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Whether you are planning a road trip from Scottsdale to Tombstone or know the best ways to travel from Scottsdale to Tombstone, you are in the right place.
Many people arrive at Tombstone from Phoenix as it is the more convenient way.
Tombstone is one of the popular day trips from Phoenix.
I highly suggest doing this epic road trip from Scottsdale to Tombstone.
Not only is the route one of the most beautiful in the Copper State, but the journey is an adventure steeped in rich history and classic Western charm.
You will be treated to spectacular and diverse landscapes, fascinating attractions, historical sites and Arizona national monuments that tell the Wild West story.
Whether you want to plan a road trip from Scottsdale to Tombstone with your family or a short drive, I’ve got you covered with all the details you need to know to reach Scottsdale to Tombstone.
Below are all the options, including the best ways to travel from Scottsdale to Tombstone.
WHAT IS THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE?
Scottsdale to Tombstone distance is 189 miles, and if you are going to drive by car, it takes about 3 hours.
CAR RENTAL FOR TRAVELING FROM SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE
I recommend renting a car as this is the best way to get from Scottsdale to Tombstone, which means you can also squeeze in a quick and short road trip.
Having your vehicle allows you to see everything this area offers also giving you the flexibility to stay as long as you like at each destination.
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.
If you don’t have a car, I highly recommend this tour from Phoenix to Tombstone, perfect for conveniently exploring Tombstone with expert guides.
HOW TO TRAVEL FROM SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE?
Driving to Tombstone from Scottsdale, you can choose between two main routes.
Route 1: I-10 East (3 hours)
The most direct and quickest route between Scottsdale and Tombstone is via Interstate 10 East.
This 184-mile journey takes approximately 3 hours of driving time without any stops.
This is the shortest of the two routes from Scottsdale to Tombstone.
Along the way, you will pass through Tucson, another popular stop en route to Tombstone.
If you are stopping at Tuscon for a few hours or a day, I recommend visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, known for its exquisite collection of flora and fauna.
If you are keen on hikes and more trails to get closer glimpses of the rugged desert experiences, head to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, a beautiful and easily accessible spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
Below are more amazing stops you can make on your road trip.
CASA GRANDE RUINS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- Famous for – Ancient historic site
- Best time to visit – Spring
- Facilities – Visitor Center, picnic grounds, guided tours
- Managed by – National Park Service
- Entry – Free admission
One of the popular day trips from Phoenix and Tucson is a visit to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument northeast of Casa Grande, which preserves a group of Hohokam structures dating to the Classic Period.
This collection of ruins dating to the 14th century from an ancient farming community of Sonoran Desert Peoples.
It is one of the most sophisticated communities known for their wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections, is one of the top Arizona National Monuments to learn about the settlers in Arizona many hundred years ago.
Archaeologists have classified the ruins as a meeting place or a waypoint in complex irrigation systems.
But since little documentation has been discovered so far, the complete history of the ruins remains a mystery.
Other highlights are an informative visitor centre, where you can learn about the Hohokam culture, a collection of Sonoran Desert plants and a shady picnic area.
Route 2: US 60 E / I-10 E (3.5 hours)
The second option is a slightly longer driving route of US 60 East and I-10 East, which takes about 3.5 hours to complete.
This 221-mile scenic route allows you to experience a different aspect of Arizona’s landscape, as it takes you through the beautiful Superstition Mountains and charming small towns.
Highlights along this route include a stop at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, which boasts over 2,000 plant species from various desert climates, and if you have time, I recommend also stopping at historical mining towns like Globe and Miami.
Regardless of the driving route you choose, it is essential to plan and make time for rest stops and detours to truly enjoy the Arizona scenery and attractions on your Phoenix to Tombstone road trip.
MORE STOPS ON THE PHOENIX TO TOMBSTONE ROUTES
PICACHO PEAK STATE PARK
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.
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.
MISSION SAN XAVIER DEL BAC
- Distance from Tucson – 16 miles
- Driving duration – 21 minutes
- Parking – Available
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.
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.
EXPLORE THE STUNNING KARTCHNER CAVERNS
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.
Take a guided tour through these caves to explore the distinct landscapes, including various wildlife, such as bats, owls, and ringtails.
Birdwatching 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!
SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK
One of the popular day trips from Phoenix for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers is Saguaro National Park. One of the beautiful Arizona National Parks, this park is located 2-hours away from Phoenix.
It is also a popular weekend getaway from Tucson, much closer.
Saguaro National Park is home to vast forests of saguaro cacti, including America’s tallest and most iconic cactus species.
These large, majestic branching cacti reach heights of more than 40 feet, living over 250 years and dominating the landscapes creating stunning and rugged panoramas.
The majestic saguaro recognized worldwide as a symbol of the desert and an iconic image of the American Southwest, only appears naturally in the Sonoran Desert—which stretches across the southwestern United States on either side of Tucson.
Founded in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover, the Tucson and Rincon mountain ranges run through the park.
The sweeping valleys dotted with forests of spiny saguaro towering up to 15 meters in height make for a distinctive sight with their prickly pears and blooming buds, and sunset is one of the most beautiful and distinct as these vegetations form alluring silhouettes.
Saguaro National Park is divided into two segments, one on either side of Tucson, named the Rincon Mountain District east of Tucson and the Tucson Mountain Unit west of Tucson, covering over 54000 acres.
On the west side, in the Tucson Mountain District, which is smaller and more accessible, you’ll find the densest stands of saguaro and sweeping views from the Valley View Overlook Trail.
Many short hiking trails are ideal for beginners to explore the national park, including the unpaved Bajada Loop Drive driveway.
The Rincon Mountain District, on the east side, is more remote and includes a large mountainous region with summits over 8,000 feet.
Rincon Mountain also features the park’s famous Cactus Forest Loop drive and offers stunning sunset and sunrise views.
There are many trails in the park of different difficulty levels for hiking and biking, which will take you across its dazzling and dramatic landscapes.
Although Saguaro National Park is a hiker’s paradise all year round, avoid the midday sun in the summer.
One of the most popular times to visit Saguaro National Park is in late spring into early summer, the time of saguaro blooms with giant waxy white flowers, also an Arizona state symbol.
Hike the Hope Camp and Ridgeview Trails in spring for colourful wildflower displays and beautiful views.
Other Saguaro National Park attractions include Native American rock art and a 19th-century homestead. Check out the visitor centre for plant and animal exhibits.
The national park is home to roadrunners, coyotes, Gila monsters, and many types of snakes, which you should watch out for while hiking.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS ON ROUTE 2 FROM SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE
Located40 miles east of Phoenix, Goldfield is a beautiful hamlet and the gateway to the Superstition Mountains in the legendary Valley of the Sun.
Unlike some Arizona ghost towns, you will see that Goldfield is not abandoned but is well-preserved.
The Goldfield Ghost Town & Mine is one of the best day trips from Scottsdale you can plan, as it is only about 10 miles away.
Goldfield was founded in 1893 when gold was first discovered in the Superstition Mountains after prospectors struck gold here.
At the time of the founding of Goldfield, miners discovered massive amounts of gold worth at least three million dollars leading to a sudden frenzy and building of the town in a short span.
Goldfield colourfully expanded to include many saloons, brothels, offices, a hotel, a theatre, a general store, a schoolhouse, and a brewery.
However, this mega success did not long last.
BEST TOURS TO EXPLORE IN GOLDFIELD
✅(Best Combo Tour) Private Half-Day Apache Trail Tour with Pickup(5/5 20+ reviews🤩) – If you are in Scottsdale, join this private guide and hike through the Superstition Mountains, taking in the unique scenery and learning about the fauna and flora of the Sonoran Desert for 4 to 5 hours, also stopping at Goldfield. Check more details here.
✅Apache Trail Day Trip Including Dolly Steamboat(5/5 40+ reviews🤩) – Make the most of your trip by carving out time for this day tour of the Apache Trail from Phoenix. Travel down the trail, and stop at Tortilla Flat, the Superstition Mountains, and Goldfield Ghost Town. Check out more here.
Goldfield was one of the shortest-lived mining towns as the mines dried up, leading to people abandoning it only five years after its founding.
Note that Goldfield may not be to your liking if you are not into touristy towns, but it is worth checking out for all the many activities, historic buildings and family-friendly events.
Check out the famous museum, an old train steamer, mine tours, daily gunfight reenactments, the historic schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and old-style saloons alongside horses and wagons.
The historic town offers many old-west attractions where you can pan for gold.
Try the period costume with your kids. Try zipline to take in the bird’s-eye view of Goldfield.
WHERE TO STAY IN GOLDFIELD?
LOST DUTCHMAN STATE PARK
It is one of my favourite spots that I always stop by, if I am driving from Scottsdale to Tombstone.
About 40 minutes drive from Scottsdale will take you to Lost Dutchman State Park in the Sonoran Desert, which got its name after the fabled lost gold mine.
Whether the tales of the treasure are true or not, the real gem at Lost Dutchman Park is the magnificent sunrises over the Superstition Mountain ranges.
The state park offers spectacular views of morning light, bringing a glow of yellow, blue and red to the surrounding desert landscapes.
An icon of the East Valley in the Phoenix Area, it is a paradise for outdoor lovers. You can choose from the many trails that lead from the park into the Superstition Mountain Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest.
Some popular routes include:
- Flatiron via Siphon Draw(6.5 miles round trip/Moderate/Difficult)
- Massacre Falls Trail(5.5 miles out and back, which leads to Massacre Falls, one of the top waterfall hikes in Arizona)
- Prospector’s View Trail(3.5 miles round trip).
- Jacob’s Crosscut Trail(11.5 miles out and back trail) will take you through diverse vegetation and gorgeous views of 4 Peaks Wilderness, Camelback Mountain and other landmarks.
Stop along the trails to admire the saguaros, desert wildflowers and any local wildlife.
You can enjoy the vibrant spectacles of sunrise on one of these many hiking trails scattered across the park or from the comfort of your campsite or cabin.
Hues of pink, yellow, blue and red cast a beautiful glow over the mountain range adorning the Sonoran Desert with magical touches of the dawn.
Start your hike early enough to capture the gorgeous views painted across the sky at sunrise in Scottsdale and Phoenix. The parking lot is located at the entrance of Lost Dutchman State Park.
OTHER WAYS TO TRAVEL FROM SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE
If you want to avoid driving, there are other options to get between Scottsdale and the Old West, but they are not straightforward and also time-consuming.
There are no direct bus lines connecting Scottsdale and Tombstone.
There is one daily bus from Phoenix to Tombstone.
So you will have to head to Phoenix from Scottsdale if you want to take the bus.
Traveling by bus to Phoenix usually takes around 11 hours, although some buses might arrive slightly earlier or later than scheduled, depending on traffic conditions.
Another option is to board a bus from Scottsdale to Tucson, but again, you’d have to rent a car to arrive at Tombstone from there.
Tufesa Internacional Bus Lines is the operator running buses every day. The bus tickets per person start from $133.
RECOMMENDED TOURS TO ENJOY AT 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.
WHERE TO STAY IN TOMBSTONE?
Best B&Bs and cabins that I recommend for couples and families.
Katie’s Cozy Cabins – Located in historic Tombstone, this inn is 5 minutes’ walk from O.K. Corral and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. This self check-in property features a porch with a swing with each bungalow.
There is a fully equipped kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and a sofa bed in the living room of each accommodation at Katie’s Cozy Cabins. Find the reviews and book your details here.
Virgil’s Corner B & B – Virgil’s Corner B & B features air-conditioned accommodation in Tombstone. The bed and breakfast also offers free WiFi, free private parking and facilities for disabled guests. Find the details here to book.
Tombstone Bordello Bed & Breakfast – Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and hot tub, Tombstone Bordello Bed & Breakfast is set in Tombstone, Arizona, 33 km from Bisbee.
The rooms include a private bathroom and free fresh made breakfast every day. A pet-friendly room is available with a separate entrance. Find the details here.
SCOTTSDALE TO TOMBSTONE FAQS
How far is Tombstone from SCOTTSDALE and how long does it take to drive there?
The distance between Scottsdale and Tombstone is approximately 189 miles.
The estimated driving time without any stops or delays is around 3 hours and 25 minutes, although, it might take closer to 4 hours due to traffic and other factors.
What are some popular road trip stops between scottsdale and Tombstone?
- Desert Botanical Garden: Located in Phoenix, this 140-acre site features an extensive collection of desert plant life, including cacti, succulents, and wildflowers.
- Picacho Peak State Park: A great spot for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying Arizona’s natural beauty.
- Biosphere 2: An intriguing research facility with guided tours that showcase unique plant and animal habitats.
Is Tombstone Close To Tucson?
Yes, Tombstone is relatively close to Tucson, about 75 miles northwest of Tombstone.