Things To Do In Clifton Arizona

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Here are our recommendations for Things To Do In Clifton Arizona; including dining, lodging, & local history. But first a brief slideshow.

Clifton Arizona: now mostly abandoned.
Clifton County Courthouse
Clifton Catholic Church
San Francisco River at Clifton
Clifton Jail
Old Clifton Jail Plaque
This little steam locomotive hauled ore from the local mines.
Clifton Arizona: big horn sheep grazing in city park.
Old # 21 Shovel
Clifton Old #21 Plaque
Clifton Train Depot
Phelps Dodge Guesthouse in Clifton
Morenci Mine
Morenci' Mining Operation
Morenci' Mine

Clifton Arizona: now mostly abandoned.

Clifton was a bustling copper mining town, but most of the mining now is done around Morenci' a few miles up the road.

Greenlee County Courthouse. Clifton is the Greenlee County Seat

Clifton Catholic Church

The San Francisco River runs through Clifton.

Old Clifton Jail: carved into the cliff, this was basically a dungeon.

Old Clifton Jail Plaque

This little steam locomotive hauled ore from the local mines.

Clifton Arizona: big horn sheep grazing in city park.

Old # 21 Shovel

Clifton Train Depot

Phelps Dodge Guesthouse in Clifton

The copper mining operation at Morenci' is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world.

Morenci' Mining Operation

The Morenci' mine is not a open pit like the Lavender Pit at Bisbee. Whole mountains have been consumed to feed the world's insatiable appetite for copper.

People still live around Clifton, but the downtown is mostly abandoned buildings now (2012). Some say the locals don’t want to do anything with the old downtown. Other say there is a more progressive group that wants to make it into something like Old Town Bisbee. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Coronado Trail

We followed Hwy 191 north from Duncan 28 miles to Clifton, then another 4 miles north to Morenci’. Hwy 191 is called the Coronado Trail because it’s more or less the route taken by Coronado and his conquistadors in their search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold … which, fortunately for the aborigines, they did not find.

We hear that north of Morenci’ the Coronado Trail (Hwy 191) is one of the best back roads in all of Arizona. If you get there before us, let us know what you think of it.

Other than to explore the abandoned old downtown and a few scattered artifacts, there isn’t much to do in Clifton except take photographs and say you’ve been there. But there is a reason to go to Clifton.

Clifton is the northern entrance to the Black Hills Back Country Byway, a delightful couple-hours drive through the rugged beauty of Greenlee County that takes you from Clifton to Soloman on Hwy 70 near Safford. In fact, before modern highways, this unpaved 21 mile scenic drive was the only road from Safford to the mines at Clifton.

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Black Hills Back Country Byway

Old Safford Bridge built with convict labor over the Gila River on what is now the scenic Black Hills Back Country Byway.

Other than to explore the abandoned old downtown and a few scattered artifacts, there isn’t much to do in Clifton except take photographs and say you’ve been there. But there is a reason to go to Clifton. Clifton is the northern entrance to the Black Hills Back Country Byway, a … Continue reading