Veronica Samuels

The journey from Phoenix to Bisbee is akin to peeling back the layers of Arizona’s storied past and vibrant present.

Embarking from the bustling heart of Phoenix, where the sun kisses the skyline with a fiery passion, our journey to Bisbee promises not just a change of scenery but a voyage through time and nature.

It is a journey from the sun-scorched streets of Phoenix to the intriguingly mysterious alleys of Bisbee.

Imagine swapping the relentless buzz of Phoenix for Bisbee’s whispering ghosts and technicolour dreams.

It’s a transformation that unfolds over highways and byways, with each turn offering a new chapter in your travel diary.

This is not your run-of-the-mill road trip; it’s a pilgrimage for the soul and a feast for the senses, served with a side of irreverence and a dash of daring.

So, pack your sense of adventure (and maybe a good pair of sunglasses) because we’re about to turn the dial to eleven on this road trip saga.


The distance from Phoenix to Bisbee can seem like a trek through the desert (because, well, it is), but it’s an adventure worth taking.

Depending on the route you choose, you’re looking at a journey of approximately 195 to 220 miles.

And trust me, the journey from Phoenix to Bisbee is packed with sights, sounds, and stops that turn a simple drive into a full-blown expedition.


I recommend renting a car as this is the best way to get from Phoenix to Bisbee, which means you can also squeeze in a quick and short road trip.

Phoenix to Bisbee by car means having your vehicle, which allows you to see everything this area offers also giving you the flexibility to stay as long as you like at each destination.

Scottsdale to Tombstone
Scottsdale to Tombstone

I like Discover Cars and believe me, as a frequent traveler regularly renting cars from them, I recommend them for easy and quick online booking.

Thanks to their long list of car rental companies, you can easily compare the car types and prices before picking. They also sometimes offer pick up as well.


Navigating from Phoenix to Bisbee is an experience that can vary depending on your sense of adventure, time constraints, and, let’s be honest, how much you’re willing to listen to your GPS argue with itself.

ROUTE 1 – via I-10 E – The Direct Path with a Twist of Desert Magic

Taking the I-10 E from Phoenix plunges you into a landscape that’s both stark and mesmerizing. 

This is your straight shot from Phoenix to Bisbee, cutting through the heart of Arizona. 

It’s the quickest route, taking you through Tucson.

Phoenix to Bisbee

The desert stretches like a sea of sand and cacti, punctuated by the distant, rugged mountains that whisper tales of the Old West.

Once, while cruising down this very route, I found myself enveloped in a sudden monsoon storm; it remains one of my most unforgettable experiences in the Copper State!

ROUTE 2 – via I-10 E and AZ-80 E – A Scenic Detour Through History

For scenic route enthusiasts, this path from Phoenix to Bisbee adds a bit more flavour to your trip.

After hitting Tucson, you’ll veer off onto AZ-80 E, guiding you through Tombstone.

It’s a detour that’s well worth the extra miles, offering a glimpse into the Wild West past of Arizona.

Opting for the route via AZ-80 E not only adds layers to your journey but also takes you closer to the bones of the earth, where the tales of miners, cowboys, and pioneers are etched into the landscape.

To follow this route, get on I-10 E from W Jefferson St for 2.5 miles.

Follow I-10 E to AZ-80 E/W 4th St in Benson. Take exit 303 from I-10 E, driving for about 156 miles.

Continue AZ-80 E to Tombstone Canyon in Bisbee.



The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the best stops you can enjoy en route to Bisbee from Phoenix.

Home to over 300 aircraft, you’ll love the museum if you love planes and history.

This museum, located in southern Tucson, is one of the world’s largest aviation museums.

Tucson to Bisbee directions

Among the most noted exhibits include the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, a massive four-engine bomber used during World War II and the Korean War. 

Check out the many unique displays at the museum, including space suits, equipment, vintage warbirds, elegant jets and also moon-landing memorabilia.


The Titan Missile Museum, also known as Air Force Facility Missile Site 8 or Titan II ICBM Site 571-7, is a former ICBM site located about 40 km south of Tucson, Arizona. 

It is one of the best stops to enjoy, especially if you are with kids, to introduce them to tech and Cold War-era history.

Phoenix to Bisbee drive time

This decommissioned site, now a National Historic Landmark, allows visitors to journey deep underground to the control room and see the massive Titan II missile still in its silo.

Join one of the guided tours of the missile silo to see the 103-foot Titan II missile as you learn about history, technology and weapons.

Check out the 35 feet underground to the missile control room on the tour, unchanged since the 1960s, including the control panels, switches, and even the chairs.

It’s a sobering experience highlighting the delicate balance of power during a tense period in global history.


Located southeast of Tucson, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a big park offering tours of a cave with unique rock formations & a butterfly garden.

This massive underground cave system was carved out of the surrounding limestone over millions of years.

Since the cave stays at a cool 70 degrees year-round, it’s the perfect refuge from Arizona’s sweltering heat.

Phoenix to Bisbee distance

The best way to explore this cave is via a guided tour where the guide will help you tackle the strenuous trek down the cave while you get to know interesting stuff about the geography.

Explore the incredible underground formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flow stone. 

If you are not into hiking, take a scenic drive through the park or camp under the stars if you want to stay overnight.


Among the best reserves to experience the wilderness of the Sonoran Desert is Picacho Peak State Park, which also offers some of the most incredible Tucson sunset views.

A short 40-minute drive from the Tucson area, you can plan an afternoon hike along the Sunset Vista trail, which takes you through the desert landscapes dotted with many cacti and wildflowers surrounded by rocky mountains. 

Scottsdale to Tombstone

The views start appearing once you reach the two prominent mountain crests. 

Enjoy splendid sunset views in Tucson between Picacho Peak and the smaller mountains painted with golden, pink, or purple skies forming a magical backdrop.


Another landmark in Tucson is the historic Mission San Xavier Del Bac.

One of the unusual places to enjoy a beautiful Tucson sunset is Mission San Xavier Del Bac, a 16th-century Spanish Catholic church which is considered one of the top landmarks of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.

sunset in Tucson

This oldest European structure in Arizona is also one of the best spots to enjoy beautiful Tucson sunset views from the top of Grotto hill.

You can watch the colourful skies forming a perfect backdrop against the Catalina Mountains and the surrounding Sonoran Desert panoramas.


If you love exploring outdoors on your trip to Arizona in winter, just an hour east of Tucson lies Kartchner Caverns State Park.

The caverns, north of San Pedro River, are home to some of the world’s most fascinating and unique limestone formations, including stalactites and stalagmites spanning 2.4 miles of passages.

things to do in Arizona in the winter

Take a guided tour through these caves to explore the distinct landscapes, including various wildlife, such as bats, owls, and ringtails. 

Bird watching is also a popular activity, and if you are up for it, I highly recommend checking out the caves at night and camping under the starry skies here!


No, it’s not a new indie band; it’s an open-pit copper mine that’s as much a part of Bisbee’s landscape as the historic buildings downtown.

The Lavender Pit was part of the massive Copper Queen Mine, run by the Phelps Dodge Corporation from 1879 to 1975. 

This massive open-pit copper mine just outside of Bisbee was constructed to compensate for revenues as the ore was reduced in the Copper Queen Mine.

The Lavender Pit was exploited in 50-foot-long shelves or benches blasted to a 60-foot depth.

The pit covers an area of 300 acres and is 900 feet deep, large enough to consume most of the adjacent town of Lowell. 

Phoenix to Bisbee road trip

Unfortunately, the pit closed in 1975 as copper prices dropped, and there was no demand.

Today, it is one of the popular things to do in Bisbee Az.

The pit is a testament to human engineering and environmental impact, offering a visual contrast to the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

A large pull-off and parking area leads to the Lavender Pit Mining Overlook.

You can observe the giant 300-acre hole in the ground from a series of platforms built along the pit’s rim.

They have fences up, for your safety. Head to the cutout areas of the fence and take some photos or videos.


Another 1880s boom town in southern Arizona, Benson is regarded as a living museum that showcases the history of the American Southwest. It is one of my favourite stops on Tucson to Bisbee drive.

Known for its railroad history, and a rustic filming location for many old-west and ghost-themed locations, Benson is worth a quick stop for including one of the offbeat old-west towns in Arizona.

Most people pass through Benson while accessing Kartchner Caverns, the magnificent huge underground caves, a popular tourist attraction. 

Az west towns

Still, I recommend also checking out Benson for a day as it has many things to offer.

Stop at the Benson Visitor Center for a quick introduction to the town, check out the famous Holy Trinity Monastery,.

Walk downtown to admire the historic buildings and taste delicious beer and food at one of the many restaurants and bars there.


One of the popular stops on your road trip from Phoenix to Bisbee is Tombstone.

Tombstone is a pretty town close to Bisbee in Cochise County and shares a common past of the Wild West and origins, with Tombstone also being discovered in the 1880s.

I recommend spending one or two days exploring this town, but if you are short

Tombstone, famously nicknamed the “town too tough to die,” was one of the leading silver mines during the era.

Within two years of establishment, Tombstone became one of the primarily populated towns.

It was home to more than a hundred saloons, over a dozen gambling halls, a bowling alley, many brothels, four churches, theatres, and large public office buildings. 

Phoenix to Bisbee drive

Tombstone was a haven for lawless gunslingers, smugglers, cowboys, miners, and immigrants.

It was abandoned in 1892 when the mines dried up.

Today, Tombstone is one of the most popular ghost towns in Arizona, receiving 400,000 tourists visiting each year.

RECOMMENDED – 35 Fantastic Things To Do In Tombstone, The Ghost Town In Arizona

Another thing that made Tombstone attract tourists happened after being the filming venue showcasing the infamous gunfight at O.K. Corral in the 1993 movie Tombstone

You can experience the old west architecture in Tombstone on one of the excellent guided tours.

Or hop on a horse-drawn wagon or stagecoach.

Or better, how about explore the town on this historic Tombstone Trolley bus?

Admire the old-time saloons, restaurants, and shops lining the old town area, especially around East Allen Street, lined with boutique gift shops and eateries. 

Theatre enthusiasts should visit Schieffelin Hall. You can also attend one of the underground mining tours.

Join mysterious tours to feel spooky at Boothill Cemetery

Check out the iconic Bird Cage Theatre on Allen Street, a raucous saloon littered with bullet holes thanks to the infamous fight, where they regularly reenact the gunfight.


If you want a unique stay experience on your trip, one of the fun things to do while traveling from Phoenix to Bisbee is staying at one of the heritage or historic hotels.

Among the famous ones is the Copper Queen Hotelan architectural gem and the longest continuously operated hotel in Arizona.

The Copper Queen Hotel is where you rest your head and test your ghost tolerance.

It’s said to be haunted, but in a charming, “let’s share a drink” way.

Opened in 1902, the Copper Queen Hotel is Bisbee’s crown jewel, offering guests a blend of historic charm and tales of the supernatural.

It’s the oldest continuously operating hotel in Arizona.

Phoenix to Bisbee

It is also one of the most haunted places in Arizona, so if you want an eerie experience, you may even get it.

Among the heritage places to stay in Bisbee AZ is Bisbee Grand Hotel known for its luxurious architecture, Old West style and antique decor in different-themed room.

Check out more details, reviews and deals to book your room at a heritage hotel here.


Once in Bisbee, the Mining & Historical Museum is your go-to for all things copper and more.

It’s a homage to the town’s mining heritage, minus the black lung.

One of the top attractions in Bisbee and the best place to know the town’s history is the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, a small local museum in the former headquarters of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company in downtown Bisbee. 

One of the first official Smithsonian Affiliates, the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum showcases the role in the industrialization of America. 

Phoenix to Bisbee

The museum’s permanent exhibit, “Bisbee: Urban Outpost on the Frontier,” gives you details of 40 years of Bisbee through artefacts, photographs, tools, and everyday objects.

The museum, with the help of the Smithsonian, also often organizes temporary exhibits combining art and history.

The museum is open from 10 AM to 4 PM daily. General admission is $10 per adult.


The 130-year-old town has its share of scary stories and the Historic Ghost tour is a trip to Bisbee’s famous haunted spots. 

Wrap up your trip with the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour.

It’s educational, slightly terrifying, and a perfect way to digest that hefty dinner from the Copper Queen.

One of the fun things to do in Bisbee AZ, you will learn all about the famous ghosts in town through Old Bisbee’s dark, narrow alleys, stairways, and houses. 

is Bisbee, az worth visiting

Tours start place almost every day at 7PM.

On this tour averaging around 1.5 hours, the guide will take you through the narrow lanes and dark valleys of the old Bisbee town, listening to some gory and dark, infamous incidents in the town’s history, including roaming spirits and murders.

Check out the reviews, prices and other details to book the tour here.

Bisbee After Dark


Half-Day Arizona Wine Country Tasting Tour – I highly recommend this day tour for all wine lovers. Taking a wine tour from Bisbee or Sierra Vista to Arizona’s picturesque wine country of Sonoita-Elgin makes a fantastic day. Read more details here to book.

Guided E-Bike Tour of Bisbee, Arizona (Rating – 🤩5/5, 30+ reviews) – Join a small group and ride around Old Bisbee to learn about the town’s history, art, and architecture with guides for 2 hours. Book here.

1-Hour Tour Old Bisbee City Cart (Rating – 🤩5/5, 40+ reviews) – This is an interactive 1-hour ride through Old Bisbee, highlighting the infamous and not-famous stories and sights that make Bisbee the charming beauty it is. Find more details here.

3 Hour Private Bisbee Pub Crawl(Rating – 🤩5/5, 10+ reviews)Find out more here to book.


Here are the best options if you wonder where to stay in Bisbee, AZ.

Letson Loft Hotel Letson Loft Hotel🏨 is one of the best hotels in the town. Rooms also offer a kitchenette with a fridge, a microwave and a toaster.

You can also enjoy activities in and around Bisbee, like hiking and cycling. Find more details to book here.

Eldorado Suites HotelEldorado Suites Hotel🏨 offers city views, this accommodation offers a balcony. The aparthotel provides rooms with air conditioning, free private parking and free WiFi.

The aparthotel provides guests with a terrace, mountain views, a seating area, cable flat-screen TV, a fully equipped kitchen with an oven and a microwave, and a private bathroom with bath and a hair dryer. Find more details here to book.

Hotel San Ramon Hotel San Ramon🏨 is a 3-star property situated in Bisbee.

Each accommodation at the 3-star hotel has city views and free WiFi. I highly recommend this for couples as it is one of the best reviewed hotels in the town. Check more details here.

Mile High Ranch 🏨 – Among the top places to stay is Mile High Ranch, ideal for couples and families. Check more details here.

✅ If you are looking for a motel, Jonquil Motel 🏨 is a great choice.


So, there you have it, folks! The journey from Phoenix to Bisbee is more than just a drive; it’s an adventure through Arizona’s heart.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *