Author Topic: Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff  (Read 3226 times)

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Offline mirasol20

Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff
« on: August 14, 2011, 10:10:50 pm »
Hi, I'm looking for any suggestions on a route from say, Payson to Flagstaff.  I've checked out AZ route 87 from Payson to Strawberry and beyond, which is by and large very narrow (the white line is the very edge of the asphalt) with constant high-speed traffic (semis, trucks with trailers, etc).  I know that Lake Mary Rd. from Clints Well to Flagstaff is nice, but geting to that point is the problem.

An alternative route is from Prescott to Flagstaff.  Unfortunately a lot of Arizona back country roads have no shoulder at all and a fair amount of local truck traffic and RV vacationers in a hurry, on weekdays and weekends.

The books on Arizona road rides seem to be out of date regarding road conditions and traffic.

Or do I have to consider maintained dirt/gravel roads?

Offline roadrunner

Re: Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 11:23:22 pm »
I rode from Flagstaff to Payson on the Lake Mary Road and AZ-87 about 6 years ago.  I don't recall the traffic being a problem.  Of course, I was going downhill on AZ-87.

Some alternative routes:
Payson to Flagstaff: From Payson, take AZ-260 northeast to the gravel road along the Mogollon Rim(General Crook Trail).  Ride that west about 20 miles to AZ-87, then go north to Lake Mary Road to Flagstaff.

Prescott to Flagstaff: Take AZ-89 north to Ash Fork (a nice scenic ride through Chino Valley and Hell Canyon).  Ride the I-40 shoulder 21 miles east to Exit 167 just east of Williams (you can miss 4 miles of I-40 by riding through Williams on Business I-40).  From Exit 167, ride old Route 66 roads to Flagstaff.  Route 66 websites give detailed directions and historical information on that section.  There were short stretches of gravel and rough pavement on old Route 66 roads, but a touring bike handled them fine.

Prescott to Wickenburg: The first part is not difficult-riding mountainous, wooded terrain, changing to open areas around Peoples Valley.  A long, screaming downgrade south of Yarnell to the desert. 

Wickenburg to Gila Bend: Continue the above route by taking the Vulture Mine Road south out of Wickenburg (some maps incorrectly show it as unpaved).  It's a beautiful Senora Desert route with virtually no traffic (and no services or anything else) to I-10.  Especially nice in the early spring when everything is booming.  Cross I-10, go through Wintersburg to Old Highway 87, going through Arlington.  That's another very low-traffic, paved road.  Due to summer heat, I'd skip this route in the summer.

Offline MrBent

Re: Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2011, 02:37:49 pm »
Good advice, Roadrunner!  The Magollon Rim Rd. is wonderful---but some work, for sure.


Offline JHamelman

Re: Safe routes from central Arizona to Flagstaff
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 08:16:11 am »
You might also want to check out the maps produced by the Arizona Bicycle and Pedestrian program:


Jennifer Hamelman

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes