Types of Scenic Roads
Types of Scenic Roads
In Arizona, "scenic road" is a general term that is often used to identify state-designated and federally designated scenic roads.
State-designated scenic roads:
This state designation includes a roadway (or segment of a roadway) that offers a memorable visual impression, is free of visual encroachment and forms a harmonious composite of visual patterns. Scenic roads are the most commonly state-designated type in Arizona; there are 19 roads designated as scenic roads. These scenic roads are some of the more popular in the state:
- Kayenta-Monument Valley Scenic Road
- Gila-Pinal Scenic Road
- Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Road
- Dry Creek Scenic Road
This state designation includes a roadway (or segment of a roadway) that offers historical importance to the cultural heritage of the state, nation or region; contributes to a historical area or exploration/settlement of Arizona; is easily accessible; and is unique. This type of scenic road is far less common than state-designated scenic roads. There are currently three historic roads in Arizona:
- Apache Trail Historic Road
- Jerome-Clarkdale-Cottonwood Historic Road
- Historic Route 66 (Topock to Ash Fork and Ash Fork to Lupton)
This state designation includes a roadway (or segment of a roadway) that meets scenic or historic road designation criteria, has a one-mile minimum distance between access roads, allows visitor facilities/interpretive areas and offers controlled access and adjacent development. This type of scenic road, similar to historic roads, is far less common than state-designated scenic roads. There are currently four parkways in Arizona:
- Swift Trail Parkway
- Organ Pipe Cactus Parkway
- Sky Island Parkway
- Kaibab Plateau - North Rim Parkway
Federally-designated scenic roads:
National Scenic Byway
This federal designation includes a roadway that should be a state-designated scenic road, accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, have a corridor management plan, and be as continuous as possible. In addition, the roadway must meet at least one intrinsic quality that is representative of the region (i.e., more than one state).
There are three National Scenic Byways in Arizona:
- Kaibab Plateau-North Rim National Scenic Byway
- Sky Island Parkway (Catalina Highway) National Scenic Byway
- Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway
This federal designation includes a roadway that meets the requirements and criteria of a National Scenic Byway and should accommodate tour buses, user facilities and community enforcement mechanisms. Furthermore, the roadway must meet at least two intrinsic qualities that are representative of the nation, and the roadway must be a destination unto itself.
There are two All-American Roads in Arizona:
- Red Rock All-American Road
- Historic Route 66 All-American Road (Topock to Ash Fork and Ash Fork to Lupton)
There are a total of 26 state-designated scenic roads in Arizona. Of this number, 19 are state-designated scenic roads, three are state-designated historic roads and four are state-designated parkways.
There are a total of five federally designated byways in the state. Three of these byways are National Scenic Byways and two are All-American Roads.
A roadway can share both state scenic and federal byway designations. For example, a state-designated historic road can also be a federally designated All-American Road; a state-designated parkway can also be a federally designated National Scenic Byway. Five of the 26 state-designated scenic roads share federal byway designation.
ADOT administers the state-designated scenic roads program, while the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administers the byways program. ADOT also assists the FHWA in nominating roadways for federal byway designation.