 7.5 hours

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Hohokam Pima National Monument

Desert bushes and some grass growing on gray dirt
Chandler, AZ 85249, USA

This national monument commemorates Snaketown, a village populated by Hohokam people from the 4th century to the 13th century. The remains of the village were excavated in the 1930s and 60s before getting backfilled to protect the site, meaning that nothing of the village is visible above ground. While Hohokam Pima National Monument is just outside Phoenix, in a cruel twist of fate, it's the one part of the National Park Service that isn't open to the public.

Distance from Phoenix: 38 miles, 30 minutes to 1 hour

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Petrified Forest National Park

Multicolored red rocks in Petrified Forest National Park
Larry Lee / Getty Images
Arizona, USA
Phone +1 928-524-6228

The more than 221,000 acres of Petrified Forest National Park contain over 800 archaeological sites and the world's largest collection of petrified logs. The top sights can be found on a scenic drive through the park. There are spots along the route to pull over and enjoy the view from an overlook or go on a hike. If you have time to spare, consider a horseback ride through the backcountry.

Distance from Phoenix: 212 miles, 3.5 hours

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Navajo National Monument

Betatakin and Keet Seel Ruins at Navajo National Monument in Arizona, United States
powerofforever / Getty Images
AZ-564, Shonto, AZ 86054, USA
Phone +1 928-672-2700

Navajo National Monument was registered in 1966 to protect and preserve three cliffside dwellings used by ancient Pueblp people. They're called Keet Seel, Betatakin, and Inscription House. The dwellings can only be seen on a lengthy ranger-led tour or by hiking the 1-mile roundtrip Sandal trail. There are two other short trails that offer views of the canyon or the aspen and fir forest. Navajo National Monument can be explored on the way to or from Canyonlands or Arches National Parks

Distance from Phoenix: 282 miles, 4.5 hours

Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12

Chiricahua National Monument

Rock forest in Chiricahua national monument
AZCat / Getty Images
AZ-564, Shonto, AZ 86054, USA
Phone +1 928-672-2700

The otherworldly rock spires of Chiricahua National Monument were formed millions of years ago when cooling ash from a volcanic eruption formed into rhyolite rocks and then eroded over the many millenia. Hikes are main activity here, as visitors seek out views of these unique rock formations. There are 17 miles of trails to choose from, though Echo Canyon or Heart of Rocks are some of the most popular. For scenic drives, your only option is Bonita Canyon Road. An 8-mile road that ends with views of the rhyolite pillars.

Distance from Phoenix: 232 miles, 3.5 hours

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Bryce Canyon National Park

Thor's Hammer rock Formation In Bryce Canyon
Don Cook / Getty Images
Utah, USA
Phone +1 435-834-5322

Bryce Canyon is one of the country's most visited national parks, and for good reason. The views of the sun setting or rising over towering rock formations arehard to beat. The erosion-caused formations can be seen on a backcountry hike but most visitors see the sights on a scenic drive. The 18-mile, one-way road goes past 13 viewpoints, ending at Rainbow Point.

Distance from Phoenix: 425 miles, 7 hours

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Arches National Park

Balanced Rock at Arches Nationalpark, Utah, USA
Franz Marc Frei / Getty Images
Utah, USA
Phone +1 435-719-2299

Another park with absolutely stunning views, Arches has a wide variety of rock formations to marvel at including the world's largest collection of natural sandstone arches. Unsurprisingly, the park attracts a lot of hikers and there are trails for all levels. From half-mile walks to challenging treks on unmarked trails. Rock climbing, mountaineering, and stargazing are also popular activities. Canyonlands National Park is right next to Arches, so you can combine both into one trip if you please. The distance from Phoenix to Canyonlands is 459 miles.

Distance from Phoenix: 472 miles, 7.5 hours

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Joshua Tree National Park

Closter of Joshua Trees with rocks behind them during sunrise. The sky is mostly blue fading to pastel orange close to the horizon
Photography by Deb Snelson / Getty Images
California, USA
Phone +1 760-367-5500

Topping 3 million guests for the first time ever in 2021, more and more people are heading to this Southern California national park to get a glimpse of those famous trees. Well technically, they're not trees and are part of the lily family. Tree-hunting is arguably the most popular attraction, though plenty of rock climbers come to Joshua Tree to test their skills. Hikers have 300 miles of trails to chose from, but we've also rounded up the top 10 Joshua Tree hikes to make the decision easier. Be sure to rest a while at the Cottonwood Springs Oasis before you leave!

Distance from Phoenix: 246 miles, 3.5 hours to 4 hours

Other National Parks and Monuments Drivabel From Phoenix

As mentioned earlier, there are 26 national parks and monuments within 500 miles of Phoenix. These are their distances and drive times:

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12 National Parks & Memorials Within Driving Distance of Phoenix