Distance: 85.6 miles • Elevation Change: Apache Junction 1706 ft.-Wickenburg 2056 ft.
This section of historic US Route 89 traverses the heart of the major metropolitan area of the Southwest. It was decommissioned as a Federal Highway in 1992. To follow the original route, drive west on Main Street through Mesa to Apache Boulevard in Tempe and around the curve at Arizona State University onto Mill Avenue. Cross the Mill Avenue Bridge and continue on Van Buren Street in Phoenix to its intersection with Grand Avenue. At Grand Avenue you return to US Route 60 and proceed northwest to Wickenburg.
Mesa Art Center: Located on Main Street, historic US Route 89, in downtown Mesa, the center is a unique and architecturally stunning facility for the performing and visual arts. With four theaters, five art galleries and fourteen art studios, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of live entertainment, art exhibits and art classes.
Tempe Town Lake: Stroll along the lake or pack a picnic: Tempe Town Lake invites visitors to enjoy nature in the middle of a vibrant city, just minutes away from Mill Ave. shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Also, located on the lake is the new Tempe Center for the Arts.
Phoenix Art Museum: The museum is a cornerstone of Phoenix’s art and cultural community, providing the people of Arizona with great art from around the world and amazing cultural experiences. Popular international exhibitions are shown alongside the Museum’s outstanding collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. Festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs are also presented on a regular basis.
Heard Museum: Dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, the Heard successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art. Partnerships with American Indian artists and tribal communities provide visitors with a distinctive perspective about the art and cultures of Native people, especially those from the Southwest.
Hassayampa River Preserve: For most its 100-mile course through the desert, the Hassayampa River flows only underground. Within the preserve near Wickenburg, the waters emerge, nurturing a lush cottonwood-willow forest and a thriving habitat for desert wildlife. Over 200 species of birds can be seen living, nesting or migrating here as well as many animals which are drawn to the water includeng mule deer, javelina, and bobcats.
Towns, Cities & Reservations:
A Stroll Through the Mesa Arts Center
Public Lands & Historic Places:
Tempe Town Lake
South Mountain Park
Arizona State Capital
White Tank Mountains Regional Park
Hassayampa River Preserve
White Tank Mountains
Aqua Fria River