Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in Arizona
What better way to spend summers in Arizona than to explore its many scenic gems on the back of a motorcycle. With thousands of miles of highways and byways to explore, the only problem with packing a bag and taking off into the vivid Arizona sunrise is--where are the best places to go?
1. Sunset Point
View majestic mountains, thick forests, an extinct volcano and stunning red rock scenery when you take Highway 89 in Flagstaff, head west on Loop Road and ride about four miles to the park gate. The road quality is excellent, with a few twists and turns that eventually straighten out just before driving through the mountains. Be aware that there are no gas stations in the park so make sure you fill up before entering.
2. Cascabel Road to Redington Pass
Start this scenic drive in Benson on North Pomerene Road, which becomes North Cascabel Road after a few miles. Continue cruising for about 30 miles before turning left on North San Pedro River Road. You'll cross mountains and enter Tucson Valley, where oasis-like scenes, ranches, horses and impressive cacti make this an enjoyable, "feast-for-your-eyes" motorcycle jaunt.
3. Fountain Hills, Bartlett Lake
Providing a memorable blend of natural beauty, western culture and a spectacular aerial perspective of the East Valley, this 140 mile ride also offers a view of one of the world's tallest fountains and the neat experience of Greasewood Flat, an old stagecoach stop between Phoenix and Fort McDowell. However, the road leading into Greasewood Flat is packed, hard dirt for awhile so take care when driving it to avoid accidents.
4. Bagdad to Iron Springs
For the scenic rock lover, the Bagdad to Iron Springs ride offers a copper mining area rich in metamorphic and igneous rock formations emerging from underground volcanic activity. You'll eventually arrive at a cafe, a museum and beautiful cottonwood trees growing in a canyon located off Highway 10 (Springs Road).
5. Wickenburg, Prescott
This ride is nearly 300 miles long with Prescott being your destination after traversing curvy roads and possible experiencing significant changes in air temperatures. Motorcylists love taking this trip to get away from the scorching valley temperatures common during the summer. Stop in Prescott and walk through the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Palace at Whiskey Row, where you'll feel like you've stepped back in time to the Old West.
6. Old Arizona Highway 80
Although Gila Bend (your starting point) doesn't have much to offer other than food and gas, you'll eventually receive your reward--Gillespie Dam, marshland, lovely large tamarisks and ebony balsatic rock accumulated from old lava flows. Roads are fairly straight and traffic is minimal.
7. Payson, Mogollon Rim
This nearly 300-mile loop offers a nature-rich road ride of maintained forests and one-of-a-kind views from the brim of the Colorado Plateau. The Mogollon Rim provides riders with what may be the most far-reaching, remarkable vistas in Arizona bursting with the verdant green of the biggest Ponderosa pine woodlands growing in North America.
8. Tortilla Flat, Apache Trail
Forests dense with ferocactus and saguaro, deep indigo-blue lakes and the awe-inspiring view of Fish Creek Canyon await motorcycle riders who dare to drive the curvy road hanging alongside this canyon. While at the base of Superstition Mountain, check out the Goldfield Mining Town where Mammoth Mine once produced nearly four million dollars in gold in the late 1890s.
9. Lake Pleasant, Castle Hot Springs
Once you leave the Interstate (exit 103), you'll be pleasantly surprised to find hardly any traffic in addition to some of the most beautiful, rural Arizona landscapes. Be careful, though as the curves get a little tighter and road ascends into Vulture Mountains and ultimately, the Vulture Mine ghost town. Try rubbing the mine's ore and you might see a hint of gold glowing on your palm.
10. North Bush Highway to Saguaro Lake
Get away from it all with this sincerely, back-to-nature ride where wild life, rivers, cliffs, mountains and lakes are all you will see. In addition, you'll navigate some sweeping, sweet turns, dips and straight-aways that are fun for both beginners and advanced motorcyclists.