Skip to main content

National Park Wednesday; Maricopa Road through Sonoran Desert National Monument to Arizona State Route 238

Back between 2010 and 2012 I frequently traveled through Sonoran Desert National Monument on Maricopa from Gila Bend to Arizona State 238 in Mobile.






The route between AZ 347 in Maricopa in Pinal County east to AZ 85 in Maricopa County is 44.27 miles in length.  Despite the current Maricopa Road being quite good and a solid shortcut from Phoenix to Yuma only the first 20.27 miles west from AZ 347 is state maintained as AZ 238.  AZ 238 ends slightly west of the Pinal County Line and Mobile but continues as the paved county maintained road another 24 miles to AZ 85 in Gila Bend.  Much of Maricopa Road from the west terminus of AZ 238 to AZ 85 traverses the Sonoran Desert National Monument along a Southern Pacific Line between the North Maricopa Mountains and South Maricopa Mountains.  The photos below are from Maricopa County just east of Gila Bend in the Sonoran Desert National Monument between the twin Maricopa Ranges.




AZ 238 is a recent addition to the Arizona State Highway system having been created in 1986.  AZ 238 was meant to serve a hazardous waste station in the community of Mobile which was ultimately never built.  AZ 238 is mostly signed on Maricopa Road but a small portion is signed on Smith Enke Road within in the City of Maricopa.  While AZ 238 was paved relatively quickly it wasn't until some point between 1996 and 2001 that Maricopa Road was paved all the way west to Gila Bend. 

Sonoran Desert National Monument lies within a fairly undeveloped part of Sonoran Desert south of the Phoenix Area.  Sonoran Desert National Monument extends south of I-8 into the Table Top Wilderness and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Sonoran Desert National Monument was declared in 2001 but it is largely thought that it was created to impede the southern sprawl of Metro Phoenix.

Sonoran Desert National Monument Map

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US Route 199

I was planning on driving US Route 199 for the third time this weekend.  However "external factors" have pushed my visit to US Route 199 back for the time being.  While I can't do a driving log for US Route 199 at the moment I can still write about it's history.


This blog will be slightly different from the usual flair for Gribblenation.  Generally I have a stockpile of my own road photos from which to draw from.  In the case of US Route 199 I was far more focused on hiking photos during my first two visits in 2014 and 2016 than the actual highway.  At some point I will add a series of modern driving log photos but for the time being I will draw from numerous other sources to illustrate US Route 199.


Part 1; the History of US Route 199

Present US Route 199 is a 80.05 mile highway which connects US Route 101 in Crescent City of Del Norte, California northeast to Interstate 5 in Grants Pass of Josephine County, Oregon.  US Route 199 is one of the original US Routes and …

Trans-Sierra Highways; California State Route 108 over Sonora Pass

In the fall of 2016 and late summer of 2020 I took a series of drives over mountain passes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Both traps culminated by way of crossing over the Sierra Nevada Mountains westbound by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass on California State Route 108.  
California State Route 108 ("CA 108") is a 99 mile east/west State Highway which originates at US Route 395 in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  CA 108 crosses the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the 9,624 foot Sonora Pass and terminates at CA 99 co-signed with CA 132 in downtown Modesto.  CA 108 has a 21 mile unconstructed segment which would extend it to Interstate 5 near Crow's Landing if completed.  
Part 1; the history of Sonora Pass and California State Route 108Much of the early history of Sonora Pass is described by way of two informational plaques at the actual Pass.  The first documented crossing of Sonora Pass was in October of 1841 by way of a course slightly due nor…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…