The scenic drives in Arizona are some of the most beautiful in the country, including this trip on the back roads from Phoenix to Tucson, which is one of the most scenic routes in Arizona. The route bypasses Interstate 10 for smaller highways, desert vistas, hiking trails, the Gila River, and several small towns.
What Are the Back Roads from Phoenix to Tucson?
The backroads route between Phoenix and Tucson takes smaller two-lane highways for a slower scenic ride rather than a straight shot on I-10. Whereas I-10 takes less than two hours for the ride between the two cities, the six-lane interstate doesn’t offer much to look at and can become congested with cars and trucks.
The backroads route offers attractions, mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, and several smaller towns. The route features historical sites, state parks, national parks, hiking trails, and more.
The Route for the Ride on Arizona Back Roads
Your road trip starts when you take US-60 east out of Tucson until you reach Superior, AZ. Turn right onto AZ-177 (Ray Road) then drive 32 miles, passing through Ray, Kearny, and Hayden. In Winkelman, turn right onto Arizona 77 S. Follow AZ-77 S for 65 miles, passing through Dudleyville, Mammoth, and Oracle to Tucson.
Although the route averages about three hours riding straight through, these scenic roads offer several places to stop and stretch your legs on hiking trails, detour through towns to grab a bite to eat, visit historical sites, or take a museum tour and learn more about the local history.
What To Do in South Arizona When You Pull off the Road for a Rest
Starting on U.S. 60, if you’re in town in February or March, visit the Arizona Renaissance Festival in Gold Canyon for jousting, acrobatics, games, rides, shows, food, and more.
For bikers who enjoy hiking, Queen Valley offers Comet Peak at an elevation of 2,671 feet.
When you get to Superior, if you’re already feeling peckish or need to refuel after hiking, visit Porter’s Saloon & Grill or Silver King Smokehouse & Saloon.
If you got an early start, look for Mountainside Coffee inside Felicia’s Ice Cream Shop. They offer fresh-brewed coffee drinks and breakfast and lunch items like sandwiches, oatmeal, salads, and pastries.
Heading south on AZ-177, pull off at the Ray Mine Visitor’s Overlook for views of the mine and to see the trucks working in the distance. If you want a great place to hike on these scenic roads, detour to the East Florence-Kelvin Highway to check out the several trails near the Gila River, including the Arizona Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Pinal County Regional Trail.
After working up an appetite, stop in Kearny to visit G.J. Restaurant Bar & Grill, Buzzy’s Drive-In, or Old Time Pizza for a bite to eat. If you aren’t hungry yet, ride on until you reach Mammoth on AZ-77 to stop at Maria’s Café, Mi Pueblito, or La Casita.
When you get to Oracle, you have lots of options for dining and entertainment. One place you can’t miss is Biosphere 2 and the walking tours to see where the scientists who lived there performed their self-sustaining experiments to grow their own food.
When you get to Tucson, you’ll have everything you can expect to see in a large city, so don’t miss the smaller attractions off the beaten path on this road trip.
Contact Law Tigers if You Have a Motorcycle Injury in Arizona or Nationwide
Don’t miss these scenic routes in Arizona the next time you’re riding through. For help with a motorcycle legal case, call Law Tigers at 1-888-863-7216 for a free case evaluation, and never leave home without your free rider benefit card.