US Route 89-The West
US Route 89 Road Trip Guide-Yarnell Hill

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Outstanding Scenic Drives Along US Route 89

Although all of US Route 89 could be considered as a scenic drive, here are five of the most outstanding destinations for your next road trip.

Pinal Pioneer Parkway, Arizona
Pinal Pioneer ParkwayFrom Oracle Junction north of Tucson to Florence, this 42-mile section of historic US 89 (now AZ 79) is known as the Pinal Pioneer Parkway. Crossing the high Sonoran desert, the road is lined with ancient many-armed saguaro cactus and forests of chain fruit cholla. Black Mountain dominates the view to the east and in the distance are the the Tortilla Mountains. To the south, the peaks of the Santa Catalina Mountains rise to over 9000 feet. While the drive is enjoyable in all seasons, summer temperatures can be quite hot. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water along. Spring and fall are the best times for this drive when wildflowers and cactuses are in bloom. At the mid-point of the drive is a memorial to the cowboy actor, Tom Mix, who died in a car crash nearby in 1940. Historically, the Pinal Pioneer Parkway was part of the main road linking Phoenix and Tucson, so driving the road today gives the motorist a small taste of what that journey was like before the era of Interstate highways.

 See the Nogales to Tucson Road Trip Guide for more points of interest on this section of US Route 89.

Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona
Oak Creek CanyonOak Creek flows south from the edge of the Colorado Plateau through Sedona to the Verde River. The 16-mile stretch of historic US 89A (now AZ 89A) from Sedona to the Oak Creek Vista Overlook takes the traveler through a wonderland of creek-side cottonwood and sycamore trees. Oak Creek has cut down through ancient layers of sandstone and limestone forming red and white cliffs that tower above the road. There are a number of parking areas and campgrounds that give access to the creek for hiking and picnicing. The switchbacks at the head of Oak Creek Canyon mark the transition from the lowland desert and the central mountains of Arizona on to the Colorado Plateau.

Because of the extreme popularity of this drive, the Coconino National Forest has instituted the Red Rock Pass Program. The fees collected from this program are used to maintain and improve the amenities along Oak Creek and for conservation work. If you are just driving through, no permit is required. If you want to stop anywhere in the canyon, you will need to get a pass either in Sedona or at Oak Creek Vista. The road is open year-round, but heavy snows in winter can create hazardous conditions.

See the 89A-Prescott to Flagstaff Road Trip Guide for more points of interest on this section of US Route 89.

Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, Utah
Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway

Logan Canyon is 40-mile stretch of US Route 89 between Logan in the Cache Valley and Garden City on the shore of Bear Lake. From the Wasatch-Cache National Forest boundary east of Logan, the road climbs steadily alongside the Logan River until it reaches the summit at the Bear Lake overlook. The forest-lined drive offers many places to stop for a picnic or to camp for an extended stay. The canyon is also renowned for its display of brightly colored fall foliage. The road is open year-round and recreational opportunities range from hiking and horseback riding to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. From the summit, US 89 drops quickly to the shore of Bear Lake.


 See the Brigham City to Montpelier Road Trip Guide for more points of interest on this section of US Route 89.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park

For 45 miles US Route 89 lies inside Grand Teton National Park. Ten overlooks and picnic areas line the highway, providing spectacular views of the jagged eastern face of the Teton Range. Each is a photographer’s delight, with the Snake River in the foreground in the southern stretch, and Jackson Lake reflecting the mountains in the north. Although the road is open year-round, the most colorful time to drive it is in the fall when the leaves are turning and the air is crisp and clear.




 See the Jackson to Gardiner Road Trip Guide for more points of interest on this section of US Route 89.

Kings Hill Scenic Byway, Montana
Kings Hill Scenic Byway

Passing through the Lewis and Clark National Forest, this 71-mile long section of US 89 winds its way along mountain streams through the Little Belt Mountains. Along the road are many outdoor recreation opportunities from fly fishing in the summer to snowmobiling in the winter. One of the highlights is a short hike to Memorial Falls located about a mile and a half south of the town of Neihart. Sluice Boxes State Park is near the northern end of the scenic byway. This primitive state park contains the remains of mines, a railroad and historic cabins lining Belt Creek through a beautiful canyon carved in limestone. A seven-mile long trail winds through the park giving access to its rich history and spectacular geologic features.


 See the White Sulphur Springs to Great Falls Road Trip Guide for more points of interest on this section of US Route 89.

Do you have a favorite scenic drive along US Route 89?

Tell your fellow travelers about it. Write a short description of an outstanding scenic section of US Route 89. Then using the link below, add it to this page. You can also upload photographs if you have them. Each person who contributes to this page will receive a free copy of the Adobe Acrobat (pdf} version of the Official US Route 89 Road Trip Map Book.

User Contributed Stories
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Title: Painted Desert Wonderland Along US Highway 89 in Northern Arizona
Colorful best describes the scenery seen along US Highway 89 between Cameron and Bitter Springs in northern Arizona. The brilliant and variable colors of the rocks here are what caused the naming of the world famous Painted Desert.
Created By: Wayne Ranney   Last Modified: 11/19/2009 9:44:09 AM
Wayne Ranney
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