Planning a trip? Here are some online and PDF printable Interstate 40 maps!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of I-40 (Interstate 40) as it runs through the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. On the rest of this page, you'll find I-40 maps to help you plan your western USA road trip. You may also view our I-40 Road Trip Planner to get ideas of fun things to do on your western Interstate 40 vacation.
Western I-40 Overview
Western I-40 runs east and west through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. I-40 ends at Barstow, California (or begins there...whichever way you want to view the matter!) It dead-ends into 1-15, so you have the choice of heading northwards towards Las Vegas, Nevada...or southwards towards San Bernardino, Los Angeles & San Diego, California. Or, you may choose to leave the interstate altogether. In that case, you might plan to head due west towards Bakersfield, CA on California SR 58.
Western I-40 weather: Thanks to generally good weather conditions along Western I-40, the road is open to travelers on most days of the year. Yes, you may expect a few wintertime "snow closures," but in comparison with more northern highways, the down-time isn't bad.
During the summertime, temperatures routinely reach into the 90's or low 100's along many parts of I-40. Traveling with air conditioning in your car will make your vacation much more pleasant during these times. Nevertheless, you won't ever have the extreme days of 115 degree heat (which happen all too regularly along I-10 in Arizona.)
Much of I-40 follows the old Route 66 highway. (Route 66, in turn, followed the old railroad route through this area.) In fact, train-enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to see long lines of freight cars with regularity on their I-40 vacation! You'll also find whimsical old souvenir stands dating back from the Rt 66 days. It's nearly impossible NOT to stop and check out one or two of these kitschy relics from bygone days.
Overview map of I-40: To get your bearings, you may want to see how I-40 fits into the web of US interstate highways. Here's a Google map of the I-40 Interstate segment from the Arkansas/Tennessee border westward to Barstow, CA. As you can see, Google gives you an estimated time that it will take you to travel the entire length. Google's travel times do not include any time for rest breaks. According to the AAA automobile club, it's safe to assume that only 50 minutes out of every hour will be spent driving...and that's if you only stop to grab a quick snack and fill up your car with gas at two hour intervals. If you're not in a rush, it's wiser to plan even more time than that. A vacation isn't any fun without making some memories along the way! A few delicious meals or taking in new sights---those are the things you'll still remember 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. Believe it or not as you matter-of-factly drive down this roadway today, you're actually creating tomorrow's nostalgic memories.
On the map, you'll notice that I-40 runs in nearly a straight line across the Southwestern USA. If you'd like to see any details of this map more clearly, it is easily enlargeable. The east/west layout of this highway means that heading west, you'll have the sun in your eyes (sometimes blindingly so) in the late afternoon. Conversely, you'll get a terrible glare during the morning hours when heading east. These are good times to grab a meal and get off the road...but at the very least, do keep sunglasses at the ready. The sun shines more glaringly out west where there there is less moisture---and fewer clouds to cast shadows. You'll also be driving at a lower, sunnier latitude than you may be used to...if you come from a northern US state, from Canada or from abroad.
USA time zones: As you travel westward from Arkansas to California on I-40, you'll find yourself in 3 different time zones. Cell phone towers dot I-40 at regular intervals, so you will continue to get both phone reception AND your time should be updated on your phones automatically, too. It may take about 5 to 10 minutes for your phone to update after changing zones, or it may be instantaneous. We've had it happen both ways.
Time zones in a nutshell: While you're in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, you'll be in Central Time. As you cross out of the Texas panhandle, you'll enter Mountain time in New Mexico...but you'll only be in the Mountain Zone for that one state. Once you've entered Arizona, you'll be in Arizona Time. Arizona is a "split state." The Navajo Native-American Nation observes Mountain Time. The rest of Arizona never changes time zones at all. During the summer, AZ goes with Pacific time. During the Winter, AZ observes Mountain time. And yes, your phone DOES know this...and "remembers" this much more easily than we humans do! Once you cross into California, then you'll be in Pacific Time.
Time Zone Map: You might like to print up the following PDF time zone map of the USA for a reference. This government-produced map gets updated every few years and our link to it drops. (Why do they update? Time zones don't change!) Here's a link to the page on the NationalMap.gov site where they talk about time zones. Perhaps if the first link breaks, the 2nd one will stay intact.
Arkansas Maps of I-40
In Arkansas, the eastern section of I-40 runs from Memphis, TN to Little Rock, AR. Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment from Memphis to Little Rock. You'll see Google's best guess at the time it will take to travel through this area. You will face week day rush-hour times in both Memphis and Little Rock. Night time traffic on this stretch is heavier than along many stretches of I-40, because the truck traffic is bustling here. The trucks move right along, so this shouldn't hold you up too much...except when one slow semi passes another even-slower one. Don't try telling us that this hasn't happened to you along this stretch, because we won't believe you!
Crossing the Missippippi River: What may seem ordinary to local residents is actually breathtaking to many tourists, and we're among that group. One of the highlights of driving across the Missippippi River Bridge during the daytime is getting to take in the view. Get in the right-hand lane behind the slowest vehicle that you can find and let your passengers gaze to their heart's content! (Because, certainly, your own eyes are going to be glued to the road in front of you...) Nighttime has less traffic, but you won't see the river in the dark.
In western Arkansas, Interstate 40 runs from Little Rock to Ft Smith just before the Oklahoma border. The western half of Arkansas is more mountainous than the eastern segment...but the curves and changes in elevation make for a very lovely drive. The traffic is lighter, and because of the sparse traffic, the road stays smoother for a longer time after being resurfaced. Fort Smith has only a small amount of busy traffic at rush hour times, compared to major cities. Most of the town sits to the south side of the freeway; the interstate does not cut straight through the city. Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment from Little Rock to Ft Smith. (The suburb of Dora sits directly at the borders, but virtually all non-locals call the entire metro area "Fort Smith.")
Other online Maps of Arkansas: The State of Arkansas puts out several interesting maps you might like to see. For starters, here's a road map/topography map of Arkansas, which shows the state's major roads imposed over a map of Arkansas elevations. Darker colors signify lower elevations than lighter colors on this map. This state offers so many interesting maps that you'll surely want to check out the list. Here's a link to a road map/list of sight-seeing maps of Arkansas, which includes maps of state parks, camping, welcome centers and enlargements of specific regional areas. And, here's a link to the state's list of highway maps of Arkansas, including weather conditions, highway construction update maps and PDF city maps. The list of PDF Arkansas city maps is impressive. Don't ask which cities are covered; ask which are NOT included on the list!
Rest Area map: If you'd like to find a place to rest, stretch and use the restroom, here's a Google rest stop map of Arkansas. It's surprising how many different types of maps that Google has, isn't it?
PDF maps of Arkansas: Here are two different Arkansas PDF maps, which you might wish to print up at home before your vacation. One is a simple map, showing just the major cities and roadways; the other is very detailed. First, here's the simple PDF map of Arkansas, from the US Government map site. And secondly, here is a more detailed PDF map of Arkansas which contains more small state highways.
I-40 Oklahoma Maps
I-40 runs east and west through the entire lower portion of the state. It doesn't travel through the much longer "panhandle" section of Oklahoma, however. Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment through Oklahoma.
Rolling hills characterize much of I-40's terrain in Oklahoma. As you head into the state westward from Arkansas, beautiful trees line both sides of the highway. Gradually, the trees thin out. Then, you'll pass through farmland in much of the rest of the state...with the scenery gradually becoming more arid.
PDF Map of Oklahoma: Here's a PDF road map of Oklahoma with the state's major highways (including Interstate 40) clearly visible. Or, you may wish to view a detailed PDF map of Oklahoma which will show you the mileage between exits, Oklahoma State Parks, minor roadways, etc.
Other Important Online Oklahoma Maps: Here's the link to a list of tourist maps of Oklahoma from the state's tourism website. You'll be able to choose between highway maps, city maps, regional maps, and specialty tourist maps---including Route 66 tourism, state parks/camping, lakes, information centers and more. And that's just the top of the landing page! Scrolling downward, you'll find really good maps of Oklahoma's largest cities. You can view them "as is," or you may open up colorful PDF versions to print out and take with you. If you'll be doing any sight-seeing as you pass through Oklahoma City, you'll especially want to check out the tourist map of the OKC capitol area (since a number of tourist sights are downtown.)
PDF Map of Metro OKC: The map page above isn't the only source for PDF maps of Oklahoma City. Here's an even more comprehensive PDF map of metro OKC showing all of the city's freeways, tollways and major streets. Did I say "tollways?" YES. I-10 is free, but some are not. If you plan to do sight-seeing around town, you should check this map to know where the toll roads are.
Oklahoma toll roads: Oklahoma is absolutely free to travel through as long as you stick to I-40 and the other roads marked in GREEN (on the map mentioned in the above paragraph.) If you're caught unaware, Oklahoma's toll roads can be quite annoying. There's no problem if you need to stop at a toll booth staffed by a human being. The problem comes with automated coin-takers that won't let you pass unless you put in a coin. A physical coin, not a debit card. Not a dollar bill. A coin or combination of coins. And, if you need to travel to Tulsa, you're gonna need a LOT of coins...so many that even if you're prepared with a coin purse full of them, it may not be enough. But once again, to repeat, I-40 is completely free from end to end.
Oklahoma traffic: Oklahoma's traffic is typically light if you're outside of Oklahoma City. OKC is the state's largest city, and it does have plenty of traffic all day long, getting busier during the morning and evening rush hours. Away from OKC, you'll only have traffic slow-downs in a construction zone...or if there has been an accident.
I-40 Texas Maps
Interstate 40 crosses the Texas panhandle. Comparatively speaking, you won't spend too much of your I-40 road trip in Texas. You'll only pass through one major Texas city: Amarillo. You'll find all the major tourist services you need in Amarillo, including emergency medical services and car repairs (that we HOPE you won't need!) Dozens of hotels and restaurants in all styles and price ranges await you here, as well.
I-40 Texas Maps: Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment through Texas. Once again, you'll notice that this segment of the highway shoots nearly straight from east to west. The land is brown and mostly flat. Trees are scarce. You'll notice ranch land on both sides of the road during much of this segment.
Texas state map: If you're curious to see all of the details of this huge state's highway system, here's the Texas Dept of Transportation's detailed PDF map of Texas. (You'll almost certainly need to enlarge this map in order to read it.) This is a very detailed map, and may be slow-loading.
The state of Texas has an extensive list of PDF city maps. You may view the list of PDF city maps and then select which ones you'd like to open up and view.
I-40 New Mexico Maps
Traveling westward, I-40 vacationers enter New Mexico from the Texas panhandle. Towns you'll pass in Eastern New Mexico include Tucumcari and Santa Rosa; plus the popular gas stop, Cline's Corners. The road features rolling hills and brown scenery.You'll reach New Mexico's largest city of Albuquerque in a bit over 3 hours of straight driving time. Albuquerque is New Mexico's largest city. You'll find all traveler's services here. You may stop to sight-see, connect to I-25 northbound or southbound...or simply remain on Interstate 40. Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment through eastern New Mexico.
Interstate 40 in western New Mexico: Once you leave Albuquerque and head westward, you'll continue to encounter rolling hills...and see red rock, an ancient lava flow...and even a few casinos. You'll be heading towards Grants, Gallup and the state of Arizona. Here's a Google map showing the I-40 segment through western New Mexico.
PDF Maps of New Mexico: Here's a PDF New Mexico map from the New Mexico Dept of Transportation. It's very detailed...perhaps more info than you wish. But it does show the interstates very clearly. To see a simpler map with "just the basics," here's a PDF New Mexico map from the Albuquerque tourism website.
Albuquerque Traffic: The only New Mexico city along I-40 in which you might expect to encounter some traffic snarls would be Albuquerque. Not only does the city of Albuquerque have enough cars to build up a commuter's "rush hour," it always seems to have some kind of a highway improvement project going on. (Of course, the results show! Albuquerque's section of I-40 is quite attractive, as well as functional.)
PDF map of Albuquerque: Here's a PDF printable map of Albuquerque which you may use to either find your way through the city...OR use as a tourist guide. (A number of notable attractions are marked on the map.) The city of Albuquerque hosts one of the USA's most popular hot air baloon festivals every October. It's also located as a major tourist hub for summer vacationers visiting the southwestern USA. So, its tourist department is prepared with a number of different maps for visitors to use...neighborhood maps (of popular tourist sections of the city); dining maps; and balloon festival maps. Here's a list of Albuquerque maps that are available from the city's tourist bureau that you may find interesting.
Side trip to Mesa Verde: When I-40 passes through Gallup, New Mexico, you'll come within a 2-3 hour drive to Mesa Verde National Park. This is the closest point to Mesa Verde that any of the USA's interstate freeways ever get. If you'd like to make a side-trip, you may view Mesa Verde pictures and get more details on our Mesa Verde Camping page.
I-40 Arizona Maps
You'll probably feel very "far away from it all" as you travel along Arizona's stretch of I-40. Most of your time will be spent in the open countryside. (But, don't worry; there are small towns and gas stops about every half-hour along the route.) Midway through the state, you'll ascend in elevation and pass through the state's 3rd largest city, which is Flagstaff. For just a little while, you'll leave the dry, desert-like scenery behind & be up among the pines! All too soon, you'll descend...and the scenery will become brown once more.
Arizona's tourism hot spot: I-40 at Williams, AZ is the gateway to the Grand Canyon...a tourist destination for travelers worldwide. Flagstaff is one of Arizona's rare winter snow-fun destinations...and also the turn-off point toward's Monument Valley's famous rock formations. Lake Havasu is Arizona's hub for boating and water sports. And Kingman is the I-40 cut-off point towards Las Vegas, Nevada...and also the starting point to tour Arizona's still-existing segment of historic Route 66. Wow! Along this stretch of I-40, you're likely to encounter as many tourists as actual residents! If you don't stop to enjoy one or more of these attractions, you must indeed be in a hurry!
PDF and Arizona tourism maps: If you're making a simple east-west trip through the state, as many people do, then the following simple PDF map of Arizona from the state's DOT should be adequate for your needs. Or, if you'll be doing a bit of touring on your I-40 road trip, here is a map of Arizona with tourist attractions marked on it for you. Interesting geological formations are northern Arizona's best feature...so you'll probably enjoy taking a few side-trips to see them.
Flagstaff map: If you stay on I-40, it's easy to stay on your route without any special maps. The road signs are well-marked. However, if you'd like to get off the road to explore the town, you may enjoy printing up the following PDF map of Flagstaff to serve as a guide. A number of interesting attractions are marked on this map, and an enlarged inset of the downtown Flagstaff area is included.
Interstate 40--California Map
Barstow, California is the city at the western end of I-40. The majestic 2,555-mile-long Interstate 40 ends abruptly by merging into I-15. You might not even realize that you've changed highways unless you're specifically paying attention. Such an inconspicuous ending for an Interstate Freeway that serves as one of the main travel routes across the USA!
Before reaching Barstow, I-40 travels through about 150 miles of California's brownest, most un-scenic terrain. This is Mojave Desert country (also spelled Mohave; mo-HAH-vee.) It's mountainous, hot, and has very few pit stops for re-fueling either your car...or your family.
Unthinkable gas prices: Perhaps the first thing that you should know, especially if you're on a budget, is that some of the USA's highest gas prices are found along the California stretch of I-40. Your best bet for getting gas is to fill your car before leaving Arizona; the Lake Havasu, AZ exit near the border has several very good choices of filling stations...complete with convenience stores & clean restrooms. Your 2nd best bet is to fill up at Needles, California. Gas prices in Needles are slightly higher than Arizona, but still nothing compared to the tiny desert pit stops you'll be passing on your way to Barstow. Also, if you need to stop for the night, Needles is the last town before Barstow with hotels. Some good motel choices can be found in both the budget and moderate price ranges.
Mountainous driving ahead: You'll be passing through desert country on your way to Barstow...but it's also mountainous, as well. Temperatures are sweltering in the summertime, so it will be tempting to keep your car's air conditioner on continually. This can be a problem: steep hills and a/c don't always mix. The combination can cause your car problems if it's not in tip-top shape. We would personally recommend having AAA or other auto-club coverage, because if you break down out here, you'll need an expensive tow back to Needles (or ahead to Barstow) and the bill won't be cheap. Once you've called for help, expect to wait about an hour for a tow truck to arrive; maybe more, if you're calling on a high-breakdown day. This means, you should keep water and snacks in the car while traveling through this area.
Phone calls: Using a cell phone in California is illegal without a hands-free device. Still, except for the fact that the mountains can disrupt reception, this area is well-covered for cell phone usage. So, you'll be able to call for help if you break down. Also, the California State Highway Patrol monitors this area; and for those without cell phones, there are roadside call boxes.
Otherwise, smooth sailing: If your fuel tank is full and you don't break down, you won't really have any other problems along this stretch...except boredom. Once you reach Barstow, you'll find every service that a traveler needs. I recommend Barstow's Lenwood exit (off of I-15) for having the best gas prices...mainly because there are a number of gas stations and truck stops at this exit. There are also the greatest number of restaurants to choose from, too. The popular Barstow Outlets are also at the Lenwood exit...and this is a very popular place for readers of this website to take a travel break. Once you merge onto I-15, expect more traffic. Sometimes, LOTS more traffic. Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, traffic is heavy in the northbound direction (LA cars heading to Las Vegas.) On Sundays, traffic is heavy going southbound. (LA residents going home.)