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Motorcycle Routes in Arizona
The stunning Grand Canyon State features just that, the Grand Canyon, along with a multitude of historic and scenic attractions including the red rocks of Sedona, the Old West fun of Tombstone, and the natural beauty of Petrified Forest National Park.
If you just hop a flight into Sky Harbor International Airport, you’ll be missing a lot. The best way to explore Arizona’s stark scenery may be on two wheels – so take notes on these motorcycle tours for northern, central, and southern Arizona.
Fan of national parks? You’ll get quite a few cancellation stamps along Arizona’s Northern National Parks Tour, including Grand Canyon National Park, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and Petrified Forest.
Looking for some adventure American West style? Find yourself roaring along AZ Highway 69 to Western towns like Prescott, Jerome, and Cottonwood. Explore the Gold King Mine Museum, the quaint cafés of Cottonwood, and the famed Palace Restaurant & Saloon along Whiskey Row.
For a combination of art scenes, parks, and Western history, ride through southern Arizona to motorcycle-friendly spots like Green Valley, Bisbee, and Benson. You’ll find reenactments at the O.K. Coral in Tombstone, shopping through the many vendor booths in Nogales, and explore underground Arizona at Kartchner Caverns State Park.
But before starting your Arizona adventure, keep these tips in mind:
1. Keep an eye out for road signs and Arizona wildlife.
2. Helmets are required for riders under 18 years old.
3. Consider the direction of the rising or setting sun before you hit the road.
4. Keep an emergency kit. You might not be able to get a signal.
5. Register with Best Western Ride Rewards.
Arizona’s Wild West Ride
We all know Arizona is a staple of the American West, yet anyone with – and also without – a motorcycle is encouraged to explore the many neighboring Old West towns of central Arizona. We’ll start in the capital city of Phoenix, and head north on the scenic Interstate 17 to some western adventure.
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Motorcycle Tours of Old West Town
Let I-17 lead you to AZ Highway 69 – which you’ll take northwest to your first stop of Prescott. Arizona’s initial capital city, Prescott, features a plethora of Old West attractions.
See the Sharlot Hall Museum and the famed Whiskey Row. Grab a seat at Jersey Lilly Saloon, explore the Prescott Museum & Trading Company, and try to grab the Wyatt Earp booth at the legendary Palace Restaurant & Saloon.
From Prescott, get back on Arizona Highway 89A and head approximately 35 miles toward the charming, mountain-top town of Jerome. Featuring a quaint collection of shops, restaurants, and galleries, the road to Jerome is a twisty adventure best experienced in the spring and summer.
After a visit to the Gold King Mine Museum & Old West Junkyard, head 10 miles further on the 89 to Cottonwood – home to more quirky cafes, boutiques, and eateries, plus the Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
It’s just a scenic, 20-mile up to the stunning red rocks of Sedona. One of northern Arizona’s most gorgeous areas, Sedona features unique sights like Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, and Chapel of the Holy Cross – plus Old West attractions like the Sedona Heritage Museum, and many a steakhouse or saloon. Enjoy a winding ride up to Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon, or just enjoy the scenic roads of the Coconino National Forest.
From Sedona, it’s a quick two-hour ride down I-17 to Phoenix and the end of your route, unless you plan to stop at Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse back in the Valley to extend your Wild West Ride.
Central Phoenix Activities
Welcome to central Phoenix, where business meets the arts and sciences. The epicenter of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the central valley features a bustling downtown, lively midtown, and more than enough museums, restaurants, and performance venues.
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Midtown to Downtown P-town
Visit the Heritage and Science Park for a tour of the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix, neighboring Rose & Crown and Pizzeria Bianco – Phoenix's famous pizza spot.
Sports fans, Chase Field and US Airways Center are also found in downtown Phoenix – home to MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. The first payday of the month features First Fridays along Roosevelt Row in the Arts District – set just north of downtown.
Many a museum is found in the Valley’s central area, including the Phoenix Art Museum, the Arizona State Capitol Museum, and the Heard Museum. Traveling with children? A must-see is the Phoenix Zoo – especially enjoyable during the holiday season for Zoo Lights.
And if you’re looking for a campus tour, head to Grand Canyon University for a peek at what the Antelopes are up to. More golf courses, Arizona Cactus League ballparks, and cultural centers are found throughout central Phoenix – so discover the Valley with the help of Best Western hotels.
Arizona’s Northern National Parks Tour
Ever wonder why people say Arizona is beautiful? See for yourself along the famed Mother Road – otherwise known as Historic Route 66 – with this biker-friendly trip from that famed hole-in-the-ground Grand Canyon National Park to the stunning Petrified Forest National Park.
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Ride from Grand Canyon to Petrified Forest
After you gazed marvelously at the southern rim of the iconic canyon, grab a gift from the Grand Canyon Village and fire up your motorcycle. You’ll be heading south through the Kalibab National Forest on AZ Route 64 for about 60 miles before reaching U.S. Route 66 and the picturesque town of Williams.
A northern Arizona town if ever there was one, Williams – also known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon – features plenty of quirky, small-town fun. Shop through the many boutiques set along the Mother Road, and check out the Williams original outdoor BBQ grill at Cruiser’s Route 66 Café. But don’t get too comfortable – Flagstaff is only 35 Mother Road-miles east.
Another national park-friendly city, Flagstaff is home to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument – along with the Lowell Observatory, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Northern Arizona University. Enjoy more boutique shops and local eateries along Historic Route 66.
From Flagstaff, enjoy the scenic, 60-mile ride east along Interstate 40 to more motorcycle-friendly towns like Winslow – yes, THE Winslow. Fans of The Eagles, don’t miss the photo-op of a lifetime at Standin' On The Corner Park – best followed by a quick trip to the awe-inspiring and very nearby Meteor Crater site.
Now we’re on the home stretch – so saddle up your ride and head east on I-40 about 35 miles till you reach Holbrook, and another 25 miles to the Petrified Forest. Stretch your legs while browsing through the Painted Desert Inn Museum, or the Painted Desert Community Complex Historic District – your last stop on the Northern Arizona National Park Ride.
Arizona’s Southern Sights Ride
Though you’re saddling a motorcycle instead of a horse, you’ll still get the full Old West adventure on this loop ride through southern Arizona. From the quirks of Old Tucson to the famed O.K. Coral of Tombstone, you’ll soon see how southern Arizona’s history, charm, and scenic desert landscape is hard matched.
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Motorcycle Tucson to Tombstone & Back
From Tucson, hop on Interstate 10 southward about 30 miles to Green Valley – a great example of small-town artsy Arizona. Explore the Tubac Arts District, or head further south to the shopping mecca that is Nogales. Find anything from local art and jewelry to homemade foods and spices in Nogales, but don’t weigh yourself down too much for the ride into Bisbee.
From Nogales, head east on Arizona highways 82, 90, and 80 for a little over 80 miles – a great tour of southern Arizona’s unique surroundings. Once in the historic mining town of Bisbee, however, get ready for tours of the Copper Queen Mine and the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum. Shop through historic downtown Bisbee, and maybe grab a snack for the trip into Tombstone.
Just 23 miles north on AZ-80, Tombstone – the “Town Too Tough to Die” – features famed stops like OK Coral, Boothill Graveyard, and Bird Cage Theater Museum. Be sure to catch the Tombstone Historama – not to be missed – and visit both the Crystal Palace Saloon and Big Nose Kate's Saloon before leaving Tombstone and the 1880s.
From Tombstone, head north 25 miles back to I-10 and the town of Benson. Once in Benson, make time for Gammons Gulch, and the stunning Kartchner Caverns State Park.
You’re heading west on I-10 for less than an hour before you’re back in Tucson. If you’ve got time, explore Old Tucson, ride around Saguaro National Park’s Cactus Forest Drive, or roar past architectural prides like the Pima County Courthouse and St. Augustine Cathedral – a great capper to Arizona’s Southern Sights Ride.