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Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 425 miles / 684.0 km
  • Ride Time: A Weekend (2 days)
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $32.30
  • State: Arizona
Submitted by:
bdking

Ah, a ride that goes through steep mountain valleys, across wide mountain valleys, farm land and then back into Old West History.This trip from the Phoenix area to Bisbee takes you through all sorts of terrain and back into time.


The quick way to Bisbee from Phoenix is to hop onto Interstate 10 eastbound. Crank it up to 85 mph, stretch out on the highway pegs, and except for slowing down for Tucson and their narrow frieeways (and one gas stop), you are in Bisbee 195 miles and three hours later. However, by heading east on Highway 60 to Globe, then South on Highway 70 (the Old West Highway) you only add on 60 miles, but gain a world of better scenery.



Heading out of Phoenix on 60 to Globe means freeways and traffic until you pass Apache Junction. Even with Freeways and traffic you get great scenery with the Superstition mountains looming large to your left and front.

If you leave early (which I recommend) you can stop for Breakfast at the Red Sage Restaurant on the east side of Apache Junction. Their sevice is quick, the portions are great and the cook makes a mean omelet.

Highway 60 is a divided highway at grade level (posted 65mph) until shortly after the Florence Junction. From there it becomes two lane and almost immediately climbs into a very hilly stretch with great scenery. Open pit mining remains popular in this area, and from time to time you'll see some remarkable scenes as you twist through the lower Salt River Canyon.

You'll pass through sleepy Superior, then Miami, and finally Globe. Downtown Globe is interesting, but can be confusing, so unless you want to get lost for a while, stay with Highway 60 until you get to the turn-off for Highway 70 -- the Old West Highway.

The old West Highway is open, slightly rolling and low hills with views of distant large volcanic mountains. The landside becomes mostly farming communities,
and speed limits drop to 55mph and stay there. Be patient: the local cops take speeding seriously, and if you sit back and enjoy the scenery, you'll be in Safford before you know it. Watch carefully for your turn South on 191 towards Interstate 10 and Willcox.

Head west on I-10 and you'll see a number of signs advertising 'The Thing', an attraction at a road stop gas station. If you stop, you'll see a lot of antiques, with the 'Thing' an exhibit of a mummified mother with a child. At about the same mile marker on I-10, you will pass thorugh an unusual Valley known simply as 'Texas Canyon'. This area is filled with steep hillsides lined with large bolders.

It is pretty unusual and worth taking a break at the rest area. This is a good place to stop, as you will be heading south soon through Benson and towards Tombstone.

There is little I can add to the tales of Tombstone. The town is filled with tourist attractions, the most notable of which is an almost hourly re-creation of the

'Showdown at the OK Corral'. Actors dressed in old west costumes wander the boardwalks along with actresses dressed as harlots. The shops are typically Southwestern in flavor with prices ranging from realistic to ridiculous.

Big Nose Kate's Bordello is worth a stop. There is an antique painting of 'Little
Egypt -- apparently a young prostitute who was popular in the 1870's.

I suggest spending some time in Tombstone, but we found that we had seen all we wanted to see after a couple of hours, and we headed south to Bisbee. You cross an expansive valley, from which you can see Sierra Vista and into Mexico, then you enter a narrow mountain pass and come into Bisbee.

Bisbees' Historical District is the 'old town' section of Bisbee, and it rests at the bottom of a fairly narrow canyon.

The main street runs up the canyon for quite a ways, but most of the interesting scenery is in the lower canyon.

The Copper Queen Hotel is one of the area's preferred hotels, and a number of people we know recommended it.


We plan to stay there on our next visit, but we went for the 1950's look, and stayed at The Shady Dell Trailer Park.

The Shady Dell

The Shady Dell is a unique collection of travel trailers and house trailers from the 1950's.

These are arranged in interesting scenes, and are well maintained for the most part.

We stayed in an old 38' Chris Craft Yacht that was dry docked there, but I

promised myself and my wife we won't stay there again (at least on the Yacht).

Dot's diner is advertised as a great eatery there in the Shady Dell, but we never

saw it open while we were there. http://www.theshadydell.com/

We did take a 'Haunted Bisbee' walking tour the night we were there, and recommend it highly.

After the Haunted Bisbee tour we tried to sleep in the old Chris Craft Yacht, but about 2:30 in the morning we gave it up and headed back to Phoenix.



The roads were clear of traffic and fast running at that early morning, and we were back in Phoenix after three Hours and one Gas stop in Casa Grande.

If you ever get to Casa Grande, check out its namesake:


This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Arizona. This motorcycle route has 11 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by bdking in September. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by bdking

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 6 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 7 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 8 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 9 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 10 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 11 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 12 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 13 for Phoenix to Bisbee by the Old West Highway

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesUrban/ResidentialParksFall ColorsLakesMountainsRuralRiverDesertFarm LandPlains

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsHeavy TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

bdking says:

Great scenery - more of a destination trip.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

biskitdg says:

I really enjoyed the pictures for this route!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM






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