Roadtrip from Los Angeles to Louisville KY along I-40

May 18, 2011

We are driving from Los Angeles to Louisville KY along I-40. We want to know about roadside attractions along the way.

May 19, 2011

Hi there!

Great to know about your trip smiley

Wow! A road trip on Interstate 40, all the way from California to Kentucky sounds super exciting! It sure is an adventurous trip cutting across several states and traversing through "Desert America". Here is a map showing the approximate route of your trip.

Los Angeles, CA, USA to Louisville, KY, USA  (Source: Google Maps) 

The I-40 is the third longest major west-east interstate highway in the US, connecting California in the west to North Carolina in the east. Here is a measure of the distances it covers in each state

Interstate 40 (Source: Wikipedia) 

Let's get started on planning your trip. Read on to discover some really interesting attractions located on your route!

Overview: California - Arizona

This section deals with the first leg of your journey,namely 'Adventures in Arizona'! This state is well known for its rugged beauty which never fail to amaze visitors. Lonely Planet comments

A big tent state of libertarian cowboys and shopaholic suburbanites, cacti canyons and desert golf courses, Arizona still embraces an Old West flavor.

Arizona - USA (Source:  Lonely Planet)

Here is a map for this part of your trip

Los Angeles, CA, USA to Interstate 40, AZ, USA (Source: Google Maps) 

Weather in Arizona

Arizona is characterized by a dry climate with little rainfall and greatly varying temperatures in different parts of the state depending on the different terrains and changing seasons. Here is a snapshot of the expected temperatures in the areas that I-40 covers

(Source: Arizona Weather) 

You could also stay updated with the weather conditions during your travel by checking Weather Underground.

Things to See in Arizona

Arizona has a lot to offer the discerning tourist. A few which I thought might catch your fancy are listed below:

1. Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona is nicknamed as the 'Grand Canyon State', thus highlighting the major attraction of Arizona. It is a no-brainer that you must visit this huge, awe inspiring natural spectacle, that was carved over a long period of time by the Colorado river.I I-40 has several possible turn-offs to proceed to the Grand Canyon National Park. For more information, you could check out this helpful website. Alternatively you could also

Contact (520) 638-7888. Entry Fee: 25 USD per vehicle. Hours: Open Daily 24 Hours

Grand Canyon (Source: Paul Fundenburg) 

Here is a review from an impressed visitor

I have wanted to see The Grand Canyon since I was a child and I was a little concerned that it could not live up to my expectations.
I need not have worried. It was truly awe inspiring. The scale of the canyon and the range of colours take your breath away. You see the canyon for the first time after travelling/walking along some non descript roads and it takes you completely by surprise as it opens in front of you. It is really something everybody should visit if they are able.

Grand Canyon (Source:TripAdvisor) 

2. The Meteor Crater, Winslow: About 50,000 years ago a meteor is said to have landed in uninhabited (Thank God!) Arizona and caused this giant "hole" in the ground. Today it attracts many visitors who stop for a tour of the site and a visit to the museum, gallery and movie theater.

Contact 928-289-2362. Entrance Fee: 15 USD per adult. Hours: Open Daily 8 am - 5 pm.

Meteor_Crater_Arizona (Source: NASA Blueshift) 

A traveler remarks

The history of the meteor crater was excellent. Much effort has been put into the museum and movie that are included in your ticket. As well as being able to view the crater from a few view points, they offer a rim walk for about an hour. The whole experience was interesting and we learnt a lot about meteors. A must see!

Meteor Crater (Source: TripAdvisor) 

3. The Petrified Forest National Park, HolBrook:This was a thickly wooded area many, many ages ago. Gradually nature worked it's magic and today the park is home to numerous 200-million-year-old well preserved fossils.

Contact: 928-524-6228. Entrance Fee: 10 USD per vehicle. Hours: Open Daily 7 am - 7 pm.

Petrified Forest National Park (Source: Richie Diesterheft) 

Here is what a traveler has to share

I really like the Petrified Forest National park because each stop has some thing very different.The painted desert overlooks have awesome views with amazing colors. The blue mesa has a great walking trail. Newspaper Rock is one of the best exampls of petroglyphs I've ever seen. The Jasper Forest give an idea of just how extensive the petrified forest really is. The Crystal Forest give you an opportunity to get up close to the trees. The whole park has the look and feel of another planet.
Whenever I go, I find that I run out of time and room on my camera before I run out of desire to stay longer.
When you go, please remember the following: The nearest town is Holbrook at almost 20 miles away. Bring your own food and don't expect to find a hotel close by. Also, the painted desert has the best color and most interesting appearance at sunrise and sunset. Therefore, try to be at the northern overlooks at those times. Enjoy!

 Petrified Forest National Park (Source:TripAdvisor) 

Apart from these top destinations, you can also check out this for further information.

Overview: Arizona - New Mexico

The next part of your journey on I-40 would take you to the state of New Mexico. A quaint state in south western US, it is also the sixth-most sparsely populated state.The culture and traditions of New Mexico has a strong Hispanic and Native American influence to it. Frommer's adds

New Mexico is definitely lost in some kind of time warp. Its history dates back far before Columbus set foot on the continent. The whole attitude here is often slower than that of the rest of the world.
When you set foot here, you may find yourself a bit lost within the otherworldliness. You may be shocked at the way people so readily stop and converse with you.

Introduction in New Mexico (Source:Frommer's) 

A map for this part of the trip

Flagstaff, AZ, USA to Interstate 40, NM, USA (Source:Google Maps)

Weather in New Mexico

A few words about the weather in NM

The climate of New Mexico is generally semi-arid to arid, though there are areas of continental and alpine climates, and its territory is mostly covered by mountains, high plains, and desert. New Mexico's average precipitation rate is 13.9 inches (350 mm) a year. The average annual temperatures can range from 64 degrees F (18 degrees C) in the southeast to less than 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) in the northern mountains. During the summer months, daytime temperatures can often exceed 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) at elevations below 5,000 feet (1,500 m), the average high temperature in July ranges from 97 degrees F (36 degrees C) at the lower elevations to the upper 70s (degrees F, up to 26 degrees C) at the higher elevations

New Mexico (Source: Wikipedia)

Do stay updated with the weather conditions, by going to Weather Underground.

Things to See in New Mexico

Experiencing New Mexico is like entering a bygone era - one where people were friendlier and life was much simpler! One of the main cities which you will be passing through or taking a beak in NM is Albuquerque. Some of the fascinating attractions are as below

1. Old Town Albuquerque: Take a leisurely stroll around, soak in the local sights and sounds, savor the south-western flavors in any of the restaurants and pick up a souvenir or two in this charming old neighborhood!

Contact: Address: PO Box 7483, Albuquerque, NM 87194/ Email :info@albuquerqueoldtown.com Hours: Open Daily

San Felipe de Neri Church (Source: Maureen Didde)

A reviewer states

We very much enjoyed our time in Old Town. Shops, Restaurants and that southwest feel really makes you seem like you are in old New Mexico. They had a mariachi band playing and we enjoyed walking around the streets and taking in the local atmosphere. A must do if in the Albuquerque area.

Old Town Albuquerque (Source:TripAdvisor)

2. Albuquerque Biological Park: This bio-park consists of a Zoo, an Aquarium, Botanical Gardens and Tingley Beach.If you are a nature lover and a wildlife enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy your time here!

Contact: Address: Zoo - 903 Tenth SW, Botanic Garden and Aquarium - 2601 Central NW, Tingley Beach - 1800 Tingley Drive SW. Ph: 505/764-6200/505/768-2000. Entrance Fee: Combo Ticket - 12 USD per adult. Hours: Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm.

Albuquerque Aquarium 2008 (Source: Lee) 

Here is a remark from a visitor to the aquarium

Once inside the Aquarium we encountered an employee or volunteer at every corner telling us interesting tidbits of info about the species or particular creatures. "This Sting ray likes to be petted, that turtle is named so and so and was injured by fisherman", etc.. It was incredible! I was so impressed by the aquarium, the entry fee and the service that we received that we plan to go back year after year.

Albuquerque Aquarium (Source:TripAdvisor)

3.Sandia Peak Tramway: Touted as the highest aerial tramway in the world, the Sandia Peak Tramway promises exhilarating views and expansive views that will take your breath away!

Contact: Address: 10 Tramway Loop NE Albuquerque, NM 87122, Ph:505-856-7325, Fax: 505-856-6490, Email: info@sandiapeak.com. Fee: Round Trip - 15 USD per adult. Hours: Open Daily 9 am - 9 pm.

From the Sandia Peak Tram (Source: James Quinn) 

A traveler says

andia Peak Aerial Tramway provided a great experience and view of the city. We rode it up at sunset, had a quiet drink at the top, and came back down for dinner at the Mexican restaurant at the base. This was a brilliant idea as not only was the food delicious and authentic Mexican, we received a discount by presenting our tram tickets (this is also applicable at the restaurant at the top)!

Sandia Peak Tramway (Source: TripAdvisor)

For a comprehensive inventory of things to do/see in NM, please try this site, New Mexico.

Overview: New Mexico - Texas - Oklahoma

The third part of your odyssey on I-40 covers New Mexico to Oklahoma and a short distance through Texas. Here is a map

Albuquerque, NM, USA to Interstate 40, Oklahoma City, OK, USA  (Source: Google Maps)

Weather in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a continental weather with cold winters and hot summers. Dry, sunny weather is experienced in most of the regions in the state. Oklahoma is also prone to tornadoes. A snapshot of the expected temperatures

Climate of Oklahoma City (Source:  Wikipedia) 

Again, you can stay updated with the weather conditions by checking Weather Underground.

Things to See in Texas & Oklahoma

The only major city that the I-40 passes through in Texas, is Amarillo in the northwest part of the state-also known as the "yellow rose of Texas" as it derives it's name from the Spanish word for yellow. A couple of attractions here are as follows

1. Cadillac Ranch: It is hugely debated by many as to whether this is really a form of freaky public art or just some junkyard for old Cadillac cars! Why not find out for yourself? You could read this blog for further interesting trivia.

Address: I-40, Exit 60. Entrance Fee: Free. Hours: Open Daily.

Cadillac Ranch (Source: Nic)

A review

Though the land is private, it is free to enter through a cattle gate to explore the "sculpture" anytime during daylight hours. They make for great photographic subjects but it that's not your thing and you're still feeling artsy, there are cans of spray paint scattered about. This is one place that graffiti is not only allowed but encouraged! If ever you thought to yourself while driving across the USA that maybe, just maybe it would have been easier to fly, this is one time you will remember exactly why you drove in the first place. Who says the best things in life aren't free? Well, Cadillac Ranch is.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo (Source: VirtualTourist)

2.Route 66 Historic District: Route 66 is affectionately called a the "mother road" of I-40 by many old-timers. Route 66 was the original road that was in existence before being replaced by the newer I-40. The Historic District of 66 is both a testimony and an ode to this old road.

Contact: Address: 2920 Sw6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106, Ph:877 398 1211. Hours: Open Daily.

Big Texan, Amarillo, Texas Route 66 (Source: Mark) 

A review from Fodor's reads

This old part of Amarillo is located in the historic neighborhood of San Jacinto. The district affords an enjoyable stroll through history with modern shops built in historic places that once lined the old Route 66. Set among homes from the early 1900s, some of which are admittedly a bit run-down), the mile-long strip offers cute little antiques stores and restaurants with several types of cuisines - locals love the hamburgers at Golden Light, dishing up American classics for half a century. Check out the live music in the summer, too, and be sure to stop by "The Nat," a huge ballroom where famous musicians played in the heyday of Route 66. This is a great place for antiquers.

Route 66 Historic District Review (Source: Fodor's) 

Moving on along I-40 would then bring you to the "Sooner State" - Oklahoma. The name Oklahoma literally translates to "red people" and the state has a strong Native American influence. The capital of this state is Oklahoma City. The other bigger city that you will cross is Tulsa. Some interesting attractions to be found here are

1.Museums of Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is an important one in OK City. It is a touching reminder of the horrific bombings that occurred in the city on April 19th 1995. It was built to soothe the wounds and to offer support for all the affected victims.

Contact: Address: 620 N. Harvey Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73102, Ph: 888-542-4673
Fax: 405-235-3315, Email: info@oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org

Hours: Memorial - Open Daily, 24 hours a day.

Museum: Mon. to Sat: 9 am - 6 pm/Sun. 12 noon - 6 pm

Respect to the Fallen (Source: Kelly Teague) 

A visitor speaks about the moving experience she had

This is the third visit to the Memorial, always poignant, sobering, and heart-wrenching.
One of the things I particularly appreciate about this remarkable presentation is that it almost exclusively focuses on the victims, the innocent, the personal and community responses, selflessness and bravery, the natural goodness of people. There is very little mention of the twisted perpetrators who conceived this act of monstrous madness.

OKC National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City (Source: VirtualTourist) 

Some of the other good museums worth visiting are Oklahoma are National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum,National Museum of Osteology, Science Museum of Oklahoma, 45th Infantry Division Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art etc.

2. Tulsa Garden Center: is a pleasant spot with lots of greenery for you to commune with nature and spend a relaxing evening.

Contact: Address: 2435 South Peoria Ave Tulsa, OK 74114, Ph:918-746-5125. Entry Fee: Free Hours: Tue. to Sat. 9 am - 4 pm.

Flowers (Source: Domenico Salvagnin) 

A traveler has this to say

There is a beautiful beginning-of-the-last-century house where you can look around and see some interesting art. There is a great formal rose garden, orchids and other exotic plants, beautiful trees. Nice place to walk around with a friend or with children. And this is all for free.

Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa, Oklahoma (Source:Yahoo! Travel) 

If you would like to explore more of Texas and Oklahoma, you can check TX Beautiful and TravelOK.

Road (Source: Hey Paul) 

So there you go! Armed with this fantastic list of attractions, I'm sure your road trip would be a truly memorable one! You might find Roadside America a useful website to aid your trip planning. Do check it out!

The remaining part of your journey (i.e) from Oklahoma to Kentucky follows I-44 and later on I-64 as I-40 then continues on towards the east through Arkansas, Tennessee and finally North Carolina. If you would like to know about attractions on the other two Interstates also, do drop us a word. And remember if you need any further information regarding comfortable accommodations, affordable restaurants or efficient itineraries, do get back to us. We will be glad to help you out!

Until next time, bye and take care!

- Anne.

Answered by Writer,dreamer,software techie,student-the new age Indian woman among other things ! Here to help fellow humans bitten by the travel bug! Anne John

Related Destinations