Wondering about the best ways to get from Scottsdale to Tombstone? Not sure what there is to see along the way? Look no further, as we are covering the best routes and where you should stretch your legs!
There’s something undeniably magical about the wide-open skies, the crimson sunsets, and the vibrant cultures spanning the Southwest of the United States.
As seasoned travelers of the area, we’ve navigated the breadth and width of this beautiful landscape.
We’ve spent winter months immersed in the living history of Tombstone, Arizona, and have traversed the path from Scottsdale to Tombstone on at least one occasion.
We understand the thrill of the journey, the anticipation that builds with each mile you cover, and the joys of seeing new sights around each bend.
As you plan your drive to Tombstone from Scottsdale, know we are with you at each turn. We will be your trusty guides on this unforgettable adventure, providing insight from personal experience around the area.
Buckle up, fellow traveler, for a journey steeped in history, nature, and the rugged charm of the Southwest awaits!
Distance From Scottsdale To Tombstone
If you take the most direct route between Scottdale and Tombstone, it is 190 miles.
Without any stops along the way, it will take you shy of 3 hours to arrive in Tombstone. Not bad, right?
Optional Routes When Driving To Tombstone From Scottsdale
Driving to Tombstone from Scottsdale, you can choose between two main routes that merge part-way through the journey.
Route 1 – I-10 East (3 Hrs)
Option one is the shortest and fastest route.
Route 2 – US-60 E / Superstition Hwy / I-10 E (3.5 Hrs)
Option two is only 30 minutes longer, so it is really your personal preference. The deciding factor will be if there is something you want to stop and see along this route that we discuss below.
Best Road Trip Stops To Make When Traveling From Scottsdale, Az, To Tombstone, Az
If you want to make a day of it, there are some great stops along the way, no matter your driving path.
Of course, you won’t be able to see it all unless you give yourself a few days for the journey. But we think you should be able to add in one or two stops and still arrive in the late afternoon/early evening at Tombstone.
📎 Tip: If you are heading to Tombstone and don’t mind driving a bit further, Bisbee is another fantastic small town worth a visit.
Along Route 1 (1-10 East)
Let’s start with the fastest route.
1. Picacho Peak State Park
Location: Picacho, Az
Picacho Peak State Park is an outdoor playground of stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes.
Most people stop to do a bit of hiking, and you can hike to the summit of Picacho Peak. The park features two trails that wind up the peak, offering spectacular views of the surrounding desert and mountain ranges.
At the top of Picacho Peak is a picturesque vista with sweeping panoramic views of the area’s rugged terrain.
The park also offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities for those interested—with raptors, including hawks and vultures soaring around the peak and desert animals, such as coyotes, lizards, and javelinas, roaming the park grounds.
Picacho Peak State Park is an unforgettable destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
2. Biosphere 2
Location: Oracle, Az
Biosphere 2 is a fascinating and one-of-a-kind place to visit.
The facility was originally built to study whether humans could live in a contained ecosystem, representing Earth, but in the confines of outer space. Two different experiments in the 1990s focused on the effects of human habitation on diverse ecosystems.
Today, you can tour the Biosphere 2 facility and learn about its history and what is currently being studied there.
Some of the tour’s highlights include walking through the rainforest, desert, and ocean biomes and touring the facility’s laboratories and control rooms.
Biosphere 2 is an integral part of Arizona’s history, and it is well worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about our planet and its ecosystems.
Plus, if you are a child of the 80s like us, you should remember a silly movie called Biodome with Pauly Shore. We aren’t sure if any of the movie was filmed on location, but it was definitely based on Biosphere 2.
3. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Location: Tucson, Az
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a fantastic place to explore the natural wonders of the Sonoran Desert.
Located in Tucson, Arizona, the museum is a 98-acre park filled with plants, animals, and interactive exhibits showing off the desert’s beauty and diversity.
The museum features a variety of plants ranging from colorful cacti to desert grasslands and wildlife like mountain lions, bobcats, prairie dogs, and birds of prey.
You can wander through the exhibits on a self-guided tour or partake in interactive activities such as guided hikes and bird-watching walks.
With its diverse landscape, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-see for those who want to learn about the Sonoran Desert and its animals.
4. Saguaro National Park (West)
Location: Tucson, Az
Saguaro National Park is an excellent choice for those who enjoy visiting our national parks.
Not only is it close to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum so that you can visit both simultaneously, but it feels like an extension of what you experienced at the museum.
The park preserves the Sonoran Desert, where you can explore plant and animal life typically found in the region.
It offers numerous hiking trails with breathtaking views of cacti-covered mountains and valleys. You can also take in the majestic views from one of its scenic overlooks.
If you are short on time, rather than hike, you can do the Scenic Bajada Loop Drive. We found this drive to be not only beautiful but a perfect place to take it slow and look for some wildlife.
5. San Xavier Del Bac Mission
Location: Tucson, Az
San Xavier del Bac Mission is an impressive Spanish Catholic mission in southern Arizona.
The mission was founded in 1692 and is the oldest intact European structure in the region, built between 1783 and 1797. It has survived centuries of invasions and cultural shifts.
During your visit, you can learn about the history of this unique site and admire its beautiful stucco architecture. The mission also features a variety of artworks and religious artifacts, giving you a glimpse into the spiritual culture of its past inhabitants.
The mission is still used for church services and is a national historic landmark.
6. Pima Air & Space Museum
Location: Tucson, Az
The Pima Air and Space Museum is the world’s largest privately funded air museum.
The museum houses over 300 aircraft from around the globe and displays numerous artifacts related to aviation history. You can explore the vast collection of planes on display and learn about their historical significance.
With its impressive collection and fascinating stories, the Pima Air and Space Museum is an unforgettable destination for plane enthusiasts and history buffs.
📎 Note: Unfortunately, the museum used to offer bus tours to the nearby air base graveyard, which are no longer available. Let’s hope they reinstate that in the future!
7. Kartchner Caverns State Park
Location: Benson, Az
Kartchner Caverns State Park is a stunning natural landmark with a unique underground cave system.
The limestone cave is filled with crystal-covered formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, and flowing draperies. You can take guided tours of the cave to experience its beauty and discover the area’s geologic history.
There are two options for your tour. You can pick the “throne room” or the “big room.” Either choice will provide you with an excellent cave experience.
Above ground, the park offers activities, including hiking and bird-watching.
📎 Tip: It is highly recommended you get reservations for the cave tour if you want to do this activity along the route, as they only keep a handful of tickets each day for walk-ups.
Along Route 2 (US-60 East)
If you choose this route, you can still do any of the options along the fastest way. But you also have these options available to you.
8. Goldfield Ghost Town
Location: Apache Junction, Az
If you don’t think you will get enough of the Old West with your visit to Tombstone, Goldfield Ghost Town is the stop you should make.
Unlike what you might expect a ghost town to be like, Goldfield is a commercialized ghost town. You won’t find solitude and empty buildings here.
Instead, you will find a reconstruction of the town on its original site with tons of things to see and do.
You can pan for gold, visit the museum, tour the bordello, or see the gold mine. And make sure to attend the gunfight re-enactment, which happens right on the street.
📎 Tip: This one is perfect for the kids.
9. Lost Dutchman State Park
Location: Apache Junction, Az
Lost Dutchman State Park is an incredible destination located near the Superstition Mountains.
Named for a lost gold mine, people have searched these mountains for more than a hundred years trying to find gold. A tale of a Dutchman who came out of the mountains with a bag of gold sparked interest and the search.
But does the mine even really exist?
If you want to try your luck, there are plenty of trails you can follow to see if you can be the one to find it.
The park contains an array of diverse landscapes, including rugged mountains and lush desert vegetation.
And the Superstition Mountains are a beautiful backdrop to this state park.
10. McFarland State Historic Park
Location: Florence, Az
McFarland State Historic Park is a small but unique piece of Arizona history in Florence.
The park features a single adobe brick house constructed in the late 1800s. The building has been everything from a courthouse to a jail to a hospital over the years.
Today it is a museum with historical exhibits detailing the region’s rich history.
Make sure to spend some time in the Prisoner of War exhibit area, which includes photos and artifacts from the people imprisoned in Florence during WWII (mainly Italians and Germans).
The well-preserved structure and interesting artifacts make it an excellent stop for your road trip from Scottsdale to Tombstone.
11. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Location: Coolidge, Az
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is an important cultural monument.
This ancient site was built by the Hohokam people sometime between 1150 and 1450 CE and is considered one of North America’s largest prehistoric archaeological sites.
Today you can see the ruins of several structures, including the big house for which the monument is named. The big house has outer walls three stories high and an inner room of four levels.
Due to its delicate nature, you cannot go inside the structure but can view it from the outside perimeter.
Having your own set of wheels is the ideal way to fully savor the enchanting desert landscapes of Arizona, and at a rhythm that suits you best.
From the untamed paths tracing through Picacho Peak State Park to the breathtaking views inside Lost Dutchman State Park, commanding your own vehicle is the key to unlocking all the treasures this territory presents.
What’s more, with a plethora of awe-inspiring waypoints dotting the route, you’ll appreciate the liberty to linger at each stop, immersing in their allure without the constraint of time.
We always recommend Discover Cars to compare prices when renting because they carry all the big rental companies in one place, like Hertz and Dollar.
Tours To Tombstone
If you don’t have a car or want to avoid renting one, there is a tour from Phoenix to Tombstone you can choose to enjoy instead.
Step back in time to the era of the Wild West on an engaging day trip from Phoenix to Tombstone.
This adventure, curated for groups no larger than 13, delivers you into a historical saga of outlaws and lawmen in a frontier outpost where fame, wealth, and desire were perpetually in a showdown with law and order.
Commence your journey at the beautifully preserved Mission San Xavier del Bac, where the intricate blend of Spanish and Native influences presents a visual feast.
From there, immerse yourself in the rugged charm of Tombstone, once the stomping grounds for Wyatt Earp and the scene of the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral.
Your expert guide will be there every step of the way, painting vivid pictures of the past, revealing secrets of the historic buildings, and even guiding you to the renowned Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.
The day wraps up with a visit to the infamous Boot Hill Cemetery, where tales of those who ‘died with their boots on’ come to life.
Other Options Besides Driving To get To Tombstone
So far, we have only talked about driving to Tombstone. But are there other options to get between Scottsdale and the Old West?
Regrettably, there are no commercial airports in Tombstone, which rules out the possibility of a direct flight from Scottsdale.
An alternative would be to board a flight from Scottsdale to Tucson.
Given that Tucson is approximately 75 miles from Tombstone, you could easily rent a car upon arrival and enjoy a picturesque drive through the desert landscapes to your final destination.
However, while feasible, this option may not be the most practical.
Considering the one-hour flight duration and the necessity to be at the airport an hour before departure, the time-saving benefit of flying might be marginal, especially if there are unexpected flight delays.
Moreover, this mode of travel would typically incur higher costs than making the journey by road.
The situation with bus transportation mirrors the constraints you’d encounter with flying.
Unfortunately, there are no direct bus lines connecting Scottsdale and Tombstone.
The workaround would be to board a bus from Scottsdale to Tucson, but you’d have to rent a car to cover the rest of the journey to Tombstone.
Although the bus ride’s duration might align with the timeframe of a direct drive, it lacks the freedom and flexibility of a personal car trip.
You wouldn’t have the liberty to stop at various points of interest along the way and fully appreciate all the attractions that dot the route between these two places.
Where To Stay In Tombstone
Here are our top recommendations.
Luxury 💵 💵 💵 – Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch
- Old West feel and decor
- Peaceful and quiet as it is a couple of miles outside of town
- Activities on site, like horseback riding
Mid-Range 💵 💵 – Tombstone Miners Cabins
- Cute, cozy cabin with Western decor
- Close to town, within walking distance
- Private balconies to rest your weary feet
Budget 💵 – Katie’s Cozy Cabins
- Individual bungalows with a porch swing
- Close to East Allen St and activities
FAQs FOr Scottsdale, Arizona, To Tombstone, Arizona
Time to answer some common questions about Tombstone that you may have.
What Is The Best Month To Visit Tombstone, Arizona?
The best months to visit Tombstone, Arizona, are typically October to November and March to April, when the weather is comfortably mild and perfect for outdoor activities. These months offer ideal conditions to explore the town’s historic attractions and enjoy its many events and festivals.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Tombstone?
Entry into the town of Tombstone, Arizona, is free. But each attraction might have an entry cost associated with it. Expect to budget around $20-$30 for individual sites such as the O.K. Corral or the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. Additional costs for meals, souvenirs, and accommodations will be incurred, which can range significantly based on choice and season.
How Many Days Do You Need In Tombstone?
A day trip is usually sufficient to see the main attractions in Tombstone, Arizona, including the O.K. Corral, Tombstone Courthouse, and historic sites. However, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the rich history and local culture, consider staying for two to three days to explore the town at a leisurely pace.
Can You Take A Stagecoach Ride In Tombstone?
Yes, in Tombstone, you can experience the thrill of the Wild West with a stagecoach ride. Companies offer historic stagecoach tours with guides, providing an entertaining way to explore the town and learn about its storied past. It’s a fun and unique activity for the whole family. You can also ride the trolley if you prefer!
Is Tombstone, Az, A Tourist Trap?
While Tombstone is a popular tourist destination, it’s not typically considered a “tourist trap.” It offers a unique historical perspective of the Old West, with authentic attractions and events that genuinely depict its history. From history buffs and Wild West enthusiasts to your average Joe, Tombstone provides an engaging and memorable experience.
To Finish – 11 Best Stops to Enjoy From Scottsdale To Tombstone
Embarking on a road trip from Scottsdale to Tombstone is more than just a journey—it’s a vibrant trip down memory lane, a thrilling exploration of Arizona’s rich Wild West heritage.
Every mile is a new adventure, from the saguaro-dotted landscapes to the enthralling tales of legendary outlaws and lawmen.
So, fasten your seatbelts, turn up the music, and let the road lead you to the heart of the unforgettable town too tough to die.