I know you’re supposed to get your kicks on Route 66. But in Arizona, it’s the 89A that hits all the best spots. Don’t think I’m knocking Route 66, because it’s fun too. But the 89A is my favorite! This blog details a 6 hour road trip (accounting for stops to eat and hike) that you’ll love.
You can pick up the 89A in Wickenburg. You just take the US 60 out of town, and hit the 93 through Wickenburg, and you’ll see the signs for the 89A. It’s not far from Phoenix at all. While you’re in Wickenburg, stop at the Tasty Freeze for a snack and check out this adorable little western town.
The next town you come to is Prescott. There are a lot of cute shops in Prescott, and an old car dealership with some really beautiful classic cars. Stop and check out the many coffee shops and boutiques.
Jerome will be your next stop. This little town was founded as an artist’s collective, and it’s still mostly art galleries and craft shops. In Jerome you will find paintings, jewelry, and leather work that is unique and fun. Some of the stuff has a western feel to it, but most of it is just neat stuff.
You’ll also see a lot of rocks for sale. Mining turned out to be a great source of revenue for Jerome. It has done some unfortunate things to the country side. But then, so much of Arizona has copper pits and strip mines that I am almost used to the colorful slag heaps left behind as a legacy to what is underground here in AZ.
I passed right through Cottonwood. I am sure you could stop, but I was eager to get on to Sedona. Something about those red rocks calls to me. The landscape in Sedona doesn’t even look like it belongs on this planet. It’s like some otherworldly scene you have to see to believe.
The shopping in Sedona is out of my price range. But if you like western art and you can afford it, Sedona has got what you’re looking for. In addition, there are the pink jeep tours, which give you a great view natures sculptures in red. The formations were formed from wind erosion over millions of years, but it only takes an hour to tour them and get an up-close look.
Leaving Sedona on the 89A you find yourself driving through Oak Creek Canyon. This is a wonderful place to stop and hike. If you’re there in the summer, you can check out slide rock, which is a natural water slide formed by the creek flowing over the sandstone. It’s a refreshing stop for a dip.
As you’re leaving Oak Creek Canyon and heading for Falgstaff, there is a senic outlook. You want to stop. It’s a nice view, and the Apache Tribe sells some great art there.
Last stop in Flagstaff. Part mountain town, part college town, Flagstaff reminds me of a low-key version of Telluride or Aspen. It’s classy, and funky, and a great place to end your drive and stay the night. (And if you have had enough driving after 6 hours on the 89A, don’t worry! Take the I-17 back to Phoenix and you’ll be there in two hours.)
While you’re in Flagg, check out the town with its interesting murals and neat little shops. And of course, there is great hiking! Try snowbowl for ferns, aspen trees, and beauty like nowhere else in Arizona.