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AZ Rider: Arizona’s Great Motorcycle Tours

Rumble down the open road on these five drives perfectly suited for two wheels.


By Chris Becker

Arizona just might be the most motorcycle-friendly state in the Union, thanks to our 300-plus days of sunshine and miles and miles of pristine asphalt ribbons. Whether you plan a route yourself or opt for guided motorcycle tours, these five Arizona road trips are about as good as it gets.

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Traveling the Mother Road – Route 66 Road Trip


Historic Route 66 runs all the way through Arizona, east to west. Since most modern maps don’t offer a detailed turn-by-turn guide to the Mother Road, find yourself a Route 66 planner like the Route 66 Adventure Handbook by Drew Knowles.

Lupton to Holbrook

Begin your Route 66 motorcycle tour at the Painted Cliffs Welcome Center in Lupton, on Arizona’s eastern border.

Heading west, between the towns of Navajo and Holbrook, you’ll pass 200-million-year-old fossils in Petrified Forest National Park, as well as the striped desert vistas of Arizona’s postcard-perfect Painted Desert.

Holbrook to Winslow

From the celebrated La Posada hotel to the Standin’ on the Corner Park, the little town of Winslow is worth a day’s visit. Hit Clear Creek Reservoir and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on the way out.

Winslow to Flagstaff

Meteor City, Meteor Crater and Canyon Padre Bridge are points worth exploring on the stretch from Winslow to Flagstaff, the final stop on this drive.

Flagstaff, known as the “City of Seven Wonders,” lies within a short drive of a number of other amazing destinations, including the beautiful San Francisco Peaks, Oak Creek Canyon and Sunset Crater National Monument.

Into the Mountains – Phoenix to Show Low


Phoenix to Globe

From Greater Phoenix, take a ride on US 60 east toward Mesa, then Globe, where you’ll feel the freedom of the highway opening up. Visit Globe’s Drift Inn for the best Bloody Marys in town.

Globe to the White Mountains

Put on your leathers, because the weather gets cooler as the switchback road starts to twist through Salt River Canyon.

Pinetop and Show Low, nestled in the White Mountains of Arizona, offer outdoor entertainment and cool local history, good for a day’s visit or a full week’s.

Red Rock Ride – Sedona Tour via Oak Creek


Flagstaff to Sedona
Scenery is the draw on this ride along AZ Highway 89A – red rock and painted-desert views, along with Slide Rock State Park’s natural waterslides. The road can get busy on the weekends, so take it easy and soak in the sights.

If you are up for a bit more time on the bike before heading back to Flagstaff, journey to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, an architectural marvel built into the gorgeous red mountains.

Return to Flagstaff

The trip back up and around to Flagstaff offers similar views, just from a different viewpoint. Be sure to stop for pictures!

Once back in town, pull up a stool at Beaver Street Brewery for a pint of craft beer. Try the rich R&R Oatmeal Stout or the popular Big Rapid Red.

Gunfights, Fighter Jets & More – A Ride through Tucson


Tucson to Old Tucson Studios
From Tucson, head west to arrive back in the Old West at the movie-making landmark, Old Tucson Studios.

The ride out along Gates Pass Road will take you across rolling hills teeming with native wildlife. And once you arrive, you’ll experience gunfight reenactments while reliving the Hollywood Western’s glorious past.

Pima Air & Space Museum to Mount Lemmon

Return through Tucson and head southeast to tour (by foot) the Pima Air & Space Museum, the largest privately funded aviation museum in the US. More than 300 aircraft and space vessels from around the world rest here.

Then hit the road once more for a trip north into the Santa Catalina Mountains. Enjoy the cool climb up 6,000-plus feet in elevation along the Catalina Highway to the top of Mt. Lemmon, home of the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter and (surprisingly) Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley.

Mount Lemmon to Saguaro National Park
If you still have daylight left, cruise down the mountain to Saguaro National Park. Check out this protected home of the Southwest’s most majestic plant life and ride the Cactus Forest Drive, a paved loop ideal for motorcycle views.

Small-Town Hop – Cruising Wickenburg to Jerome


Wickenburg to Prescott

Start out in Wickenburg, which provides Western-themed entertainment and history galore. Head north along AZ Highway 89 through Prescott National Forest to Prescott itself, where highlights include Whiskey Row in downtown and the Sharlot Hall Museum.

Prescott to Jerome
Continue east on AZ Highway 89A to legendary Jerome, the self-proclaimed “Largest Ghost Town in America.” Learn about the disastrous fires of the 1890s, part of the strange history that helped shape this little town.

Back to Wickenburg

Your return trip can run two routes: down the faster-moving but less scenic Interstate 17 through Clarkdale, or back through the switchbacks, elevation changes and stunning views along AZ Highway 89A.


Going?


Flagstaff Visitor Center

Phone: (928) 774-9541
www.flagstaffarizona.org

Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce

Phone: (928) 425-4495
www.globemiamichamber.com

Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau

Phone: (877) 225-5749
www.visitphoenix.com

Historic Route 66 Association of America

Phone: (928) 753-5001
www.azrt66.com

Jerome Chamber of Commerce

Phone: (928) 634-2900
www.jeromechamber.com

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau

Phone: (520) 624-1817
www.visittucson.org

Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (928) 367-4290
www.pinetoplakesidechamber.com

Prescott Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (928) 445-2000
www.prescott.org

Sedona Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (928) 282-7722
www.sedonachamber.com

Show Low Chamber of Commerce

Phone: (928) 537-2326
www.showlowchamberofcommerce.com

Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (928) 684-5479
www.wickenburgchamber.com

Winslow Chamber of Commerce

Phone: (928) 289-2434
www.winslowarizona.org

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