Nightborn Travel

Seeking Vistas Secret and Acclaimed

A Weekend in Bisbee: A Three-Day Itinerary for Nature and Culture in Southern AZ

Bisbee is a former mining town (current artist colony) south of Tucson near the AZ/Mexico border. It is the perfect place to experience historic, small town America.

Starting Point: Phoenix, AZ

Day One: Travel to Bisbee

The drive from Phoenix to Bisbee is about 3.5-4 hours depending on traffic.

Take your time driving down to scenic, little Bisbee.

If you leave in the morning or early afternoon; Tucson is a great place to stop by on the way.

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If you have time, the Mission San Xavier Del Bac or “White Dove of the Desert” is peaceful and great cultural stop in Tucson.

Day Two: Exploring Bisbee

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Can we tell you a little secret? 7 a.m. is prime strolling time around downtown Bisbee – not much is open, but the weather is wonderful and you get to walk around before the crowds.

 

If you are up for a morning stroll, walk up OK Street which will lead to the base of Youngblood Hill and will take you by some adorable Bisbee homes.

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You can a nice view of the town from either hill.

For strong hikers, there is also a trail at the end of the street that climbs up Chihuahua and Youngblood Hill. This path is steep, narrow and slippery, however, so hike at your own discretion. Be safe.

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There’s a shrine up on Chihuahua Hill that is definitely worth seeing. However, these are tributes to people’s loved ones so we cannot stress enough that the site needs to be treated with the utmost respect.

After going for a walk in the cool morning, head over to Lowell’s Bisbee Breakfast Club (http://bisbeebreakfastclub.com/locations/bisbee) for a diner experience, complete with massive portions.

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These pancakes are delicious and as big as your head – we’re not joking.

Head back to downtown Bisbee for a tour of the Copper Queen Mine (http://www.queenminetour.com/), where you will get to ride a little train into the heart of the mountain and learn about old copper mines from former miners. There are several tours throughout the day.

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These are our excited faces. But seriously, the mine tour is a must-see (especially if you’re a REALLY big fan of mining, or a history buff or just want to cool off.)

Spend the day strolling through Bisbee, checking out galleries, visiting historic hotels, and enjoying this small, colorful town.

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ALIENS.

After dinner, if it suits your fancy, wander the streets at night and learn about the many ghosts of this small town with Old Bisbee Ghost Tours (http://www.oldbisbeeghosttour.com/). These take place at 7 p.m. each day of the week.

Day Two: Kartchner Caverns and Getting Home

Catch breakfast in Old Bisbee or Sierra Vista.

Stop by Kartchner Caverns (https://azstateparks.com/kartchner/) to see one of the United States’ most colorful, living caves. You will not be disappointed in this special, natural attraction. It is about an hour from Bisbee to Kartchner.

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In the Visitor’s Center, you can take silly photos in the replicas of cave openings that the Kartchner explorers had to squeeze through and be thankful they did all the work for you.

 

 

Stop for lunch in Benson or Tucson, and then head back to Phoenix. It is about 2.5 hours from Kartchner to Phoenix depending on traffic.

Ending Point: Phoenix, AZ

Prep:

  1. Reserve a place to stay.
  2. Reserve a tour with the Old Bisbee Ghost Tours and Kartchner Caverns.
  3. Learn about some of the historic landmarks in the town to visit.
  4. Know the weather! Stay safe.

Solid Gas/Food Stops Along the Way:

  1. Tucson
  2. Benson
  3. Tombstone

Note: There are numerous small towns that also dot the way to Bisbee, but if you want guaranteed gas stations, fuel up in Tucson or Benson.

Parking

  1. Mostly free parking in Bisbee (there’s like one paid lot in the entire city), but be prepared for the lots (which are small) to basically be full after 10 a.m., at least on weekends.
  2. There’s plenty of street parking available, it just depends on how far you’re willing to haul your butt up and down a hill.
  3. Before you park, check if it’s residential. Don’t be a jerk and park in someone’s spot.

Places to Stay:

  1. Copper Queen Hotel (http://www.copperqueen.com/): This is a historic hotel in the middle of town. Perfectly central to all Bisbee’s attractions, and a great place for ghostly activity (for anyone interested).
  2. Hotel Lamore/Bisbee Inn (http://bisbeeinn.com/): A smaller alternative to the Copper Queen, this place is just as historic and ghostly. But it has traditional shared bathrooms, it will really bring you back.
  3. Plenty of alternatives throughout the town, and some good AirBnbs as well.

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50 Comments

  1. Super helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’d strongly recommend a stop at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company as well, especially to try the very unique Salut.

  3. Nice post. This looks like an interesting place to visit…something different to do if you’re around that area.

  4. I love Bisbee! I did a work assignment in Sierra Vista and took a trip to Bisbee to do the Bisbee 1000 race, climbing all the stairs in the city! Really cool place!

  5. This would be a nice place to visit. I would like to visit the shrine. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Heidi

    I’ve never been out west and that looks amazing and so much fun. Especially the mine, that must have been quite an experience.

    • The West has so much to offer! Bisbee is a great place to experience some of its history. The mine is definitely a big piece of that.

  7. This place looks really interesting! I love the look of the White Dove Of The Desert. 🙂

  8. Susan

    The area sounds well worth visitng and I like the unusual name of OK street. Does it feel at all claustrophobic in the caves? The pancakes look impressive.

    • The caves are massive! But I imagine if you actually have claustrophobia, it would be hard. If not, you should definitely visit.

  9. This looks like such fun! I’v been to Phoenix & Scottsdale a number of times, but never Bisbee. I definitely need to check it out!

  10. This is great and informative. I love going to different places that are not on everyone radar. Now I have to plan another trip to Arizona

  11. Amber

    I love all your photos. I need to get here someday. It looks like a fun area to explore. I’d want to try the mine tour.

  12. chavamazal

    Bisbee reminds me of the nearby mining town a bit north of Phoenix called Jerome. Similar history and also now an artist enclave.

    • Yes! They are quite similar in that way, but I do like that Bisbee is a bit harder to get to, so it tends to be more quiet. Both of them are amazing though.

  13. I have yet to make it to AZ. Looks like you all had an incredible time; your pics are awesome.

    • Arizona is a wonderful state; it has a little of something for everyone. Although the summer is admittedly burning hot. XD And thank you so much!

  14. What a beautiful place! I have been to Arizona, didn’t go here though! Wish it was on our list to do! Great photos and post! 🙂

  15. Pardon my ignorance but before reading the post I assumed this was in Europe! What a quaint little town!

  16. The architecture is amazing! Definitely a perfect place to wander in the streets <3

  17. Really enjoyed reading through this post! I don’t know much about AZ, so it was great learning about all the different spots in Bisbee! 🙂 Keep being amazing!

    @ressamazing

  18. I have never been to AZ but the train through the old tunnels looked fun!

  19. I already adored Bisbee, but reading this post makes me realize how much I missed on my first trip and need to see! Thank you so much for the prep tips too and gas-ups. I got way too close to E on my trip. Excellent post.

  20. I usually travel/hike in Arizona in the winter.I have yet to spend time in Bisbee, this year I will.Thank you!

  21. drivebytowns

    I wanted to include Bisbee on our recent cross-country road trip, but couldn’t fit it into the itinerary. Looks like I’ll have to make a special trip! I don’t know if I’ll try to fit into those cave openings though…Yikes!

  22. The copper mine sure sound interesting to visit! Thanks for sharing.

  23. Wow! I really wasn’t aware of the beauty of Bisbee. It really seems that you had an awesome time there. How many days would you recommend staying there?

    • Bisbee is a great gateway to Southern AZ, so if you want to hike in the area, you might stay there for a 3-4 nights and drive to other spots nearby (e.g. Coronado National Monument), but if you just want to see the town, one or two nights will be enough.

  24. I just moved to Tucson and am heading to Bisbee tomorrow for a little overnight trip – thanks for the tips!

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