Which route to Show Low from Phoenix would have the least extreme climbs since I will be driving a 35foot rv with trailer? Thru Payson or thru Globe?

3 Answers 3


If you put it into Google Maps and select "bicycle" instead of car, you will get an elevation profile of the route.

By the looks of it Globe is more of a steady climb whereas Payson has some local peaks

  • 5
    Good answer, showing the method OP can use himself.
    – Willeke
    Dec 26, 2022 at 12:24
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    It should be noted that the "bicycle" mode leaves out any routes that involve limited-access highways (freeways) where bicycles are prohibited but trailers are allowed. In the OP's case this doesn't matter (neither route involves siginificant travel on such highways) but it's not a perfect solution in all situations. Dec 26, 2022 at 15:31
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    @MichaelSeifert: you are correct. Even in this case the bicycle route for a long stretch stays close to but not actually on rt 60. Chances are that the freeway has less inclines than the side roads, so this is still a fairly good estimates. It's certainly not ideal, but the best I could come up with.
    – Hilmar
    Dec 26, 2022 at 16:07
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    For what it's worth, the route through Globe has 12,552 feet of elevation gain and 7,280 feet of elevation loss. The route through Payson has 11,872 feet of elevation gain and 6,594 feet of elevation loss. There are some long climbs and descents on the route through Payson, but they aren't terribly steep or curvy. In comparison, US-60 goes through the salt river canyon which has a 2,000 foot switchback descent into a canyon followed by a 2,000 foot switchback climb, all in just a few miles. Dec 27, 2022 at 1:21
  • This is just plain ol' bad advice! Pro tip: use street view and the 3D satellite instead... Dec 27, 2022 at 8:59

I've driven both routes many times. The route through Globe takes you through the Salt River Canyon (Google it!) That would be a nightmare with an RV. I'd opt for the route through Payson.

Both routes are awful if it's been snowing, and you can get heavy snow (enough to close the highway) from November through March.


If your priority is trying to avoid slopes as much as possible, you might opt for I-17 to Flagstaff and I-40 to Holbrook and then down 77 to Show Low. It's a somewhat longer route, but it's mostly on nice wide, flat and fast interstates, rather than the mountain roads on your two suggested routes, and these are more likely to be free of snow (or at least well-plowed).

  • I just checked google, and the route via Flagstaff is about 1 hour longer than the other 2 routes.
    – Peter M
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:42
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    @PeterM That's in ideal conditions. If the shorter routes are snowed in, they can take considerably longer. The Flagstaff route is less likely to have snow issues. So it's still a valid choice depending on the weather. Dec 27, 2022 at 15:47
  • I've driven the other 2 routes during good weather, but I'd hate to do it during snow - even if the roads were well plowed.
    – Peter M
    Dec 27, 2022 at 16:57
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    I'd give serious consideration to this option, particularly in the winter. Dec 27, 2022 at 19:39

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