Salt Lake City to Tucson Road Trip Guide


Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Grand Canyon? Most people will say yes. Even those who have already been will want to go again. The iconic Grand Canyon National Park lies at the heart of the weekend RV road trip from Salt Lake City to Tuscon.

The Great Salt Lake, from which the city takes its name, is a destination for paddling, expansive views, swimming, and hiking just northeast of Salt Lake City. It's the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere and only slightly less salty than the Dead Sea. It also features the Antelope Island State Park where the American bison (not antelope) roam free.

Some other great things to do in Salt Lake City include visiting the Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Winter Games, and the Utah State Capitol Building. Kids will enjoy a tour of the Hogle Zoo, and everyone will like wandering the 21 acres of botanical gardens and walking trails at the Red Butte Gardens.

Your journey to Tucson will take a little less than 13 hours, not including the time spent at individual sights. Travel through the cities of Provo, Flagstaff, and Phoenix with RV campgrounds available near most attractions. The city of Tuscon also encourages you to get outside by exploring zoos and national parks. It also offers options in bad weather like museums and historic churches.

The roads are generally RV-friendly on this route but beware of the winter conditions at high elevations, especially in Utah, in the winter. Other than that, your RV road trip should go off without a hitch.

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Max RV length
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Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: all

Point of Interest

Visit the Sundance Community

Just outside the city of Provo, and home to the famous Sundance Film Festival, the community of Sundance, Utah, is a great spot to experience art, culture, and the outdoors.

One of the main attractions here during the winter months is the ski slopes. The Sundance Mountain Resort has been voted the number one ski resort in North America, so it's worth a visit. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, wintertime fun abounds at Sundance. With a Zip Tour for amazing views of Mount Timpanogos and cross-country skiing at the Nordic Center, keeping busy is easy.

When the snow melts, the trails are open to mountain bikers, hikers, and horseback riders. Year-round visitors can go fly-fishing and experience the art studio with a variety of workshops and classes.

Depending on your affinity for crowds, you may want to avoid the area in late January and early February during the Sundance Film Festival. Lodging, events, and activities are generally full or postponed during this time.

Fishlake National Forest

A little further down the road near Richfield, Utah, is the Fishlake National Forest. Its namesake, Fish Lake, welcomes visitors to its clear, cool waters and picturesque surroundings. As the largest freshwater mountain lake in Utah, fishing, swimming, and boating are highlights of the things to do here. The forest's 1.5 million acres are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

If you have ever wanted to strike it rich in gold, this is the place for you. Head to either the Little Cottonwood Campground or the Indian Creek Trailhead with your pan to see what you can find in the water. Anything sparkling that catches your eye could be gold.

It isn't uncommon to spot wildlife around the forest, so have your camera ready. The area is home to bear, cougar, moose, and mountain goats. You can also run into herds of elk and deer as you explore the park.

If you need a place to settle for the night, there are tons of campgrounds open to RVs. Some have fantastic views but be warned that hookups are limited.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is an obvious stop when on an RV road trip from Salt Lake City to Tucson. You essentially pass right by it, so not stopping would be a real shame. Most people dream of visiting the iconic Grand Canyon at least once in their lives. The canyon itself is one mile deep and begs to be photographed from every angle.

Tour this national park in your RV to see as much as possible on your weekend road trip. Since you may have already hiked at Fishlake National Forest, try something different here. The adventure of white water rafting on the Colorado River is the thing to do. From traveling only a few miles to multiple day trips, there's something for everyone and every ability level here.

If you're in search of relaxation and calm, have a small picnic at one of the scenic overlooks. If biking doesn't appeal to you, take a tour into the canyon on a mule instead. No matter how you explore the area, the scenery and geologic wonder of the canyon will not disappoint.

Mystery Castle

If you're traveling through Phoenix from October to May and enjoy a good story, check out the Mystery Castle built by Boyce Luther Gulley. The main mystery surrounding this castle relates to why the builder left his wife, young daughter, and job abruptly to undertake this project.

After being in the wind for three years, Boyce Luther Gulley began construction of this 18-room castle in Phoenix, completing it over 15 years unbeknown to his family. Upon his death in 1945, Gulley's widow and daughter became the owners of the property and started offering tours to the public.

Set on the cusp of the South Mountain Park and Preserve, this stone structure has 13 fireplaces and numerous protective walls. In addition to the use of stone, the castle is said to be held together using cement, mortar, and goats milk of all things. Construction materials of telephone poles, railroad tracks, and car parts were also used, definitely adding to the castle's mysterious air.


An end to the driving doesn't necessarily mean an end to your vacation. Once you've made it to Tucson, an abundance of things to do will keep the excitement level high. Visit the Saguaro National Park for photos of the namesake cacti and fascinating petroglyphs. Stop in at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for a tour of the zoo and gardens. For some history, head ten miles south of downtown to the ornate Spanish Catholic Mission San Xavier del Bac founded in 1692.

Regardless of how you end your RV road trip to Tuscon, you will have seen tons of amazing sights along the way. A well-rounded vacation featuring a combination of popular and lesser-known attractions is sure to please everyone.

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