Arizona June 01, 2016
These 9 Beautiful Byways In Arizona Are Perfect For A Scenic Drive
If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that Arizona has some
spectacular scenery. Look in any general direction and you’re bound to find something that will catch your eye. So, let’s take a look at just a few of our state’s roads that offer spectacular views to inspire your next road trip.
1. Let’s start this list with the beautiful but risky drive along Apache Trail.
The initial drive along this road from the outskirts of Apache Junction to Tortilla Flat doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. However, once you pass the little town and descend into the steep switchbacks and narrow lanes you’ll see the white knuckled fright so many talk about. Besides the scare, the drive along here does have some incredible views of the desert, the river, and reservoirs up to Roosevelt Lake.
State Route 88
2. The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway
This road runs about 120 miles from Springerville down to Morenci through forest, desert scenery, and the small towns that dot the landscape here.
U.S. Route 191
3. Dinétah Scenic Road
Approximately 100 miles in length, this scenic road shows you that Navajoland isn’t just the red rock scenery at Monument Valley. This route takes you from Canyon de Chelly in Chinle through forested areas like Wheatfields and then down to Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation. Be sure to stop for mutton stew and some fresh fry bread or tortillas while you’re in the area.
Navajo Routes 12 and 64
4. Gila-Pinal Scenic Road
This stretch of road runs from Globe to the junction of the 60 and State Route 79, shuttling you through traditional Apache homelands with desert flora and striking rock formations. You also get a good view of all the mining that happens in this area.
U.S. Route 60
5. The Arizona segment of the Historic Route 66
Do I really need to explain why driving along Route 66—both the sections now sitting under Interstate 40 and the two-lane roads still managing to exist—is a great idea? Check out our previous articles about some of the amazing finds you will see along this highway.
6. Joshua Forest Scenic Road
This trip across part of western Arizona shows off two of Arizona’s deserts: the Sonoran and the Mojave. In addition to the minimal scenes of the desert and mountains, you also get an up close view of the Joshua trees that line the landscape here. The official route stops in Wikieup but keep going up to Kingman for more views of the Mojave desert.
U.S. Route 93
7. San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road
This road takes you along Route 180 for a perfect view of the San Francisco Peaks and other mountains in the area. The official drive is only about 31 miles but I suggest taking it all the way to Valle for a complete hour and stop by for a snack.
U.S. Route 180
8. The impressive Route 89A
This route always takes out-of-staters by surprise, especially in winter when the trees and red rocks are coated in snow. Other times of the year, you get to see Mingus Mountain, the old hillside mining towns, and the red rocks surrounding Sedona.
State Route 89A
9. Sky Island Scenic National Byway
Hiking the Santa Catalinas is an amazing experience but if you think that all you can handle is a scenic drive, you should try this route which will drop you off a short distance from Mount Lemmon’s summit.
Mount Lemmon/Catalina Highway
Those were some pretty amazing photos, right? They also look so much more impressive in person! Be sure to let us know which route is your favorite for a scenic drive.