Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ – 3 Best Road Trip Options

If you’re seeking the best route from Prescott, Arizona to Phoenix, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll discuss three popular routes, attractions and stops along the way, as well as accommodations, driving estimates and where to find more information. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll easily be able to choose the perfect route for you!

Route 1: Through Flagstaff & Sedona

Are you planning a road trip from Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ? If so, get ready for a 4.5-hour adventure filled with natural wonders, unique experiences, and captivating views. Come along with me on this amazing journey as I offer you insight into some of the most beautiful and interesting places to explore along your drive.

Follow I-17 South from Prescott to Flagstaff

Your journey begins as you travel south on I-17 from Prescott to Flagstaff. You will soon find yourself among miles of pine forests as you make your way to 7000 feet elevation of Flagstaff. Take your time to capture the stunning views of dried lake beds, sweeping meadows, and lush valleys.

When you arrive in Flagstaff, you will be greeted by its authentically rustic and visually captivating downtown. It is the ideal spot for exploring the different restaurants, cafes, and shopping spots. Or, for an even more captivating experience, be sure to check out the Lowell Observatory. Not only can you observe the stars here, but you can also enjoy fine dining, gallery hopping, and live music.

Drive West on I-40 to Sedona

Continuing west on I-40, you will soon find yourself in the peaceful and picturesque oasis known as Sedona. Here, you will be surrounded by gorgeous red rock formations and situated among trails with unbeatable 360-degree scenic views. Admittedly, it’s a tourist hotspot, so traffic can be heavy. But don’t let that deter you, there’s so much to explore in this quaint little town. You’ll find plenty of art galleries, live music events and art festivals. Be sure to take a short hike around the spectacle of red rocks.

Take SR-179 to I-17, and Follow I-17 North to Phoenix

After experiencing the beauty of Sedona, it’s time to head back north on I-17 to Phoenix. Of course, you can’t miss the iconic 4 corners of Sedona. And, if you want to get a taste of the Sonoran Desert, take a drive along the Vista Road. You will be surrounded by miles of cacti and saguaros.

Finally, you’re on your way to Phoenix. Ensure your road trip ends with a bang by treating yourself to a unique experience at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Here you can explore different habitats of the Sonoran Desert, including a raptor and mammal aviary with more than 20 live birds and animals.

Whether you’ve traveled it once or 50 times, the route from Prescott to Phoenix is always captivating and filled with fun activities. With each new adventure, you’re sure to be mesmerized by its beauty and the wealth of experiences it has to offer. So, don’t wait, get out there and explore!

Snow Capped Mountains During Golden Hour

Route 2: Across Chino Valley & Yarnell

At approximately 130 miles, the direct route from Prescott to Phoenix is a long and winding road, but worth taking for the stunning mountain views and gorgeous cactus-filled laid back towns. Those traveling this route will come across winding roads and lower speed limits, but the scenery and charm of the small villages and towns that line the way make for a worthwhile journey.

Chino Valley: Historical Roots & Beautiful Landscape

Chino Valley, located just 25 miles north of Prescott, is the first stop on this route. Home to a great number of historical sites, Chino Valley is most notably the site of the Chino Pony Express Trail and Chino Valley town park. Chino Valley town park is filled with history, from its one room school, to a walk in the historic cemetery, to simply looking out over the valley itself. The park provides a great opportunity to stretch legs, relax, and take in all of what this small town has to offer, making it the perfect stop to start the day.

Yarnell & Its State Memorial

After the scenic mountainside drive through Chino Valley, travelers can take a trip back in time and would be wise to stop in Yarnell. Yarnell’s claim to fame is its being the birthplace of Biosphere 2, an experimental enclosed human habitat, and the Yarnell Hill Fire memorial. The Yarnell Hill Fire memorial is in remembrance of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of individuals who worked tirelessly to protect the residents of their small town, and the site itself is gripping with emotion and filled with stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Castle Hot Springs: Comfortable Stay & Relaxation

After a long day of driving, the final leg of the journey will take travelers to Castle Hot Springs, the perfect spot for rest and relaxation. Castle Hot Springs is home to two historic cottages: a 6-room Victorian and a classic adobe structure. Today, visitors can stay at these cottages, located in a 35-acre setting with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. In addition to views, Castle Hot Springs is also home to the famous Sulphur Springs, a favorite of visitors throughout the area and known to provide the perfect antidote to tired travelers.

By making thoughtful stops throughout the day, this route from Prescott to Phoenix proves that a long road trip doesn’t have to be boring. Instead, travelers can look forward to discovering new places such as Chino Valley, Yarnell and Castle Hot Springs. Not to mention, the stunning mountain views and gorgeous cactus-filled laid back towns that come with it.

Photo Of Person Driving

Route 3: Along State Route 87/Beeline Highway

If you’re looking for a way to explore the American Southwest, look no further than the scenic drive from Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ. From Prescott, take the adventure of a lifetime and follow the directions to Heber-Overgaard, an alternate route to Payson. The picturesque ridge route then takes you along the State Route 87, also known as the Beeline Highway.

This route follows a path once used by the Native Americans, and provides a wonderful opportunity to observe the natural beauty of the American Southwest. The rolling hills and clear night sky provide a stunning view, especially when the stars are out in full force.

Once in Payson, it’s time to meander along the Beeline Highway, through the Tonto National Forest. Here, you can take your time and enjoy the views of the forest and the various towns and villages along the way. The road is well-maintained and offers plenty of passing opportunities for you to take in the natural beauty.

Eventually, you will reach the city limits of Phoenix. Enjoy the vibrant city life by taking a few days to explore the various attractions, from sports teams to museums, before you end your journey. Of course, while in Phoenix, don’t forget to experience the warmth of the desert and all it has to offer.

Whether you take the adventure of a lifetime or just a quick weekend getaway, the trip from Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ is something you’ll never forget. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Southwest while taking in the sights and sounds of the wide-open roads. With a bit of planning, you can make this journey into a great adventure and the perfect chance to unwind and relax.

Point Douglas Drawbridge over the River

Stops & Attractions Along Each Route

Route 1: Grand Canyon National Park
Arizona’s biggest attraction, the Grand Canyon National Park is ideal for outdoor recreation. Stop at the visitor center to learn about the area’s history and the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk. Take the time to explore the vistas and landscapes, hike the trails, and possibly even plan a mule ride down the South Rim for a truly memorable experience.

Route 2: Meteor Crater & Petrified Forest National Park
Check out two iconic parks in one stop: Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest National Park. Meteor Crater is a giant hole in the earth that was caused by a meteor strike. Learn about the science behind this impact and why it’s important to the earth’s history. Stop by the visitor center at Petrified Forest National Park just to the south and be amazed by the fossils, petrified logs, and painted desert.

Route 3: Hoover Dam
Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, the famous Hoover Dam was an engineering marvel when it was built in 1935. Take a tour of the dam and learn about its history and its function in regulating water levels in the Colorado River. Go down to the dam’s base to get close to the huge structure and take in the amazing views.

These routes also feature plenty of quaint towns, historical sites, fun attractions and amazing restaurants. Stop and explore along the way and make sure to snap plenty of photos. Visit remote trading posts and national parks, sample the local cuisines and chat with the locals – the perfect way to get to know the area.

Body of Water Near Rocky Land in Arizona

Suggested Accommodations

Finding the right accommodation is the key to a great trip and the Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ route offers a variety of lodging options. From camping, to hotels and luxury desert resorts, this region provides comfortable and enjoyable temporary homes.

Prescott AZ

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in Prescott AZ, you have plenty of lodging options in the area. There are plenty of motels sprouting around the city, making it easy to stay near the famous riding trails. If you’re looking for a unique experience, you might want to consider a farm stay cottage. Here, you’ll get to explore the local farms and the nearby rural areas. You can even join the farm’s activities and learn a thing or two about running a farm. For a luxurious option, you could try out one of the nearby desert resorts. Many have indoor pools and other amenities that can turn your stay into an unforgettable experience.

Flagstaff AZ

If you’re an outdoorsy type, you’ll find plenty of camping areas in Flagstaff AZ. You can enjoy all kinds of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and more. Here, you’re just a few steps away from exploring the wonders of nature. Meanwhile, many hotels and bed & breakfasts are available in the region, offering affordable and luxurious accommodation in the city.

Phoenix AZ

For those who want to spend some time in the city of Phoenix, you can load up on the rich selection of hotels, resorts, and bed & breakfasts. Whether you’re looking for budget accommodations or luxury suites, you’ll definitely find something that fits your budget. Aside from the classic choices, Phoenix is also home to many unique accommodation options. You can try out an eco-resort, glamping, or an apartment with full amenities.

Unique Experiences

The Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ route offers a variety of unique experiences. You can take a hot air balloon ride in the beautiful city of Sedona for a unique view of the landscape. If you’re a fan of the stars, consider a visit to the Fort Tuthill County park, which offers clear night skies and a five-star view of the stars. For more of an adventure, you could try exploring the Superstition Mountains after a 4×4 ride. You’ll also find plenty of activities in the area, including zip lining, horseback riding, and bird watching.

No matter your budget or your preferences, you can create an unforgettable experience along the Prescott AZ to Phoenix AZ route. With its endless list of unique experiences and a wide range of accommodations, you’ll never run out of things to explore.

Aerial View of the BNSF Railroad Lift Bridge in Prescott, Wisconsin, United States

Driving Time Estimates For Each Route

If you’re looking to travel from Prescott, AZ to Phoenix, AZ, you’ll have three possible routes at your disposal: the straight, northern, and southern routes. And while each route will get you to your destination, the driving times can differ dramatically depending on which route you choose. Let’s take a look at the practical time estimates for each route.

Straight Route

The straight route, defined as travelling along I-17, is probably the quickest route to take. This is a straight, flat highway and barring any traffic you can make the 155-mile journey in about 3 to 4 hours. However, if you hit peak traffic, it’s probably going to take a bit longer.

Northern Route

For a more scenic ride, you may want to consider the northern route. This route takes you along I-17, but also includes a detour to Hwy 69 and Hwy 19, which brings you up along the Bradshaw Mountains. You can expect this route to take anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 hours depending on traffic and how often you decide to stop and admire the view.

Southern Route

The last route is the southern route, which will get you to Phoenix along I-17 and eventually Hwy 10. This is the perfect option if you want to take in some desert views while at the same time making good time. Some sections of this route offer great views of the desert landscape, with plenty of places to stop for photo ops or rest stops. It’s also a bit shorter than the northern route, with driving times estimated at between 4 and 5.5 hours.

Ultimately, there is no wrong choice when it comes to which route to take from Prescott to Phoenix. Each route will get you to your destination, and the travel times will differ depending on the route. Keep an eye on the traffic, and you should be able to find the perfect route for you!

Birds Eye Photography of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Where Can I Find More Information?

Planning a road trip from Prescott AZ to Phoenix, AZ can seem like a daunting task. It’s important to do your research ahead of time so you can make the most of your trip and not miss out on any great sights. The first step is to contact your local tourist office in both Prescott, AZ and Phoenix, AZ, who can provide you with resources, tips, and recommendations on attractions or restaurants to visit along the way.

Visit Local Attractions

The route from Prescott, AZ to Phoenix, AZ is full of interesting attractions. Stop for a day and explore Petrified Forest National Park or maybe take a side trip to Jerome, the historic copper mining town. If shopping is more your thing, Old Town Cottonwood has unique shops, galleries, and great restaurants. If you need a break from the city and some peace and quiet, try hiking in Mingus Mountain or Lost Dutchman State Park, both just a short drive from Phoenix.

Research Online

The internet offers great opportunities for planning a road trip. You can easily find directions, restaurant reviews, photos, and reviews of attractions and attractions along the route. Make sure to read customer reviews and do your own research on the destination before making the trip. Look at websites of local blogs, tourism bureaus, or review websites to get a sense of what each place offers. Gather all the necessary information before you start, such as what type of currency you’ll need, what the local laws are, and any travel warnings.

Pack Strategically

Pack your car strategically. Remember that you might be on the road for quite some time, so you need to plan for things that you might need during your trip and on the way back, such as an extra change of clothes, or snacks. Bring items that can make the journey more comfortable, such as blankets and pillows. Make a list of items to pack and try to stick to it. Check the weather forecast daily and adjust your packing if needed.

Reserve Hotel Accommodations

You’ll also want to plan ahead and book your hotel in an ideal location. Try to book somewhere close to the attractions and restaurants at which you plan to stop, so you won’t waste too much time getting to and from them. Booking your accommodations in advance will ensure that you are able to get what you need in terms of amenities and, most importantly, a great night’s sleep for your long drive.

Stay in Tune with your Car

You should always check your car before embarking on a long-distance trip. Make sure everything is in order and your vehicle is safe. Change the oil, check the tires and top off the fluids, such as washer fluid and antifreeze. Also, be sure to bring a first aid kit, jumper cables, and a flashlight with fresh batteries.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you plan your road trip, always make sure you drive safely and enjoy the scenery along the way. Take your time to explore and take in the views, being sure to capture the beauty around you. It’s important to enjoy the journey as much as the destination and a road trip from Prescott, AZ to Phoenix, AZ will surely provide you with memorable experiences.

prescott az to phoenix az

Conclusion: Choose the Perfect Route For You!

Everyone is different, and the same is true of road trips. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing among the variety of routes from Prescott to Phoenix. Depending on how much time you have, what you’d like to see, and how much convenience you’re looking for, you can choose the option that is perfect for you.

For those who are looking for a quick and direct route, Interstate 17 is the go-to option. It will take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes and there is no shortage of incredible views along the way.

For those who would like to slow down and appreciate the scenery, Highway 98 is the ideal route. Taking Highway 98 will cause a longer time commitment and an increase of about 55 minutes to your trip. However, it’s worth it as you travel through Skull Valley, New River, and Peoria and take in striking natural views.

Those who would like an eco-friendly journey that ideally balances convenience and nature can take the backroads of Globe, Gila Bend, and Avondale. Not only does this option give travelers the opportunity to explore small towns, but it also allows them to show their support for local businesses. This route can take up to 4 hours and 30 minutes, and it is a great way to savor the surrounding nature and get to know more about Arizona’s rich history.

No matter which route you choose, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Pack snacks and drinks with you, particularly if you’re taking a route that will take more than two hours. Be sure to have entertainment such as books, podcasts, and games on hand, so the time will pass quickly.

At the end of the day, your choice of route depends on what kind of experience you’d like to have, and how much time and convenience you’re willing to sacrifice. All of the routes offer an array of features and benefits and can provide you with a memorable and comfortable journey. Don’t hesitate to explore the different options, so you can pick the perfect route for you.

Phoenix rooster with big white feathers and red comb standing on bird perch near building with birds in cages in daytime

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Explore Trails Between Prescott and Phoenix
See Historic Sites Along the Route
Best Restaurants in Prescott, Wickenburg and Phoenix

When looking for a fun day trip from Prescott, Arizona to Phoenix, look no further than the landscaped beauty and natural wonders between these two cities. From hiking trails to historic sites and restaurants, the possibilities for adventure are plenty — with something for everyone.

Hiking Trails Between Prescott and Phoenix

The Ehrenberg Route is an iconic hiking trail that passes through rugged, untouched desert for over thirty miles. It’s full of magnificent cacti and wildflower-strewn meadows, with delightful panoramic views from the top of rolling hills. Though the path is considered difficult, it’s the perfect trail for experienced hikers looking to explore its unique terrain.

The Pine Mountain Trail is the ultimate destination for mountain bikers and hikers. Its ten-mile path forks off the historic Santa Fe Trail, winding through dense pine forests and providing some of Arizona’s most breathtaking views. Along the way, experienced hikers may encounter wild mustangs, bobcats, and elk — and even hear the distinct sound of the coyote.

If a shorter hike is more your style, the Prescott Circle Trail allows hikers to experience all of the beauty that the city has to offer without venturing too far into the desert. This two-mile path is perfect for joggers and families with younger children, thanks to its soft, even terrain and stunning scenery.

Historic Sites Along the Route

Prescott, Arizona is the first stop on this journey and the Yavapai County Courthouse is a must-see. Over 100 years old and standing as a symbol of the town, the courthouse is filled with historical artifacts, records, and memorabilia. Despite its age, it stands as a testament to Prescott’s rich history and its importance in the state of Arizona.

Travellers continuing down the Ehrenberg Route will come across the Walnut Creek Site, an ancient ruin left by indigenous people. This protected site offers a unique glimpse into the past and serves as a reminder of the complex history of the land. The Montezuma Castle National Monument is the last stop, just outside of Phoenix. This eerie building was built into the side of a limestone cliff and was home to the prehistoric Sinagua people.

Restaurants in Prescott, Wickenburg, and Phoenix

Prescott’s historic Hassayampa Inn offers luxurious accommodations and a delicious restaurant specializing in both traditional American and southwestern cuisine. From the juicy Ribeye steak to the briny Pecan-stuffed sea scallops, the complex flavors of the chef-crafted dishes will surely leave everyone satisfied.

In Wickenburg, the Cattle Track Arts Compound is the place to be. This restaurant specializes in timeless recipes and features local ingredients. Here, diner favorites are updated with modern flair, often with unexpected ingredients. The outdoor area is a picturesque way to enjoy your meal, with peace and quiet.

When the journey ends in Phoenix, the Rattlers Bar & Grill can provide the perfect wrap-up to the trip. This casual spot offers classic bar and grill food, like hamburgers and wings, but the real star is the expansive selection of tequilas. Enjoy the tequila in a margarita or neat — a great way to commemorate an adventurous trip.

Modern cruise ships and boats floating on calm sea against cloudy sky near futuristic skyscrapers located on Phoenix Island in China


The journey from Prescott, AZ to Phoenix, AZ offers travelers a variety of different routes to choose from – each with its own unique attractions, amenities, and driving times. From scenic beauty in Flagstaff and Sedona to exciting stops off the beaten path in Chino Valley and Yarnell, every route and stop offers something unique and unrivaled. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing road trip or an exciting and adventurous journey, Prescott and Phoenix have all the trails and attractions you need. So grab your map, choose a route, and get ready for a road trip that’s sure to be unforgettable!

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