“The desert is so huge, and the horizon so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.” – Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist
Whenever we hear that Arizona is underrated, we can’t help but think about how that sentiment is so severely understated.
Growing up in the desert did not grant automatic affinity for the quiet, limitless space that is the Sonoran. Why can’t we live in the mountains? We’d beg our parents. Why can’t we live on the lake? We want to be better at skiing, we’d antagonize them.
The colors of the Sonoran are so soft, that until you develop the appreciation for strength in the subtle, they fail to register on your radar with a prominence of beauty. Our naïve eyes were beholden to the big blues of water, rich greens of trees and stark charcoals of the Rockies. Brown was to be dismissed. Dirt? No, thank you. Soft pink? For a baby.
How much we had to learn.
Paolo Coelho tells us in The Alchemist that happiness can be found in a grain of sand from the desert. One grain. When you step foot outside of your car for the first time along one of the many routes through the Arizona’s promise of infinity, you become ethereal; your imagination and understanding of the world melt into eternal.
And the desert, unbeknownst to many, is only a fragment of the state’s topographic offerings. The Colorado Plateau extends over two-fifths of the north (these deep canyons are best known for the Grand Canyon). The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest absorb unimaginable color on sedimentary rock and sit low enough to allow your eyes to feast on the horizon into forever. The Mogollon Rim divides the north from the rest of the state, trickling into basins and mountain ranges and giving way to the Sonoran Desert.
But who are we to claim all this gigantic beauty for the state? Get out on the road, and consume it for yourself. Below are our favorite routes we’ve taken over the years. We hope you’ll take them and find as much joy in the desert as we have.
- Route 66
Twist through tumbleweeds and saguaros for nearly 200 miles into the Black Mountain. Make stops in tribal towns and kitschy, diner-prone cities.
- Hwy 89/89A
Travel back in time to the Old West, lingering moments in red-rock canyons all the way through Jerome and to Sedona. Of all the Arizona destinations, Sedona is one you cannot possibly miss.
- Apache Trail
Head north from Apache Junction toward the Superstition Mountains, a skyline you’d never expect to see in the desert. The rugged edges are contrasted by desert wildflowers ablaze on the ground in every direction.
- Monument Valley
Take the dusty road through the drive-stopping, jaw dropping scenery of Monument Valley. Step out of your car to feel- literally, feel- the compounding silence of the Navajo Reservation’s sprawling land.
- Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Rd
Right between the Mexican border and the Patagonia mountains lays Hwy 82 and your gateway into desert characterized by birds and wine. Take your time on the drive and stay on the road for sunrise and sunset. The colors outside your windows will prevail over any photo you’ve thought about taking.
Phoenix Towing Services is the most trusted, most reliable tow company in Phoenix. Whether you break down pulling out of your driveway or somewhere in the middle of the desert, we will be there for you. Keep our contact info on file and reach out to us for whatever you need. Our team is standing by, always.