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  1. #1

    Default Tucson to Petrified Forest - Help!

    Hello, I apologize if this topic has been covered but I searched and didn't find what I was looking for. Anyway, I'm in the final stages of planning my trip and I was wondering which way you guys would recommend taking to get to Petrified Forest NP from Tucson. It seems like the shortest way (at least via Mapquest) is on various state highways - 77 and 60. I wonder if taking the interstates (I-17 & I-40) might not be easier? I know, at least where I live, sometimes state highways are really slow to travel on because there are stoplights or only one lane. I guess I'd just like to know what sorts of differences there are between the two routes - time/terrain/convenience-wise - and which one you prefer. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Welcome

    Hi mysweater, welcome to the site

    How long do you have for the trip? Is it a run down and back over the course of the weekend or do you have longer? What will you be driving and will you have anyone travelling with you? What are your preferences - quick journey, interesting journey, ability to stop frequently?

    Going via Flagstaff and Phoenix adds 90-odd miles to the journey so I'll leave it for others who know the roads to advise on whether you'll be able to save time going the 'long way round'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Contest

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If I were making this trip (and I have) there is only one way I'd go, and that's the 'back way' up AZ-77/US-60/AZ-77. There are several reasons for this. First, it's over a hundred miles shorter than taking the Interstates up through Phoenix and Flagstaff, and on a roughly 300 mile drive, that's a lot. Secondly, the Interstates will take you through Phoenix, which is hardly easier on the nerves. The drive up I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix is almost guaranteed to be wall-to-wall trucks and cars, and it is becoming a less rare occurrence for an accident on that stretch to halt all traffic for hours at a time. Yes the 'back-way' is mostly two-lane and there are far fewer traveller's services, but it is a much more relaxing drive in my estimation, and includes some stunning scenery, particularly as you work your way through the Salt River Canyon and up onto the Mogollon Rim. Other than a very few towns along the way, such as Globe and Snowflake I can't remember even too many stop signs let alone traffic lights on this route. The one exception, of course, is getting out of Tucson and through Oro Valley, but once you reach Oracle Junction, the way should be open for the rest of the trip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Direct

    I think for this trip AZ-77 and US-60 would be quite a bit faster. These are going to be 2 lane roads, and you won't be able to drive them as fast as the Interstates, but since the Interstate Route adds a lot of extra miles and you'd have to deal with Phoenix traffic, I don't think it would make much sense to take the Interstates for this trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Speaking of I-10

    Until Buck reminded me of how bad I-10's traffic could be, I almost forgot another key element.

    I believe I-10 is torn up all the way from downtown Tucson up to around Marana, so depending upon where in Tucson you are starting from, its quite likely that driving up Oracle Road (AZ-77) would be just as fast as the freeway, even with its city traffic and stoplights, as you get out of Tucson.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Take the back way.

    Hi, I agree with taking the back way. There is a very nice botanical garden west of Globe, and in Globe is the Besh-ba-Gowah archeological site which is an interesting partial reconstruction/restoration of an Indian pueblo.

    The salt river canyon is quite spectacular, but a slow drive because you'll want to stop at several places to look and take pictures. There are even some petroglyphs at one pullout.

    Craig Sheumaker

    Co-author of the travel guide America's Living History-The Early Years

  7. #7


    Thanks for your advice, everyone! I didn't realize traffic is so bad between Tucson and Phoenix. I'll definitely be taking the shorter way!

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