Get Prepared and Excited For a Road Trip From Phoenix to Salt Lake City

This long and beautiful drive has many stops you will not want to miss!

Image courtesy of Zumper

Phoenix Arizona is known for its beautiful deserts and unique cuisine.  Very far away, and 659 miles North is Salt Lake City Utah.  The two cities are very different from one another as usually people associate Utah with Mormons.  Well, fun fact, there is much more to this state and tons of must-sees and must-dos in Salt Lake City.  So, fill up your gas tank all the way and prepare for this 10 and half hour drive to see some of the most beautiful places the United States has to offer!

Camelback Mountain 

Check out this oddly shaped mountain and exercise too.

Camelback Mountain | Phoenix,AZ |

Before heading off on the ten and half hour drive, head to Camelback Mountain to exercise and take in beautiful views.  The name of this mountain comes from the shape of it as it looks like a camel kneeling.  With an elevation of 2,707, Camelback Mountain brings in thousands of hikers a year despite the tough terrain.

The only two options to reach the top are the Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail.  The 1.5 miles of trail may not seem like it will be challenging, but be prepared to be out of breath at some points due to the uneven ground and going up rapidly.  The Echo Canyon Trail has benches and handrails to help hikers and the other trail is not as rough.  

Since this is outside, it is also home to animals like tortoises, rabbits, and even rattlesnakes, so while taking in the view, make sure to look down every once in awhile.  Lastly, start off early in the day and pack a reusable water bottle as Phoenix can reach very hot temperatures.  

Mystery Castle

Find out the cool story behind this castle

800 E. Mineral Road | Phoenix, AZ |

Another fun and less strenuous activity to do in Phoenix is going to the Mystery Castle.  This eighteen room and three storey castle is made out of rail tracks, stone, and telephone poles.  This unique looking castle was built by Boyce Luther Gulley.  Gulley fled to Phoenix without telling a single person because he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. 

Years after Gulley died, found in the castle was money, a Valentine’s Day card from his daughter and a golden nugget.  While you are looking around each and every corner of this strange attraction, spectacular views of Phoenix can also be seen.  

Tickets for the Mystery Castle range from $5-10 only and guided tours are offered Thursday through Sunday.

Verde Valley Wine Trail

Don’t count out Arizona when it comes to wine.

1010 S Main Street | Sedona, AZ |

After spending time in Phoenix, it is now time to start the journey to Salt Lake City.  About two hours North is the beautiful Sedona Arizona.  Most people do not think of Sedona when it comes to wine tasting, but the Verde Valley Wine Trail will surprise you!  Visitors are able to stop at up to ten different rooms on the trail and each room has a completely different feel to it.  Sedona is known for its amazing views, so nothing will be better than sipping wine and taking breathtaking sites.  

While you visit each of the ten rooms, do not forget to get your “passport” stamped.  The passport is stamped when entering each room and then after you leave Verde Valley, upload your passport on their website.  By uploading your passport, you’ll be entered into a quarterly drawing and a chance to win a trip!

Diablo Burger

A true Arizona staple.

120 N Leroux Street | Flagstaff, AZ |

When you are finished sipping wine, head 45 minutes to Flagstaff and grab a bite to eat at Diablo Burger.  Their grass-fed burgers served on English muffin buns are a can’t miss.  Other than being mouthwatering, all burgers are open range-raised, antibiotic free, and growth-hormone free.  Along with delicious burgers, come with a side a fantastic tasting basket of belgian-style fries.  

Diablo burger even partners with local farmers, ranchers, bakers, and cheese-makers.  They are not trying to be “better than everyone else”, they just want the best and most fresh foods possible for their customers.  

Grand Canyon (North Rim)

One the seven natural wonders of the world.

Grand Canyon North Rim | Coconino County, AZ |

As you keep heading north, you will without a doubt see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Most Americans dream of being able see the Grand Canyon one day since it is iconic with its indescribable views and history.  The North Rim attracts many hikers due to the multiple number of trails including Bright Angel Point Trail.  

If hiking is not your thing, there are two options for a scenic drive around the North Rim.  Point Imperial is one option and it will not disappoint.  On this route, the canyon walls transform into very narrow walls of the Marble Canyon.  The highest point on the Imperial Trail is 8,803 feet!

The other trail for a scenic drive is Cape Royale.  This option is best known for sunrises and sunsets.  This view is a panoramic view of the canyon. 

Antelope Canyon

Check out one of the most photographed sites in Arizona.

Antelope Canyon | Page, AZ |

Page Arizona is about halfway to Salt Lake City, and while Page is not a very well known city, that does not mean it doesn’t have must-see attractions.  The only way to see this unique site is by reserving a tour in advance.  The Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land and has two separate parts to it, the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon.

This smooth rock looking tourist attraction is like nothing you have seen before due to its depth and lighting.  Other than being smooth and shaped oddly, the orange color of the canyon is really what makes it one the most photographed sites in Arizona.  The best times to go are in the morning and later in the evening because that is when the sun hits the canyon the best. Perfect lighting and an amazing background, sounds like the best Instagram post ever.  

Lake Powell Glen Canyon Dam

Don’t leave before checking out this dam.

Glen Canyon Dam | Page,AZ |

Another gem that is found in Page is the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell.  Stretching 186 miles and having a depth of 132 feet, you will not leave Page feeling disappointed.  Other than having a gorgeous view of endless mountains and water, there are also many activities offered during the day at Glen Canyon.

Some popular ones include: boating, fishing, and kayaking.  All three of those activities are made possible due to the calm waters.  All activities include tours and tour guides for an option.  Besides, those fun options offered, two adrenaline boosting activities are air tours over Glen Canyon and water raft tour.

Air tours take off right in Page with scenic views from above of Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Rainbow Canyon able to be seen.  For those who prefer staying on land, the rafting tour is smooth yet still fun while on the waters of the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry.

Fishlake National Forest

The best option for the first stop in Utah.

115 E 900 N | Richfield, UT |

Arizona was fun, but now you are officially in Utah and your first stop has to be the Fishlake National Forest! Fish Lake is known for their large lake trout.  These trout can grow up to be over 50 pounds.  For outdoor lovers, this is the perfect place for you!  Options to horseback ride, hike, and exploring waterfalls are all available.  Named the Bullion Waterfalls, are beautiful in any season, especially with a touch of snow in the water.  These 75 foot are accessible by foot or on horse.  

Since there is much to do here, there are cabins and campgrounds available to rent for as long as you decide to stay.  There are also places to eat outside for meals, so pack up your favorite sandwiches and get ready for a few days of hiking, horseback riding and much more!  

The Riverwoods

An overlooked find.

4801 N University Ave | Provo, UT |

Provo Utah will most likely be your last stop before reaching Salt Lake City.  45 miles south of Salt Lake City is Provo which is home to Brigham Young University.  A must-visit place in Provo that may not people may not think of right away.  The Riverwoods is a shopping center, but not just a stereotypical one.  Within the shopping center, there are many stores and restaurants, but a popular favorite is The Provo Beach Resort.  The Provo Beach Resort is an arcade-like place for people of all ages.  Inside there is a bowling alley, an indoor ropes course, and much more.  Another option is to rent beach cruisers and ride  on The Provo River trail, located right next to the beach resort.

For dining options, you can choose American, Italian, or barbeque.  A local favorite is the restaurant, Seven Brothers.  The mantra at Seven Brothers is “more than a meal” and the staff hopes that their Hawaii surf and beach culture feel in the restaurant resonates with your dining experience.  

BYU Museum of Art (MOA)

 A free attraction for all art lovers.

Campus Drive | Provo, UT |

The BYU Museum of Art is one the most attended museums that is university owned.  The constant rotation of new and interesting exhibits keeps people coming back time and time again.  The museum contains ten exhibition rooms, classrooms, and even a small theater.  Common themes for exhibitions are: African American artwork, American based artwork, and old photographs.

In the BYU Museum, there is truly something for everyone, no matter what age.  For younger children, there is a special tour called costume tours.  This tour allows children to dress up like a painting found in the museum, and they are encouraged to find their painting while on the tour.  

Every first and third Saturday of the month, there are art-making classes and self-guided tours.  All ages are welcome for an event like this.

Eat Some Jello, You’re Finally in Salt Lake City

Mountains, Mormons, and More.

You have finally made it to your final destination, Salt Lake City, Utah!  There is so much to do and see in this wonderful city.  Most people immediately associate Utah with the religious group of people known as Mormons.  While Mormonism is very popular in Utah, Salt Lake City still has much more to offer.  

A fun fact about Salt Lake City is that it actually holds the title for the highest Jell-O consumption per capita, in the world.  So while you’re eating some Jell-O, be sure to take a stroll in Liberty Park.  Within Liberty Park, there are two islands and a pond.  It is a beautiful place to visit no matter what season as the leaves change and the grass is perfectly green during the warmer


Another place to visit that is non Mormon related is the Marmalade District.  In this neighborhood, there is a strong LGBTQ community presence, many coffee shops, clubs, and street artwork.

For Mormon related activities, visit the Mormon Tabernacle, Temple square, The Beehive House, or Mormon Temple.  Each and every one of those places has opportunities to learn more about Mormonism and the background of this unique religion.  

This ten and half hour drive may be long, but everything able to be seen in between Phoenix, Arizona and Salt Lake City,Utah, is well worth it.  From museums, canyons, shopping centers, and even a national forest, there is something that everyone can enjoy.  Summer is right around the corner, and the perfect time for this once in and lifetime road trip! 

Albion Skeldon

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