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Arizona’s Iconic Road Trips and Scenic Drives

A Guide to Arizona’s Iconic Road Trips and Scenic Drives

Arizona, a state known for its expansive deserts, towering canyons, and vibrant cities, offers some of the most picturesque road trips and scenic drives in America. Whether you’re winding through the towering saguaros of the Sonoran Desert or cruising past the red rock landscapes of Sedona, each route presents a unique adventure. This guide explores the most iconic road trips and scenic drives across Arizona, promising unforgettable views and experiences.

The Monumental Journey: Route 66

Historic Route 66: America’s Iconic Highway

Often celebrated in popular culture and song, Historic Route 66 stretches through Arizona offering a slice of Americana. Starting in the charming town of Holbrook, passing through Winslow, and all the way to Kingman, travelers on this historic highway will encounter classic diners, quirky roadside attractions, and nostalgic motels. Don’t miss the famous Petrified Forest National Park, which is just a short detour from the route, providing a mesmerizing landscape of fossilized trees dating back millions of years.

The Red Rock Scenic Byway: Sedona’s Gateway

A Visual Feast in Sedona

The Red Rock Scenic Byway (SR 179), is a short 15-mile drive, but it’s packed with some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Arizona. As you approach Sedona, the red rock formations such as Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock provide an otherworldly backdrop that’s perfect for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers. This route also offers access to numerous hiking trails, spiritual retreats, and art galleries, making it a comprehensive experience of Sedona’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

Apache Trail: A Rugged Escape

An Adventure Through the Superstition Mountains

For those seeking a more rugged adventure, the historic Apache Trail (State Route 88) offers a thrilling journey through the Superstition Mountains. This mostly unpaved road weaves through steep desert mountains and alongside the tranquil waters of Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The trail’s challenging terrain is suitable for more experienced drivers and their well-equipped vehicles. Highlights include the Lost Dutchman State Park, known for its gold mine legends, and the engineering marvel of Roosevelt Dam.

Saguaro National Park Loop: A Desert Exploration

Immersive Desert Landscapes

The loop through Saguaro National Park East offers an intimate look at the Sonoran Desert’s unique ecosystem. This 8-mile loop drive is lined with giant saguaro cacti, which stand as natural sentinels in this arid landscape. The drive includes several pullouts and short trails, where you can stop to appreciate the quiet majesty of the desert and observe wildlife such as roadrunners, hawks, and maybe even a coyote.

The Coronado Trail: Arizona’s Sky Island Scenic Byway

From Desert to Mountains

Extending over 120 miles from Clifton to Springerville, the Coronado Trail (U.S. Route 191) traverses diverse ecosystems. As you climb from desert floors to alpine forests, each turn offers a new vista, showcasing Arizona’s biodiversity. This less-traveled road provides a peaceful journey, with opportunities to spot elk, deer, and other wildlife, particularly near the higher elevations around Hannagan Meadow.

The Open Road Awaits

Arizona’s roads beckon to those eager to explore the state’s varied landscapes. From historic routes steeped in American legacy to remote drives through natural splendor, these road trips showcase the best of Arizona’s scenic beauty and cultural heritage.

Explore More with Pacaya

Why Choose Pacaya for Your Arizona Road Trips

Pacaya is the perfect app for travelers seeking to discover Arizona’s iconic road trips and scenic drives. With Pacaya, you can plan your route, discover local attractions, and connect with new friends who share your enthusiasm for adventure. The app also allows you to create and join community events along your route, making every journey richer and more interactive.

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