Tucson to Yosemite National Park Road Trip Guide


Looking for a quick road trip that can be completed in a few days, or over a weekend? Start out from the desert city of Tucson, Arizona, on a 755 mile journey to California’s Yosemite National Park. Before you leave Tucson, check out the desert flora and fauna at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, which occupy five acres that showcase native desert plants, and the Reid Park Zoo with 500 animals on 20 acres. For more desert exploration visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on 98 acres which houses 200 species of desert animals and 1000 desert plants.

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and is known for its Mexican culture, art, and restaurants, due to its proximity to the border. Enjoy noshing on some “South of the Border” cuisine, and take in art galleries, museums, and historic sites, as well as shopping options while staying near the city. If you're there in the winter, try to sync your trip with the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros: Tucson Rodeo, a pro rodeo with exciting events. RV campers can stay at Saguaro National Park, which is situated in two sections, one to the west, and one to the east of the city. The park has huge Saguaro cacti, from whence it gets its name, natural desert landscape, and tons of hiking trails and scenic overlooks.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: trailer
audience: friends

Point of Interest

Heard Museum

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, features internationally renowned collections, exhibits, programming, and events. The museum is dedicated to the advancement, interpretation, and presentation of American Indian art, and displays and shares American Indian people's stories as well as traditional and contemporary art. The museum works collaboratively with American Indian artists and tribes to present exhibits from the perspective of indigenous people, focusing especially on Southwestern Native American work.

The exhibits here provide a chance to discover the fascinating culture of the region's native peoples. While visiting the museum you can also shop at the museum gift store, or have a meal at the Courtyard Cafe here. The museum has limited parking for large RV units or tow vehicles which are best left at local campgrounds. While staying in the Phoenix region, RV campers will find great campsites to accommodate units at Lake Havasu State Park to the west or Tonto National Forest to the northeast of the city.

Joshua Tree National Park

RVers driving down Interstate 10 will pass just south and west of the Joshua Tree National Forest where they have the opportunity to explore and camp in the amazing natural Mojave and Colorado desert wildernesses. The park is named for the hauntingly beautiful Joshua trees that dot the landscape. These trees are distinctive and look somewhat like a cross between a palm tree and a cactus!

The park covers 400000 acres where you can hike, rock climb, wildlife watch, and camp. The Colorado Desert covers the east side of the park and is slightly cooler than the western Mojave Desert section which is high desert. No matter which area you explore, the deserts are hot in the summer months! Recreational and camping activities in this park are best enjoyed in the spring, winter, or fall.

The park is a remote wilderness and there is no cell service, so come prepared to “leave it all behind” and bask in the desert solitude. Night sky viewing is fantastic as there is little light noise from neighboring settlements. The most popular activity in the park is hiking, and there is plenty to see in the way of abandoned mines, springs, and geological formations. Mountains in the region make a great backdrop, and make excellent viewpoints if you're up to the climb!

The nearest campground to Interstate 10 is just north of the Interstate, off Route 62, at the Black Rock Canyon Campground, where amenities like drinking water, restrooms, and an RV dump station can be found. Other campgrounds that accommodate RVs are dotted about the park so you won't be spoiled for choice.

Yosemite Museum

Located in Yosemite Village, next to the Visitor Center, and Ansel Adams Gallery, the Yosemite Museum was founded in 1925 and was the first building constructed as a museum in the US Park System. The museum here has delighted visitors ever since its inception with its rustic architecture and exhibits. Exhibits are rotated regularly, and you can check out their current displays at Yosemite Museum Current Exhibits.

Take in landscape paintings as well as geological and natural history exhibits, a “Life Zone” section, and an “Indian Room” with artifacts and art of indigenous peoples native to the region are displayed including examples from the original collection of American Indian, handwoven baskets that were donated in 1925, and were the primary basis for the museum's development. When you're done discovering the indoor exhibits, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds where outdoor stages and wildflower gardens are situated. The museum is open year-round, and is a definite must on your Yosemite National Park visit.


Your destination point is the Yosemite National Park and is the first protected land area in the US, being designated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 as protected land. This unique natural wilderness developed over millions of years and contains magnificent natural features such as the Sierra Nevada Mountains, canyons, glaciers, falls, and other geological wonders. The park is a mecca for hikers and rock climbers as it is packed with great trails and rock faces, overlooks, and vistas. The Yosemite Falls are the highest in the country, and rock faces such as El Capitan are a must for climbers.

Other popular sites in the park include Tunnel View, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. The peak season is between May and October, as the weather during the winter is cold and snowy especially at high altitudes - unless of course you are a winter sport enthusiast! The park attracts over four million visitors annually. RV campsites can be found at campgrounds throughout the park and generally accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length although there are some spots that accommodate larger RVs. Campsites do not have hookups, so be prepared, but most campgrounds have restrooms, and showers houses, as well as dump stations. Need to rent an RV in the area? Check out Yosemite National Park RV Rentals.

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