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3 of the Most Scenic Drives in the State

3 of the Most Scenic Drives in the State

It’s hard to imagine a place more perfectly designed for road trips than Arizona.

It is a grand old state, the sixth largest in the union, covering nearly 114,000 square miles. Since most of Arizona’s population centers are in clustered groups, this leaves large swaths of scenic backcountry. It’s dotted with just the right number of small towns to add character and to keep travelers well fed and fed.

So here are three great road trips for 2022. They combine great scenery, delicious food, and plenty of recreational activities. Hit the road and experience Arizona with these old-fashioned scenic drives.

Continued:The best things to do in Arizona in 2022

Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Route

Pastoral meadows, vineyards, and hidden lakes are among the last things people expect to find in southern Arizona, just miles from the Mexican border. That’s what makes this trip so enjoyable.

The tall prairies and rolling plains surrounding Sonoita and Elgin are the birthplace of Arizona's wine industry.

The road begins in the desert, leaving Interstate 10 at exit 281 about 20 miles east of Tucson. Head south on State Route 83 amid cactus and mesquite scrub. After climbing through a rugged canyon, the road bends southeast to cross a virtual sea of ​​grass.

Dotted with oak trees and carved by stream channels, it is part of the vast Sonoita Plain. It’s a delightful expanse of hills that stretches across the horizon and seems to go on forever.

A road leads to the Sonoita Vineyards tasting room in Elgin, Arizona, July 30, 2017.

The grasses sway with the touch of every breeze. The mountains are jostled by this unexpected savannah. It is a land built for herds of bison. These are wide open spaces where the Wild West still lives and breathes. If God has a lawn, this is it.

For a glimpse into the past, stop at Empire Ranch, dating back to the 1870s. Visit the ranch headquarters or stroll through the cottonwoods that shade the wash house and try to guess how many movies have been filmed here. Hint: That’s a lot. https://www.empireranchfoundation.org.