Scenic Drive: Arizona Hot Spots
See the Grand Canyon State’s finest in 362 miles.
Experience the unique environment of the Sonoran Desert in Saguaro National Park, a cactus-studded preserve with hiking trails and interpretive exhibits. Be sure to spend time at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to enjoy the zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, art gallery and aquarium all under one roof. No visit to Tucson is complete without seeing one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens at the Tohono Chul Park. Tucson is also renowned for is restaurants and lively downtown. Just to the south, Cochise County offers even more hiking opportunities in Arizona’s Sky Islands. These mountain ranges on national forests allow the hiker to go from desert to alpine environments. For a different sort of adventure go 1,500 feet deep into the Queen Mine Tour in Bisbee, AZ. You’ll be outfitted with a hard hat, miner’s headlamp and descend and learn everything from the mines history to mining techniques used in the day. While you’re enjoying Cochise County be sure to stop by Tombstone to see a reenactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral.
Tucson to Sedona: 229 miles
From Tucson, drive northwest on I-10 to Phoenix. Stop for a few hours to enjoy the MIM – Musical Instrument Museum, which opened in 2010. Stroll along the first floor with instruments from around the world. Then venture to the second floor, where guests are brought face to face with a jazz ensemble, mariachi band or Chinese opera and much more! Merge onto I-17 in Phoenix and continue north on I-17 to Sedona. Sedona is an ideal base for mountain biking, jeep touring and hiking among the red rocks. After your outdoor adventure, visit Sedona’s famous art galleries,
spiritual shops, and bookstores.
Spend the day on the Verde Canyon Railroad riding a restored vintage locomotive through the remote Verde River wilderness where you are likely to see numerous wildlife species, including bald eagles and great blue herons. While you’re in the area also stop by the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, visitors can expect to see Armadillo, Black Bear, Bobcat, Camel, Coatimundi, Emu, Giraffe, Hyena, Jaguar, Lemur, Lion, Sloth, Tigers, Wolf, Zebra and hundreds of birds.
Sedona to Grand Canyon: 133 miles
From Sedona/Verde Valley, drive north from 1-17 on US 89A through scenic Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. Stop at the Grand Canyon Store in Flagstaff to get tour, river trip, and other visitor info about Grand Canyon. Spend the night and enjoy historic downtown and an evening at the Lowell Planetarium where visitors can use the Alvan Clark Telescope to enjoy Flagstaff’s dark skies.
Flagstaff to Grand Canyon
Continue (93 miles) to the park. From Flagstaff, take US 180 west to US 180/AZ 64 and drive north to Grand Canyon South Rim entrance. (Be sure to stop by the Grand Canyon Visitor Center IMAX Theatre.)
End: Grand Canyon