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5 Best Motorcycle Rides in Central Arizona

Bike Ride to Wickenburg and Prescott


Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott

Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott

© Judy Hedding

The Wickenburg/Prescott ride is the second of the five best motorcycle rides from the Phoenix area.

Wickenburg, Prescott

You can get a taste of the history and the twisty tarmacs of Arizona through this 274 mile day ride. For the more ambitious riders there is an extended version, which stretches over 330 miles. The destination, the City of Prescott, lies at 5,400 feet, so be prepared for curvy roads and significant temperature change. During the summer this ride provides a great escape from the high valley temperatures, while during the winter, this route might remind you of those chilly northern rides.

Wickenburg fills an illustrious chapter in the history of Arizona and the West. Though only 54 miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern Phoenix, Arizona's most western community hearkens back to a different time and place. Don’t miss stopping at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. If you want to stretch your legs, pick up a self-guided ‘Historical Walking Tour’ brochure at the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, right behind the old railway station, and take a walk. An additional 42-mile side trip has you visiting the world’s largest collection of antique mining equipment at Robson's Arizona Mining World. Climbing Yarnell Hill will be a feast for riders and bikes alike, but please don’t let the racing spirit overtake your command of the broad sweepers. Some of them are off-camber and you’ll also encounter a few decreasing radius turns. Arriving to the top of the hill you can reward yourselves at the Buford's Buzzard's Roost Café, a popular biker stop in Yarnell.

The Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott is a must if you are more interested in the history of the region, while The Palace on the Whiskey Row gives you an instant feel of the Old West as the patrons saw it through the window of the saloons.

The shorter ride is to backtrack on the same road, but don’t worry about getting bored, descending from Prescott provides a completely different view. You’d hardly recognize that you are riding on the same road.

The extended ride takes a loop around northwestern Prescott and reconnects Hwy 93, aka Joshua Forest Parkway, forty-three miles northeast of Wickenburg. The ride is winding and scenic but facilities are scarce. Make sure that you fill up in Prescott.

Virgil Earp was a resident of Kirkland from 1898 through 1902. If you wonder what life was like in this area, check out the former Kirkland Store and Hotel, now known as the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse. As the legend goes, the face of a murdered lady of pleasure resurfaced on a wall in the building. If you have good eyes you’ll find it yourselves. Look around the back of the restaurant!

Motorcycle Ride From Phoenix #1: Fountain Hills, Bartlett Lake
Motorcycle Ride From Phoenix #2: Wickenburg, Prescott
Motorcycle Ride From Phoenix #3: Payson, Mogollon Rim
Motorcycle Ride From Phoenix #4: Tortilla Flat, Apache Trail
Motorcycle Ride From Phoenix #5: Lake Pleasant, Castle Hot Springs

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