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This Underrated Scenic Road In Arizona Takes Travelers Through The Entire State

by Staff

Summary

  • US Route 191 in Arizona offers excitement, beauty, and quintessential desert charm in its 516.5-mile stretch.
  • The best time to drive Route 191 is in spring or fall due to milder temperatures and less extreme weather conditions.
  • Despite being Arizona’s longest highway, US Route 191 remains fairly vacant, providing peace and quiet, as well as more animal sightings.

As a spur of the much larger Route 91, US Route 191 through Arizona offers drivers excitement, beauty, and quintessential desert charm only a road here could. Spanning 516.5 miles from the U.S./Mexico border to the Utah state line, you can enjoy scenic vistas, hairpin turns, and endless miles of untouched, unbothered landscape here.

US Route 191 begins in Cochise County, Arizona, heading in a north-south direction through the Grand Canyon State. It typically takes a couple of days to explore the counties of Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, and Apache along the route. Arizona is jam-packed with scenic drives, as is the rest of the Southwest region.

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Although you’re not heading through many major hubs or attractions, the drive alone here is rather spectacular. US Route 191 boasts two designated tourist routes: the Tse’nikani Flat Mesa Rock Scenic Road plus the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway, so there’s always something to encounter. Regardless, your next road trip through the state should include Route 191, whether it’s a quick detour or the reason for your drive!

Where Is US Route 191 In Arizona? What Is There To See?

Catch a glimpse of red rocks, the Navajo Nation, and true Arizona beauty along Route 191


View of Navajo and Hopi Nation Reservations in Arizona
Shutterstock

View of Navajo and Hopi Nation Reservations in Arizona

Route 191 in Arizona begins near the Mexican border at SR 80 near Douglas in Cochise County, AZ, and spans roughly 516 miles through the state. This road is primarily switchback and hairpin turn driving, which makes it a bit more intimidating to people not used to those conditions.

However, the trip isn’t long, taking most people about two days to properly enjoy and navigate. That said, you could technically finish it in a day, depending on how fast you drive through it.

Sights worth seeing along US Route 191 include two designated scenic byways: the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway and the Tse’nikani Flat Mesa Rock Scenic Road. Among them, you’ll witness the White Mountains and Navajo Nation, respectively, highlighting things like the Mogollon Rim and red mesas.

  • Location: North-south U.S. Highway in eastern Arizona
  • Length: 516 miles
  • Things to see: Navajo Nation, the White Mountains, Mogollon Rim

Arizona has always been dreamy in its scenery and natural flora/fauna, which proves true along US Route 191.

When Is The Best Time To Drive US Route 191?

Milder temperatures make spring or fall the best time to drive Route 191


Cave in Navajo Nation monument
Shutterstock

Part of the Navajo National Monument, occupies a large cave.

Regarding the best time to enjoy Route 191 in Arizona, this would be spring or fall. Because the actual road can be winding and along cliffsides/rocky mountains, navigating through the 500+ miles during a snowstorm or in the heat of the brutal AZ summer may not be ideal.

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The desert climate is dry, even during spring showers, so you won’t likely be dealing with downpours or any other distractions during fall or spring. Summer, although sweltering, is sometimes when people come out to eastern Arizona, as it’s less crowded than some of the Phoenix-area or Grand Canyon-area towns and attractions.

If you choose to venture out here during that time (May through September), fill the tank before starting remote parts of the journey, stock up on snacks and water, and bring a phone charger.

  • Best time to drive: Between fall and spring
  • Worst time to drive: Winter

Despite Being The Longest Highway In Arizona, US Route 191 Remains Fairly Vacant

Arizona’s longest highway doesn’t receive much traffic


Driving on US Route 191 in Arizona, USA
Shutterstock

Driving on US Route 191 in Arizona, USA

One of the more interesting things that makes US Route 191 interesting is its story. As Arizona’s longest highway, this route should (in theory) be the most popular in the state. However, because it’s in eastern AZ, where tourists aren’t as common, the highway remains one of the lesser traveled.

This is one of the least driven federal highways in the US, which also makes it even more special to those who value peace and quiet. More animal sightings are here than on busy routes toward the north and center of the state, which also gives Route 191 an edge.

Another fun fact about this route is that it was called US Route 666 (Devil’s Highway), and its transformation into the Coronado Trail in 1993 was yet another rebrand. As of now, it’s good ol’ US Route 191. It’s quiet but worth a trip!

  • This route has had many names.
  • It’s one of the least-traveled federal highways in the United States.

This underrated route is worth a road trip next time you are in Arizona!

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