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Red Rock Scenic Byway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 14 miles / 22.5 km
  • Ride Time: < 1 hour
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $1.06
  • State: Arizona
Submitted by:
OpenRoadRider pro

At the beautiful Coconino National Forest, take a break from the ordinary and enjoy rugged rolling hills and washes covered with scrub oak, juniper, pinon pine, cacti, and yucca. At Dry Beaver Creek Bridge, you'll have your first glimpse of the spectacular red monoliths ahead, such as Courthouse Butte and Lee Mountain. The roadway gently curves through the high desert country, a colorful mosaic of red soil and green junipers. As you travel further down the road, you may see various wildlife such as deer, elk, coyotes, and quail on the ground, and flying high overhead are hawks and eagles. Two miles farther, hike up to where the elevation sign says 4,000 feet, and let your gaze sweep over the myriad of rock formations that make up the Byway.Scanning the horizon from west to east, you will see Castle Rock, which has the same iron ore that colors red rocks on Mars, and mystical Bell Rock, a longtime spot known for 'earth energy.' Going further, you'll see the mammoth Courthouse Butte, a popular spot for off road mountain biking. This vista has a fascinating history -- a 300 million year old story. Ancient Native Americans lived and hunted here for thousands of years, and people today continue to believe this land is sacred. 'We didn't inherit the earth; we are borrowing it from our children' is still the prevailing wisdom of this road and its surroundings.

Continuing north through the Village of Oak Creek, Castle Rock dominates the landscape on your left and Bell Rock on your right. With Wild Horse Mesa and House Mountain looming in the background, it's obvious how this area became a favorite site for filming westerns back in the 1940s and 50s. In just over a mile, the road re-enters the serenity of the Coconino National Forest, where the south end of the Bell Rock Vista Pathway is on the right. Bell Rock is a popular destination for mountain bikers and hikers alike.

The forest seems to hug the road, creating a sense of intimacy with nature, and the giant rock formations, often glowing in the sun, tower above both sides of the road. Near the end of this natural roller coaster, you'll climb a hill and see the north end of Bell Rock Vista Pathway, a wonderful place to stop and plan which trailhead you want to take. While hiking up the pathway, take out your camera to capture Cathedral Rock, one of the most photographed places in Arizona.

During snow or rain, the road can be slick in spots, but because of a year-round moderate climate, closures are rare or of short duration.

Some off-road, unpaved roads exist off the SR 179 corridor. The use of 4-wheel drive is advised in those areas.

The crisp, sunny air of fall is the best time to view the giant red rocks, clear blue skies and golden cottonwoods. It is also a favored season for hiking, biking, and golf.Information was obtained by permission from

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Arizona. This motorcycle route has 7 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Red Rock Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Red Rock Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Red Rock Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Red Rock Scenic Byway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Red Rock Scenic Byway

Ride Scenery:

Urban/ResidentialParksMountainsRuralRiverDesertFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmooth

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

bdking says:

This is one of the most remarkable areas in the country. It is difficult to describe the red rock cliffs until you've seen them.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

felon says:

Maybe it's because I live in Florida, but every time I get out this way I feel like I'm on a different planet! I love the colors that are here. And riding the naked/rocky type mountains are a treat, because you can see what's going on below or above you.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM


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