Take a Road Trip and Really (Really!) Get Away


Sunset over winery, Arizona © Rancho Maria Vineyards

“Road trip!”

No other pair of syllables stirs up the same delicious anticipation, except maybe the obvious response: “Shotgun!”

Sierra Vista, Arizona, should be on your road trip list. Not only are the curvy, two-lane roads surrounding the community perfect for motorheads, but the scenery is also spectacular for the lucky shotgun passenger.

Take, for instance, Highway 82, which undulates through rolling grasslands as you head west into Arizona’s original wine country. Ease up on the accelerator about 16 kilometres from the 90/82 junction to make a left onto Upper Elgin Road and cruise into the village of Elgin. You won’t find any services there, but you will find some of Southeast Arizona’s wineries (there are close to 40 in the area).

Smack in the middle of this hamlet is the Elgin Winery and Distillery, producing wines since the early 1980s and now turning out world-class bourbon, gin, and rum.

Round the corner to stay on Elgin Canelo Road, named for both the little town and the rolling hills it’s tucked into, and you’ll find Autumn Sage Winery and Sonoita Vineyards—the state’s oldest commercial vineyard—both with tasting rooms so close to the field you can smell the earthy vines.

Highway 83 evolves into a delightfully twisty road that climbs through the Coronado National Forest to Parker Canyon Lake. Fill up your eyes with knock-out scenery, and bring a picnic and fishing pole ($8 day-use fee, boat rentals available).

Other roads aren’t as fun to drive, but the chance to sample more wine, beer, and spirits makes up for it in spades. Keep your peepers peeled for winery signs, or better yet, download the Visit Sierra Vista mobile app for a complete list of wineries.

If Old West kitsch is calling, instead of heading west from Sierra Vista, head east along Charleston Road. This winding two-laner crosses the San Pedro River and climbs up a short rise into Tombstone, where you might run into Doc Holliday or someone who looks remarkably like him.

Once you’ve had your fill of sarsaparilla and gunfire, take Highway 80 south to Davis Road, a string-straight ride that eventually joins up with Highway 191, also known as The Devil’s Highway. This curvy road runs from Mexico to Canada…but enjoy just 43 kilometres of it, then merge onto Kansas Settlement Road. Take a right onto Robbs Road, where five vineyards serve samples and sell bottles.

Sierra Vista, Arizona tourism
© Courtesy of Sierra Vista

Two generations of wine growers operate Bodega Pierce. Its wine is award-winning, lush, and full-bodied. The Gallia, especially, is a must-try. Just a skooch down the road is Pillsbury Wine Company, also with signature blends and varietals that scream “gold medal!”…and win them.

Once your socks are knocked off on Robbs Road, return to Kansas Settlement Road and roll into Willcox. Here, you can hit a handful of tasting rooms on Railroad Avenue or grab a bite to eat before heading back to Sierra Vista via I-10.

Fantastic scenery, curvy roads, and wine tasting—exactly why “shotgun!” is the right response when someone hollers “road trip!” Drive safe, and see you soon!

Learn more about Sierra Vista, download the mobile app, find comfy places to stay, and pick more things to explore at VisitSierraVista.com or call 800-288-3861.

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Sierra Vista’s backyard invites visitors to trek through forests, mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, caverns, and wetlands. Hikers and cyclists encounter sweeping vistas, eerie vertical rock formations, and extraordinary caves. 


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