Joshua Forest Parkway, Scenic Route 93 Arizona

written by Julie Cohn


It is difficult to go sightseeing in Arizona in the summertime, what with the pesky heat and all.  Honestly, anyone in their right mind should not be outdoors for more than a few minutes, unless they are submerged in a sparkling pool, with a margarita in their hand.  Because of so many 110 degree+ days, hotels offer fantastic deals to visit Arizona during the summer…and travelers cannot resist a good deal!  One way to take the “heat” out of sightseeing in Arizona is to take an air-conditioned drive along one of the many scenic routes throughout our state.  One of the prettiest drives is on Joshua Forest Parkway, also known as Rt 93.

Joshua Forest Parkway

I know what you are thinking….Joshua trees grow in California, not Arizona, (you crazy heat-stroked woman)!  With respect to U2, California does not have a monopoly on the Joshua tree, so we have our fair share of the lovely Joshua tree here in the A-Z.  We even have a whole road devoted to them too, how about that?!

A few weeks ago we took a drive on the Joshua Forest Parkway.  Coming from Phoenix, Rt 93 originates in Wickensburg (via Rt 60 from Phoenix).  Rt 93 meanders over hills and valleys on the drive toward Kingman, with quirky little Joshua trees along the path.

We were quite intent to spot a few Joshua Trees on this drive, so with our eyes glued to the roadside, we searched every branch and cactus, trying to determine exactly when the Joshua Tree Forest would appear.  All of a sudden, at about Mile Marker 10, we saw them…a few at first, then a true forest of them, just as the route promised.  We saw them continuously for the next 45 minutes or so, and then they slowly dwindled to a few at a time, just outside Wikieup.

Joshua Trees are certainly unique looking!   Did you know Joshua trees are not really a tree but a yucca plant, part of the lily family?  In the spring, the Joshua tree blooms with large bell-shaped white flowers which cluster around the green of the plant.  I have not had an opportunity to smell a Joshua tree bloom but have heard they are quite pungent.

During our drive, we saw fields beautiful mountain peaks, dry river beds, and boulders teetering atop each other, creating a whimsical Dr. Suess-like atmosphere.  It was breathtakingly beautiful!

We even drove past a place called Nothing, AZ..where there was….nothing.

That’s the thing about Arizona.  You can take a drive past Nothing, and it really “something”.  Every road in Arizona is a new adventure…every tree/lily/cactus a new sight to see.  Even in the heat of the summer, Arizona is totally worth the trip!

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