Thursday, October 8, 2015

usbackroads destination--Arizona HIghway 191, Clifton to Alpine

usbackroads destination-Arizona Highway 191, Clifton to Alpine

I was warned by a friend not to take this road since it was so "curvy".  If you search "Arizona Highway 191" you discover that it just might be the slowest state highway in the United States due to all the "curves"  The good news is NO TRAFFIC.

When I first started my professional career my boss described Alpine, Arizona as the end of the earth.  Be on notice that if you start from are traveling to the end of the earth at Alpine.

At Clifton you start out at the largest copper mine and reserves in the continental United States.  You actually do get to drive through the copper mine for almost an hour.  This copper mine will be one hell of a reclamation project once they are done mining the area.  I hope the company is setting aside money for the reclamation project.  There are several "scenic" viewpoints from which you can view the mining operations.  I am not sure "scenic overlook" is the correct term.  Maybe "interesting viewpoint" instead.

Note there are two tunnels with a  height restriction of twelve foot and seven inches.  Not that you would want to drive a large RV on this road.  We drove it in our brand new Casita trailer and it was fine.  Actually, a great test for the first trip in the Casita.

If you do the internet search you will find that Arizona 191 from Clifton to Alpine is one of the great motorcycle rides in the United States.  Our Garmin GPS showed the speed limit ranges from 20 mph to 30 mph.  That is accurate.  Some parts of the road do include a "pucker factor". It is a long way down if you depart the road by accident.

If you do not ride sure to take a camera along this route.  You will NOT be back.  So take all the pictures just in case you have a question in the future.

Most of the route passes through scrub forest, then a burned over Ponderosa Pine forest, and then finally a high alpine area..  I had visions of a mature Ponderosa Pine forest with widely spaced trees.  The stretch from Hannagan Meadow to Alpine is worth driving.  Take the scenic drive along the scenic byway from Alpine to Hannagan Meadows and save yourself lots of twists and turns.

We did not stop, but Hannagan Meadow Lodge has breakfast and lunch for the perfect turn around spot to head back to Alpine. We filled our diesel tank in Alpine.  Interesting spot, but with 8000 current population definitely not the end of the earth.

We did not stop in town, but maybe next time.  It does look like an interesting place to visit.

Instead we headed out of town to a Forest Service campground.  Alpine Divide four miles from Alpine.  Six or seven units.  A couple that were even level!!  The fee is $10/night at full price.  When we got there, no water, no garbage service and a tight sites. As noted in previous postings Forest Service campgrounds are priced well beyond fair market value!  No over the air TV service, but the internet was at three bars with Verizon and speeds of 13.36 Mbps downloads.  You can hear the highway noise, but that is what you get with a campground close to the highway so this is not a fair complaint. On October 8th we were the only people in the campground.

This is an interesting website that provides another perspective on the road:


niko the wolf said...

When did you get the Casita? Maybe I missed an earlier post.

Ed, in Benson said...

So, you're on your way. I have yet to try 191, but then I have an old 3.4L V6, not a powerful diesel.

Safe travels,
Ed, aka Dutchman

Vladimir Steblina said...

Ed, you don't need a diesel just lots and lots of patience. There is something about scrub forest on steep slopes for over a hundred miles!!

Vladimir Steblina said...


The Casita showed up on Oct. 3rd in Benson.

The Cameo while a wonderful 5th wheel was pretty much limiting us to paved roads. So the Casita is really a replacement for the old tent trailers.

I will post a review of the Casita in the future. For right now, I am really enjoying towing it with a one-ton diesel truck!! No blind spot.

Used Casita's are so expensive, that it was cheaper (in the long run) to buy new. You do have to order them and it takes a bit of time to build to order. In our case, the Casita was ready on September 3rd, but due to the fire situation in Wenatchee we did not leave until mid-September to drop off the Cameo and pick up the Casita.