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With its dramatic desert scenery, Arizona is the perfect place for road trips

This typical Arizona road with saguaros alongside it is near Tucson
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Arizona is one place where you won't be disappointed if you go looking for western scenery. The best way is to do what Americans do, and get in the car and take a road trip. Whether you plan one or let fate take you where it will, you're sure to have some adventures on the way.

 

The best-known road through Arizona is Route 66, which goes from New Mexico in the east through to California in the west. The most famous places along the road in Arizona are Flagstaff, Winona, and Kingman, all of which are mentioned in the Route 66 song, recorded by artists as diverse as Nat King Cole and The Rolling Stones. You could drive across Arizona in about five hours, but be warned that Route 66 is hard to follow as it's been superseded by the modern highway system. Part of the fun, though, is visiting those towns where the old-fashioned spirit of American towns still survives. Look for motels, diners, and gas stations with their bright neon signs, keeping the legend of Route 66 alive.

 

You'll find what's probably the most dramatic scenery in Arizona - outside of the Grand Canyon - if you take a road trip to Monument Valley in the north-east corner of the state. Here the vast sandstone buttes rise up to 1,000 ft (305m) high, where the Arizona desert starts to give way to the equally dramatic Canyonlands of Utah. The 5- or 6-hour drive from Phoenix to Monument Valley will take you through rocky desert scenery where you will want to keep stopping the car to take photographs.

 

Monument Valley is on Navajo land, but if you want to follow the route of another Native American tribe, drive the Apache Trail. This is an equally dramatic but very different route which follows the old stagecoach trail that runs from Apache Junction east of Phoenix into the Superstition Mountains. The Apache Indians also used this same route to make their way through the mountains, passing through the Tonto National Forest to Roosevelt Dam. A popular road trip then circles back around to Apache Junction via Miami, Arizona, and Florence.

 

To explore southern Arizona, take a road trip from Tucson out to the wild west town of Tombstone, on to the old mining town of Bisbee, and back through the Sierra Vista Arizona wine country, and the Coronado National Forest. You could divert slightly to see the Colossal Cave Mountain Park and the incredible Kartchner Caverns State Park. With these natural wonders, mountains, desert, wine country, and the old west, this is the best kind of Arizona road trip.

 

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