Road from Portal to Cave Creek Canyon.

Road from Portal to Cave Creek Canyon.

Here you will find some of our recommended Southern Arizona back roads with links to more information. But first, there are a few things you might consider.
Southern Arizona back roads are generally scenic and most will also transport you back in history a hundred years or more. Many of our recommended back roads are paved. Some are not.
Our featured unpaved roads are usually passable in a standard sedan. However, they are usually washboards when dry, muddy, flooded, or otherwise impassable during and immediately after a rain.
Arizona has a ‘Stupid Motorist’ law. If you’re stupid enough to drive into a flooded wash (that is usually a dry or shallow stream bed), the authorities will pull you out, but you will pay for this very expensive service. I have assured the authorities that this website has no stupid motorists.

Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to check on road conditions before heading out. If you want to visit a museum, also check to see if they will be open.


  1. Start your tour with a full tank of gas and don’t let the tank get below 1/4. Sometimes it’s a long way between gas stations.
  2. Take your mobile device. Make sure the battery is charged and stays charged.
  3. In the back county, DO NOT rely on your navigation device. Take a real map, with back road details. I’ve been on unpaved roads where Google couldn’t find its hind end with two hands and a compass.
  4. Take water or juices and some snacks just in case.
  5. Tell a friend where you’re going and when you expect to return. If you’re running late, call that friend so they don’t panic and call ‘Search & Rescue’.

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