Google Maps Route Options

Screenshot from Google maps

So I've got two different options for an upcoming trip from SLC to Phoenix. The western one goes through Las Vegas, the eastern one through Flagstaff. The time difference is negligible.

From what I've researched the Flagstaff one might normally be considered a little better because it's not as barren (more gas stations), but some of my passengers get car sick and really don't like mountains, so I'd prefer whichever route is flatter, if there's much of a difference between the two.

  • 4
    Hint: Turn on "Terrain" in the google maps options, you can then see the mountainous areas much more clearly. Jul 30, 2015 at 20:26
  • Ohh, that's really helpful. Thanks. I also used the bike directions because it gives you a nice little graph of the elevation along the route.
    – Michael
    Jul 30, 2015 at 21:07
  • 1
    I don't know who keeps casting close votes, but this is plainly not primarily opinion-based, at least after having been edited. Remember that you can and should edit! Jul 31, 2015 at 3:37

2 Answers 2


Until the point where your two proposed routes diverge in the middle of nowhere in Utah, you will for the most part only see mountains from a distance, rather than be driving through them. But the similarity ends there.

If you decide to follow the back highways through southern Utah and via Flagstaff, you will find yourself on very winding mountainous two-lane routes, at least intermittently, for hours, until you are well south of Flagstaff - which is itself in the mountains!

If you go via Las Vegas and Kingman, you will travel through far less of the mountainous terrain your passengers can't stand, though there will be some of it. In particular in the northwest corner of Arizona you will spend 15 miles or so passing through a mountain range, and despite being on I-15 the road narrows significantly in parts of it. You won't pass through any other significant mountainous areas on the remainder of the trip if you go this way.

If you really need the least disconcerting route for passengers who can't stand driving through mountains, I-15 through Las Vegas will be it.

You might also consider driving at night, so as to obscure the fact of the mountainous areas somewhat.


Driving to Phoenix via I-15 to Route 20 (just south of Beaver, Utah) cross east over to route 89 go south to Kanab, east to Page then south to Flagstaff and on to Phoenix is approx. 740 miles and 10-1/2 hours (allowing for two short gas and bathroom stops. Going via Vegas is similar but the stretch between Las Vegas and Phoenix is barren. But flatter if pulling a trailer. I prefer the Flagstaff route for the various sites and terrain. Less boring and plenty of options to stop.

  • The OP was looking for the flattest possible route. Dec 26, 2018 at 21:13

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