Hualapai Mountains Back Country Byway

Hualapai Mountains Back Country Byway is located in western Arizona, near Kingman. The byway’s northern access is at the corner of Stockton Hill Road and Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman. The byway can also be accessed from the south off I-40 near Yucca.

Travelling from the northern access point, the byway is divided into four road type segments. The first segment is Hualapai Mountain Road, 13 miles of paved two-lane road suitable for passenger cars. The next segment of road is mostly one-lane with an unpaved surface that can be negotiated by passenger cars when the road is dry and free of ice. This segment is approximately four miles in length. The third segment is 21 miles of unpaved single-lane road that requires a high-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle. The final segment is 12 miles of unimproved two-lane dirt road that is suitable for passenger cars from Boriana Mine to its terminus at I-40. Hualapai Mountains Back Country Byway is 50 miles long. You may want to inquire locally about the current road conditions before traveling the byway.

Hualapai Mountains Back Country Byway crosses a diverse landscape, from the open Mojave Desert near Kingman, up through foothills covered in pinyon pine and juniper, to an oak and ponderosa pine forest. Travelers begin at an elevation of 3,500 feet and climb to 6,500 feet in the Hualapai Mountains. Descending from the crest, travelers are given breathtaking views of pinyon and juniper woodland extending into the desert vegetation below.

Wildlife observation opportunities are plentiful, as the area is home to more than 80 species of birds, including hawks, owls, whippoorwills, and hummingbirds. Mule deer and elk also inhabit the area and share the region with coyotes and bobcats, among other wildlife.

Recreation along the byway is in the form of hiking, backpacking, off-road vehicle pursuits, and camping. The very popular 2,320-acre Hualapai Mountain County Park offers emergency first aid, campgrounds, water, hiking trails, rental cabins, and picnicking facilities. A smaller, less developed recreation site is managed by the BLM, the Wild Cow Springs Campground. The recreation area is only partially developed but provides camping and restroom facilities, grills, fire pits, and picnic tables. No potable water is available. The campground has 20 RV and tent sites. There is an RV length limit of 20 feet. The campground is generally open May through October.

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Kaibab Plateau – North Rim Parkway

The Kaibab Plateau – North Rim Parkway is in north-central Arizona about 35 miles south of the Utah/Arizona border. The northern access is in Jacob Lake off US Alternate 89, about 30 miles southeast of Fredonia. The byway travels south to North Rim in Grand Canyon National Park.

The 44-mile route follows AZ 67, a paved, two-lane road suitable for all vehicles. The road ends in North Rim; you’ll need to retrace the route back to Jacob Lake. Due to heavy winter snow, the byway is usually closed from mid to late November through mid-May.

This scenic byway crosses the high-elevation plateau known as the Kaibab Plateau through dense forests of pine, fir, and aspen. Piute Indians call this high plateau “the mountain lying down” or “Kaibab.” The byway crosses the Kaibab National Forest and ends at the northern rim of the spectacular Grand Canyon National Park.

Recreation opportunities abound in the Kaibab National Forest. Those interested in hiking, backpacking, or horseback riding will have access to two wilderness areas. Saddle Mountain Wilderness lies to the west; Kanab Creek Wilderness to the southeast. Although the byway is closed during winter, the national forest remains open to winter sport enthusiasts. Snowpacked national forest roads provide excellent opportunities for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

There are three developed campgrounds along or near the byway: Jacob Lake, Indian Hollow, and Demotte. Jacob Lake Campground sits at an elevation of 7,900 feet and has 53 sites with tables, cooking grills, and water. Demotte Campground has 20 campsites; Indian Hollow has three. Camping is not restricted, however, to the developed camp-grounds. If you prefer solitude and privacy, you may camp nearly anywhere within the forest boundary. Some of the more popular and accessible primitive camping areas are shown on the map.

The diversity of wildlife inhabiting the region provides entertainment for the photographer, bird-watcher, and nature lover. Mule deer and wild turkey are among the many species of wildlife found in this part of Arizona.

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Parker Dam Road

Parker Dam Road is in southeast California and west-central Arizona on the banks of the Colorado River. On the California side, the byway travels between Earp and Parker Dam. Earp is on CA 62 about 50 miles north of Blythe. The Arizona side travels between Parker and Lake Havasu City. Lake Havasu City is approximately 60 miles south of Kingman.

The California side of the byway is the officially designated portion. As its name implies, the scenic drive follows Parker Dam Road, which is a two-lane paved road safe for travel by all types of vehicles. The Arizona side also follows a two-lane paved road, AZ 95. Both roads generally remain open year-round. Eleven miles of this 55-mile route is designated a Type I Back Country Byway.

Parker Dam Road follows the Colorado River through an area commonly referred to as the Parker Strip. It travels through the wide river valley with views of surrounding mountains. There are hiking trails along the byway that will take you into the mountains. Anglers will find bass, bluegill, and catfish in the river and Lake Havasu. There are two areas for those that enjoy off-road vehicle activities: Copper Basin Dunes and Crossroads.

A large number of public and privately owned campgrounds are situated along the byway. Facilities vary but most have hookups, drinking water, picnic areas, gasoline, food, marinas, and swimming areas. In some areas, golf courses are also available. On the Arizona side are two state parks: Buckskin Mountain and Lake Havasu. Both have developed campgrounds with hookups. Some campsites at both state parks are only accessible by boat.

On the Arizona side in Lake Havasu City is the famous bridge that once spanned the Thames River in London, England. The London Bridge, built in 1825, was put up for sale in 1967 after engineers discovered the structure was slowly sinking into the river and could no longer handle busy city traffic. Robert McCulloch purchased the bridge for over two million dollars, dismantled it block by block, and had it shipped to California. From there, it was trucked to its present location and reassembled over a three-year period. It now stretches across the water to Lake Havasu’s largest island. An English Tudor village is located on the east end of the bridge.

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Sky Island Scenic Byway

The Sky Island Scenic Byway is located in southern Arizona. The byway begins near the eastern city limits of Tucson and travels north to Summerhaven. Sky Island is reached from I-10 by following Grant Road east to the Catalina Highway.

Sky Island is 30 miles long and follows Catalina Highway through Coronado National Forest. Catalina Highway is also known as General Hitchcock Highway or Mount Lemmon Highway. The byway officially terminates near the village of Summerhaven. Catalina Highway is a two-lane paved road. It twists and turns as it climbs in elevation, with turns becoming more severe as elevation increases. The byway is usually open all year.

The Santa Catalina Mountains rise from the Sonoran desert at an elevation of 2,500 feet, to a mixed conifer forest above 9,000 feet. Travelers begin their journey in the Sonoran desert scrub, dotted with mesquite and palo verde trees in low lying areas and cacti braced upon the steep rocky mountain side and canyon walls. As you climb into the mountains, the desert gives way to oak and cypress trees. Farther into the mountains, you enter a forest of juniper, mixed conifers, and ponderosa pine. Portions of the forest are preserved in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.

Nearly three miles from the forest boundary, visitors reach the first vista point, Babat Duag, Tohono O’odham for “frog mountain.” From here you can gaze upon the Tucson Basin and the many mountain peaks that rise sharply above the desert floor. This vista point is popular with visitors in the evening that watch the sun set behind the Tucson Mountains.

Coronado National Forest has many developed recreation areas for camping and picnicking. The first campground you come to is Molino Basin, which has nearly 50 RV and tent sites. Hikers can access the Arizona Trail from this area. General Hitchcock campground is nestled in the oak woodlands of the upper reaches of Bear Canyon and has 13 tent sites. Rose Canyon is a popular recreation area with a 74-site campground and seven-acre lake that is stocked with trout. Molino Basin and Rose Canyon campgrounds have an RV length limit of 22 feet.

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Sylamore Scenic Byway

Sylamore scenic drive is 25 miles southeast of Mountain Home in north-central Arkansas. The byway begins in Calico Rock and travels south to Allison and then west to Blanchard Springs Caverns. It follows AR 5, AR 14, and FSR 1110 for a total of 26 miles. All the roads are two-lane paved roads suitable for all types of vehicles and are usually open year-round.

Sylamore scenic byway travels through a beautifully scenic portion of the Ozark National Forest, through a forest of oak and hickory with stands of shortleaf pine, and across rugged, rocky outcrops. Portions of the byway follow the banks of the White River, popular for canoeing and fishing.

Blanchard Springs Recreation Area is perhaps the main attraction of the byway. Within this recreation area are the Blanchard Springs Caverns. Cavern tours depart from the visitor center daily throughout the year except on some holidays. One guided tour is accessible to the handicapped.

Also found in the recreation area is a 32-site campground on the bank of North Sylamore Creek. Picnic tables, drinking water, restrooms, and a sanitary dump station are provided. The day use area has 32 picnic tables, restrooms, and a swimming area with bathhouses and showers. The North Sylamore Trail can be accessed in this area. During the summer months, evening programs about the many facets of the national forest are presented at the Shelter Cave Amphitheater.

Wildlife observers should be on the lookout for white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Birdwatchers can look for more than 150 species of birds, including bluejays, robins, cardinals, warblers, and finches. During the winter months, bald eagles can occasionally be seen soaring overhead.

The Leatherwood Wilderness lies to the west of the byway. This area offers seclusion in a hardwood forest setting. The area also provides opportunities for back country camping and hiking.

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