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 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 to 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 PDF map of the Interstate System which you may print at home, if you wish. You'll see I-40 running 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.
PDF map of USA time zones: As you travel westward from Arkansas to California on I-40, you'll find yourself in 3 different time zones. You may want to print up the following PDF time zone map of the USA in order to remember when to change your watch. (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, as well.)
In Arkansas, the eastern section of I-40 runs from Memphis, TN to Little Rock, AR. Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas...but unfortunately, you won't get to see the capitol building from the freeway.
In western Arkansas, Interstate 40 runs from Little Rock to Ft Smith at the Oklahoma border. The western section is more mountainous...but that makes for a very lovely drive.
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. Or, if you'd REALLY like a bird's-eye view of Arkansas, here's a Google map of Arkansas. When you turn it to its "satellite" view, you can see Arkansas as if you were riding in a plane...or even a rocket ship!
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, on which you may clearly see I-40 running from east to west. And, here is an extremely detailed PDF map of Arkansas which contains an amazing amount of road and tourist information...but all that info does make it difficult to view I-40 at a glance! This map is easily enlargeable, in case you'd like to look at the details of any section more clearly.
PDF map of Little Rock: Your drive through the state's biggest city, Little Rock, is the time you're most apt to run into traffic while motoring through Arkansas. Fortunately, I-40 runs north of the most populated part of the city. (Technically speaking, I-40 doesn't run through Little Rock, at all---but rather the town of North Little Rock.)
If you need more information about Little Rock's roads and highway system, here's a detailed PDF map of Little Rock which shows many streets in the metro area. Because of the many details, however, it is a little difficult to spot I-40. You'll find it marked in lilac purple near the top edge of the map.
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.
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 and you'll pass through farmland in much of the rest of the state.
PDF Maps of Oklahoma: First, here's a simple PDF map of Oklahoma with the state's major highways (including Interstate 10) 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.
Online Oklahoma Map: Here's a fun interactive map of Oklahoma from the state's tourism website. Choose a city & click; you'll be taken to further details about tourist attractions in that area!
Oklahoma City, largest in the state: Oklahoma City will give you the biggest chance of congestion while traveling through the state. You'll also have to keep your eyes alert for making the necessary lane-changes through the city. You wouldn't want to find yourself heading off on a different freeway suddenly!
Oklahoma City is also the tourist center of the state, with a number of interesting activities. If you'll be touring in OKC, you may wish to view our I-40 Road Trip Planner page to discover some family-friendly attractions you might enjoy there.
PDF Map of OKC: Here's the OKC official website's map page showing a detailed map of downtown, plus other maps of interest to tourists. The thumbnail of each map opens up into a full-sized PDF map (so you may print them out at home.) A number of major attractions are highlighted on these maps, for travelers who have the time to do some exploring.
Or, you may prefer this more detailed PDF map of Oklahoma City with its interstate freeways color-coded in green. Many city streets appear on this map, along with the locations of hospitals, airports, colleges, lakes, and some of the city's tourist attractions.
Oklahoma City I-40 changes: If your road trip will be taking you through OKC, then you may notice a few changes in I-40. Eastbound and westbound traffic will have their own separate lanes. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, particularly in this case, here's the link to a new OKC I-40 route changes.
I-40 Texas Maps
Interstate 40 crosses the Texas panhandle. Comparatively speaking, then, 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 the most complex of 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 tourist map of Amarillo, Texas, in case you have some time to stop for fun. I-40 is plainly marked in yellow on this map. As you can see, I-40 makes a nearly-straight beeline through Amarillo running from east to west. (I-27 branches off and heads to Lubbock, Texas, but it will be difficult for you to mistakenly get headed south on that freeway.)
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.)
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. You'll reach New Mexico's largest city of Albuquerque, where you may stop to sight-see, turn north or south onto I-25...or simply remain on Interstate 40 & head westward towards Grants, Gallup and the state of Arizona.
PDF Maps of New Mexico: Here's a PDF New Mexico map which includes all the highlights needed to drive through the state efficiently.
Albuquerque Maps: 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.)
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.) 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.
I-40 is the closest interstate freeway to the Grand Canyon. Although you'll need to make a side-trip in order to view the Grand Canyon, this may be the closest chance you'll get for viewing the world-famous natural landmark. Plan on spending 1/2 day for the side trip, which would include travel time, snack & gas-up time, plus a look over the rim and through the visitor's center. If at all possible, try to take in the Grand Canyon IMAX presentation, which will add to your depth of understanding and make your visit more meaningful. (You may even wish spending MORE than half a day here in order to explore!)
PDF Arizona maps: If you're making a simple east-west zip through the state, as many people do, then the following simple PDF map of Arizona 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 PDF map of Arizona marked with I-40 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 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 a less-than-spectacular ending for an Interstate Freeway that brings thousands of travelers from the eastern and central USA every year!
Before reaching Barstow, I-40 travels through about 150 miles of California's brownest, most un-scenic terrain. This is Mojave Desert country (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. I 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 Tanger Outlets are also at the Lenwood exit...and this is a very popular place for readers of this website to take a travel break.
CALIFORNIA MAP OF I-40: Here is a map of Southern California, which shows good detail of both I-40 and I-15; you'll see where they join at Barstow, too. Here's the map of Interstate 40 in California.