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  1. Default Roadtrip from Chicago to Scottsdale, Az

    I am planning on driving from Chicago to Scottsdale, Az sometime this summer. I have driven there before and did not have any trouble until I got into Arizona. It was my first time driving through the mountains and I have to say I am not a fan. I took the route from Holbrook to Payson, which I would like to avoid this time around. Is there an easier route to get through arizona with less mountain driving??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default A Little Farther But Far Easier

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Rather than come down AZ-377/AZ-260/AZ-87, two lane roads through Payson (and across the Mogollon Rim and the Mazatzal Mountains), just stay on I-40 in Holbrook and go all the way to Flagstaff. There, take I-17 down through Oak Creek Canyon and Black Canyon to the Phoenix area. This will add about 50 miles to your drive, but that will hardly be noticeable on an 1800 mile drive. It will be a lot easier, being all freeway quality. The only 'mountainous' issue I've ever had with I-17 is that it is a long continuous descent from Flagstaff at around 7,000 feat to Phoenix at around 1,000 and once when I had a cold, I could not get my ears to equilibrate to the pressure change.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I am not familiar with the road you refer to through Payson, but if you were uncomfortable with it, you can simply continue on I40 to I17 near Flagstaff. As Interstates are all built with gradual curves and gradients you shouldn't have any problems. It adds about 50 miles but only takes a few minutes longer according to my mapping program.,

  4. Default

    i heard that taking i10 from the south is a much flatter route with a lot less mountains is that true? i know it might extend my trip but i am willing to drive the distance if i can avoid as many mountains as possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default No Need

    Dropping all the way south to I-10 would add at least a couple of hundred miles to your trip, and that is again using two lane roads through the panhandle of Texas and southeastern New Mexico (AND the Sacramento Mountains. An al-Interstate route to I-10 adds hundreds more. Just take I-40 to I-17 as suggested and enjoy the views of the mountains from a straight and level highway.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I-10 is also a HOTTER trip. During the summer, I-40 between the NM border and Flagstaff is mostly pleasant, though it can get into the 90s around the Painted Desert area. Once up toward Flagstaff, the temps are darned pleasant. It's not till you start the descent from the Mogollon Rim along I-17, that you start to feel the heat that Phoenix/Scottsdale gets in the summer. (I know...it's a DRY heat...) Along I-10, though, you get a lot of the heat of the desert for more miles.

    I would definitely stay north.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    You could take I-40 to ABQ, then I-25 south to Hatch and NM-26 to Deming to pick up I-10.

    However, mountain driving on Interstates is easy, I-40 to I-17 would cut off over 100 miles from going through Hatch and Deming and avoid Tucson traffic hassles.

  8. Default

    how steep is the mountain driving on I17? Are there a lot of winding roads? Does it feel like you are driving up a really steep mountain and then coming straight down?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you are going south on I-17 from Flagstaff to Phoenix, you are going downhill. Grades on interstate highways are usually not more than 6%, and that's about what this one is. Winding? Not on an interstate, though if you jump over to Rt 89A (Flagstaff-Payson-Cottonwood), you'd have some winding roads.

    As far as I-40 from Albuquerque to Flagstaff is concerned, you hardly know you're going uphill unless you're towing in an older vehicle, or have a heavy load.


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    You really just need to remember that all Interstate highways are built specifically to make it easy for big trucks to quickly and easily make it across the country across any and all terrain. That means there are limited slopes and no sharp turns. There is no mountain crossing via an interstate anywhere in the country where you'll ever feel like your are driving up a steep mountain and/or coming straight down.

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