What’s the best driving route from Denver to Phoenix?

I recently moved to Colorado and I’m interested in seeing the desert at some point. I heard the red rocks in Arizona are pretty cool, but are they close enough to drive to? What’s the best driving route from Denver to Phoenix?

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Answer provided by
Shannon Fitzgerald
Answered on May 27, 2022
Congrats on the new move to Colorado! Driving to Arizona to see the red rocks is totally doable from your location.
Depending on how well you and your car can handle inclines, the best driving route from Denver to Phoenix can go one of two ways.
The New Mexico route (less mountains):
  • Take I-25 S out of Denver and into New Mexico
  • Get on the I-40 W in Albuquerque
  • In Holbrook, take AZ-377 S, then AZ-277 S, then AZ-260 W, and AZ-87 all the way into Phoenix
The Rocky Mountain route (more mountains…obviously):
  • Take I-70 W past Rocky Mountain National Park
  • In Thompson Springs, UT, get on US-191 S and take it to Red Mesa, AZ
  • Use US-160 W, then US-89 S to get into Flagstaff
  • Hop on I-17 S and take it into Phoenix
Your total trip time either way will come to around 13 to 14 hours depending on traffic. Ideally, you’ll want to break this trip up into at least two or three days to allow enough time for rest, food, and fuel along the way.
To prepare yourself for the road, it’s also a good idea to research weather, road closures, and tolls that might impact your route. You’ll also want to make sure you and your car are well-protected with quality car insurance coverage. Car insurance super app Jerry can help you save!
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