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  1. #1

    Default Enjoying the drive from San Diego to Sedona to Santa Fe

    Hi All -

    We are driving out to Santa Fe in mid-January with a stop overnight in Sedona. Because there is so much driving (7-10 hours each stretch), we want to take the "scenic route" I have seen posts recommending route 89...but, I wonder if it is safe to do this in the winter? We drive a scion, but we do have a snow chain set for our car...

    Also, if is is safe to drive, can you recommend a few good places to eat along the way? We are not into eating Dateland is a "pass" for us...but something "non- chain" between the two stretches of drive would be greatly appreciated! We love to take inthe local flavor of wherever we are :)

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can give!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    It's about 460 miles from San Diego to Sedona, which is going to be about 8 hours via fastest route. This would be I-8 to Gila Bend, AZ-85 to I-10, Loop-101 around the NW side of Phoenix, I-17 to AZ-179. You can cut about 30 miles off by getting off I-8 at Exit 31 onto US-60, then AZ-71 at Aguila, then AZ-89 through Prescott, and Alt-89 to Sedona. This will take longer - I don't know how much longer - but I would not take it without checking weather and road conditions first. I have never taken it, but the map shows quite a few "wiggly" stretches which means it's mountain road.

    AZ-179 from I-17 to Sedona is a short stretch, but it's very scenic in its own right.

    Sedona to Santa Fe via Alt-89 to Flagstaff ((very scenic), I-40 to Albuquerque, then I-25 is about 410 miles and is about 7 hours.

    The only "unique" food I know of is in Yuma - quite a few places there have fried pickles.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Limited Options

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of choices for different routes connecting your starting, midpoint, and ending locations. Other than the Interstates, there's really only one viable option for a scenic route (with maybe some very minor variations) between San Diego and Sedona. You would start out by taking either I-15/Scripps Parkway/CA-67/CA-78 or (depending in the San Diego area you're starting from) I-8/CA-79 to Julian and then taking CA-78/S-3 through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to Borrego Springs. Then follow S-22 to CA-86 north along the Salton Sea to Mecca and use Box Canyon Road as a shortcut to I-10. Stay on I-10 for about 30 miles into Arizona and then take US-60 to Aguila and AZ-71 to Congress where you'd pick up AZ-89 up to Prescott and Alt-AZ-89 through Clarksdale to Sedona. All of those roads will be perfectly OK, and quite scenic, if the weather cooperates. If not, you are far better off just staying on I-8 to AZ-85 from Gila Bend to Buckeye and then I-10 to I-17.

    From Sedona to Santa Fe your options are even more limited, and since you don't have a lot of spare time I'd just recommend that you tae I-17/I-40/I-25 as your main route. You can, again if the weather cooperates, take the very scenic Alt-AZ-89 up through Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to Flagstaff to get on I-40, but other than that and the odd bit of Historic US-66 that might pop up alongside I-40, your 'scenic' time would be better spent with short drives through Petrified Forest National Park or Petroglyph National Monument.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Yuma food ... over the years we have seen a LOT of restaurants come and go in Yuma. (We travel quite often between San Diego and the Phoenix area.)

    Two chains that we don't have in San Diego: Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral. You access either one from AZ Exit 3, 16th Street. Go south to check out Golden Corral (a buffet); go north and then turn right between two motels to get to Cracker Barrel.

    The only "local" place that we've found to our liking was Penny's Diner; also off 16th exit, on the way to Cracker Barrel. 50s theme both for decor and food. Fun, and reasonably priced.


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