Arizona Road Rides

Everyone has favorite rides, here are some of ours:

Area Roads Distance    Map
Season (ranked)
Reason
Central AZ-89 6 miles
Map
6m video
Fall Spring Winter* Summer* Yarnell Climb. Fast climb, great views, winding road. This is a partial ride, but one of the best parts of a longer Wickenburg-Prescott ride.
 Central  AZ-89,     AZ-89A,       Lake Mary Road,         AZ-87  401 miles     Map Fall     Spring   Winter* Summer* Wickenburg-Prescott-Jerome-Sedona-Flagstaff-Payson loop. Great 1-2 day tour with twisties, sweepers, desert, forest & meadows, small towns. Summer heat in Phoenix and winter in Flagstaff can effect winter/summer availability. 2 day tour if you want to look around, 1 long day tour if you just want the ride.
 Central US60,        AZ-77,          AZ-177  220 miles   Map Fall      Spring   Winter* Summer*   Superior, Globe, Winkleman loop. I prefer going from Superior to Globe because I like the canyon better that way (uphill, 2 lanes, scenic pullouts to the right). El Capitan Pass  (D on map) has pull-out with spectacular views. Stop in at Ray Mine (F on map) and drive back to observation point. Short but rough road to overlook, but it’s worth it .
 Central  US60,        AZ-88,          AZ-188        AZ-87,          Bush Highway  237 miles
map
Spring     Fall          Winter* Summer* Superior, Globe, Lake Roosevelt (dam), Saguaro Lake (dam), Bush Highway loop. Superior to Globe twisties, Roosevelt dam (largest masonry dam in US, now topped with concrete), Saguaro Lake, Bush highway has nice sweepers (also a great shortcut to east valley).
 Central US60,       AZ-77,            AZ-260,             AZ-87  355 miles    map Spring,      Fall,        Winter*
Summer*
Superior-Globe-ShowLow-Payson loop. start with twisties, then Salt River Canyon twisties (like driving through Grand Canyon) followed by climb into Ponderosa Pine forest on top of Mogollon (pronounced “muggy-on”) Rim. Fabulous vistas from back deck of Visitor Center (G on map) as well as Forest Rd 300 at same location. Exhilarating  descent across face of Mogollon Rim to Payson. Spectaular vistas (but little time to enjoy) on the big sweepers coming out of Payson.
 Phoenix local  Central Ave.  29 miles    map Winter   Spring    Fall        Summer*  South Mountain. World’s largest city park has wonderful vistas of Phoenix and surrounding cities, as well as some great twisties to get there and back.
 Phoenix local  AZ-101 (loop) Dynamite     Pima       Bartlett Lake Rd  114 miles     map Winter   Spring    Fall        Summer*  Bartlett Lake.   A quick run out to Bartlett Lake (dam) will usually clear the mental cobwebs. Some twisties, big vistas.
 Tucson local  N. General Hitchcock Hwy  78 miles        map  Spring       Fall         Summer* Winter* Tucson-Summerhaven. This ride could almost make me move to Tucson. From desert to alpine forest (elev:8500 ft) in 25 miles of breathtaking views. Prepare to stop along the way the first time. Summerhaven is small town (tourist trap) at the top of Mt. Lemmon at the northern edge of Tucson.  There is also a ski resort up there, so snow can be an issue. Worth renting a bike just for this ride!
Southern I-10, AZ-80, AZ-90 192 miles Short Route or
242 miles Long Route maps
Spring Fall Summer* Winter* Tucson – Tombstone – Bisbee
AZ-80 to is fairly straight to Tombstone. Tombstone is a great kitchy western town, but the cemetery (Northern edge of town) is worth seeing. Wander through and look at the names and causes of death. Hint: the OK Corral names you’re looking for are in the far SouthEast corner. AZ-80 continues to Bisbee through the desert, but then the last few miles coming into Bisbee become a lot more fun. The short route then has you head north out of Bisbee to AZ-90, turning left and driving through more desert (with a brief Riparian interlude) to Sierra Vista.The longer route takes you south out of Bisbee, then turning West on AZ-92. Just before you head North to Sierra Vista, turn further South into the Coronado National Memorial. If your bike can handle it, go past the visitor center onto the dirt road that leads to the parking lot at the top of the mountain. Spectacular view!Follow AZ-90 north back past Kartchner Carvern to Benson, then back to Tucson. Follow the signs, there are several 90 degree turns at lights! Mostly Sonoran Desert, but Bisbee at 5500+ feet can have winter snow.
*Add 240 miles and 4 hours if you want to do this trip from Phoenix.
 Eastern  US-191 (AZ),US-180 (NM),
US-73
 235 miles each way 191 only Route
or
265 miles Loop Route maps
Spring Fall Summer Winter*  Devil’s Highway (now 191, formerly 666) is legendary among the locals. It reportedly has the most turns of any section of highway in the US highway system. Although 191 connects Mexico to Canada, the specific Devil’s Highway is the section between Morenci in the South to Springerville/Eagar in the North.191 runs parallel to the New Mexico border along the eastern edge of Arizona. Sustained altitudes above 8000 feet make Winter riding a risky choice, but the rest of the year is great.   Allow 4+ hours each way for the actual 191 portion. The ‘loop’ route takes you into New Mexico on 180 and is faster. The loop is preferred by many cruisers because of the steep and twisty descent into Morenci.
Eastern AZ-70, US-191 60 miles map Spring, Fall, Summer* Swift Trail on Mt. Graham. Start from Safford with a short (~7 mi) drive down the AZ-191 , then a slow ascent as you approach Mt. Graham on AZ-366, then an amazing (and technical) ride up beyond 9000 ft. This is a exhilarating ride, but the twisties are tighter than the Devil’s Highway which is nearby.
I would NOT recommend trying to do this on the same day as Devil’s Highway, but it would make a great morning ride before heading back to Phoenix.

 

 

 

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