Timeless beauty. Stunning geology. Pristine pine forests. Spectacular desert landscapes bathed in sunlight. The Wild West haunts. Puebloan cave dwellings. And a black sky full of stars.
Arizona is a wonderland of awe-inspiring sights, can’t-miss adventures, culinary delights and soulful journeys. Now that 2022 has been declared the year of discovering Arizona, it’s the perfect time to pack the car and take a scenic road trip. With its incredible landscapes, diverse culture, and countless natural playgrounds, Arizona has so much to offer. Here are some of our favorite scenic road trips and quaint towns to discover.
Phoenix to sister cities of Miami and Globe
Heading east from Phoenix on US Route 60 toward Miami, be sure to stop at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, home to desert species from the around the world, gentle hiking trails and rich bird life. In the classic western town of Miami, visit the Bullion Plaza Museum to learn about the ranching and cultural history of this copper mining boom town. At Globe, you can hit the bar for a burger and a Bloody Mary in the historic Drift Inn Saloon. A switchback cruise through the Salt River Canyon wilderness reveals mountain vistas and Arizona’s “other Grand Canyon.”
Page to Canyon de Chelly
Traveling up US Route 89 from Flagstaff leads to the wonders that surround Page, gateway to Lake Powell. Drink in spectacular views of the famous Horseshoe Bend stretch of the Colorado River, or take a tour of Antelope Canyon and witness the wonders of wind and water erosion in the narrow slots. Then, take a road trip to the Navajo Nation to see Canyon de Chelly National Monument, where towering rock spiers, stunning sandstone cliffs, and ancient Puebloan villages and art await.
The charm of Cottonwood
Located in the heart of Arizona and the heart of wine country, Cottonwood is ideally situated above the heat of the desert and below the cooler temperatures of the Arizona high country. Surrounded by the red rocks of Sedona to the northeast and Mingus Mountain to the southwest, its lower elevation makes it a perfect location for your next Arizona adventure.
Old Town Cottonwood is known for its Main Street with over 60 businesses including charming boutique hotels, wonderful restaurants, boutiques, antique stores and wine tasting rooms. The Verde Valley Wine Trail runs through town and has more stops here than anywhere else on the trail. Sit back and sip, savor and enjoy the fruit of the vine in the Old Town.
Cottonwood is also home to Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Less than two miles from the Old Town, this landmark has earned a reputation as a favorite fishing spot, a bird-lover’s paradise, and a hiker’s dream. Its trails wind through sycamores and poplars along the banks of the Verde River, making it a year-round gem in the center of Cottonwood. Visit Cottonwood, the heart of Arizona’s wine country, where everyone is welcome!
Learn more about visitcottonwoodaz.org.
Payson at Pin-Strawberry
Known for its rodeo and famed former resident novelist Zane Grey, Payson is surrounded by incredible wilderness. Along this dazzling drive, discover Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, where hiking trails lead to waterfalls and the world’s largest travertine bridge. Just 20 minutes north of Payson are the towns of Pine and Strawberry, settled during the Gold Rush. There’s plenty of hiking, fishing, boating, and history there, like Strawberry Schoolhouse, the oldest standing school in the state; stop by the Old Country Inn for a brew and a slice of wood-fired pizza.
About 100 miles north of Phoenix, the Verde Valley region is home to red rocks, verdant mountains, and scenic travel. Head to Montezuma Castle National Monument, a 900-year-old 20-room mansion built into a limestone cliff, or board the luxury Verde Canyon Railroad train and cruise through the canyons in a coach. outdoor observation. The Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale features galleries of amazing copper art and artifacts. Oenophiles will enjoy the Verde Valley Wine Trail, whose 26 wine stops pass through charming towns like Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood.
Talking Stick Resort
Arizona’s top-rated casino is renowned for its winning combination of luxurious accommodations, state-of-the-art amenities, spectacular dining and entertainment. Plus, the AAA Four Diamond Resort is minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Rejuvenate your body, mind and soul at the Talking Stick Spa, tantalize your taste buds at one of the resort’s eight restaurants, take a dip in one of the three pools or practice your best swing at the Talking Stick Golf Club. At the center of all the action is the games room, which offers an unrivaled experience with over 900 slot machines and 50 table games. The casino also offers new table games where traditional gaming and new technologies merge! Players can play their best hand on the new EZ Baccarat or place their bets on the new Roll to Win craps table. The exciting table features a 12ft LED playing field, virtual chips and live dice. After a day of gaming, retreat to one of the resort’s 496 luxuriously furnished rooms. Learn more about talkstickresort.com.
Native American culture
The territory we know as Arizona has only been a state for a relatively short time, the last of the lower 48 to be admitted to the Union. Indigenous peoples have lived here for millennia.
There are 22 sovereign nations here, including the Hopi Tribe, the Apache Tribe, the Navajo (known as Dineh, “the people”, at the four corners) and the Hualapai, the tribe that rules the famous Grand Canyon West.
The seven Navajo Tribal Parks and three National Monuments of Najavoland are popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Here you will find fascinating rock formations, sandstone canyons, historic sites and ancient ruins; and visitors have the opportunity to learn about Navajo history, traditions, and culture.
While in Tuba City, located on the western Navajo Indian Reservation, visit the interactive Explore Navajo Museum, which features a traditional hogan, handmade rugs, and baskets. Next door is the Navajo Code Talkers Museum, dedicated to Navajo veterans who served in the US Marines and used the Navajo language to send encrypted messages during World War II.
Also, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Tuba City Trading Post, which features a variety of handmade items like extraordinary native art, handmade jewelry, and beautiful textiles.
To visit discovernavajo.com to learn more.