Safford is a mining town in Eastern Arizona. Freeport-McMoRan is the largest area employer. For visitors the primary interest is in the numerous recreational opportunities nearby, as well as the annual Salsa Fest.
The only access is by car. Highway 70 provides access from the northwest from Globe, and from the southeast from Lordsburg, New Mexico. Highway 191 connects Safford with I-10 in the south, a short distance east of Willcox.
Safford is bisected by Highway 70, also known as Thatcher Boulevard. There is no public transportation, so a car is essential.
By rental carEdit
- 1 Sanchez CCC Camp (just north of the Safford airport), ☏ . Daylight hours. Well-preserved remains of a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp, with several buildings remaining. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended; detailed driving instructions are given on the BLM web page. Free.
- 2 Mount Graham International Observatory, 1651 W Discovery Park Blvd (Discovery Park Campus), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. May-Oct, depending on weather. Operated by the University of Arizona in the Pinaleño Mountains west of Safford, this observatory offers periodic tours for the public. Reservations required, preferably two or more weeks in advance. Tours depart from the Discovery Park Campus. $40/person, includes lunch.
Festivals and eventsEdit
- [dead link] Salsafest, ☏ , toll-free: . Last weekend of September. An annual celebration of local Mexican food. Festivities include hot air balloon rides, salsa competitions, a jalapeño-eating competition, and other entertainment.
- 1 Pinaleño Mountains (west of Safford). Part of the Coronado National Forest, this range is crowned by Mount Graham, considered sacred by all the area's Native American tribes. The mountains offer excellent opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and camping, and provide a cool respite from the heat of the summer. Information and maps are available at the Safford Ranger District Office.
- 2 Safford Ranger District Office, 711 14th Ave #D, ☏ .
- 3 Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (Gila Box RNCA) (20 miles NE of Safford). A 23,000-acre preserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which contains pre-Columbian cliff dwellings, historic homesteads, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and over 200 species of birds. This is a popular area for birdwatching, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and camping. A color brochure and map can be obtained from the Safford Field Office.
- 5 Black Hills Rockhound Area (north side of Hwy 191, 18 miles east of Safford). This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The most common and valuable gemstone to be found here is fire agate. The area can be tricky to find, a helpful map can be downloaded. BLM advises against the use of passenger cars or travel trailers to access the site. Watch out for rattlesnakes in the warmer months.
- 6 Roper Lake State Park, 101 E Roper Lake Rd, ☏ . Facilities include a boat ramp and a natural stone hot tub. The park offers opportunities for swimming, fishing (bass and trout), hiking, and birdwatching. $7/vehicle (1-4 adults).
- 7 Dankworth Ponds State Park, Dankworth Lake Rd (3 miles south of Roper Lake), ☏ . A subunit of Roper Lake State Park, Dankworth Pond is good for fishing and birdwatching. Dankworth Village is an outdoor exhibit of recreated paleo-Indian structures and artifacts, accessible via an interpretive trail. There are also picnicking facilities. $6/vehicle.
The area is home to several hot springs, with water temperatures reaching 106°F/41°C. Visitors can experience hot springs at Roper Lake State Park (see listing above), or at a couple of private spas.
- 8 Essence of Tranquility, 6074 S Lebanon Loop Rd, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 8AM-6PM. Offers a range of services. Also has accommodation in the form of rustic 'casitas' with shared toilets and showers ($50-$70/night), along with campsites ($15/night). $25-65, depending on service.
- 9 Kachina Mineral Springs, 1155 W Cactus Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M Th-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su 10AM-2PM; Tu W appt only. Offers mineral baths, sweat wraps, reflexology and massage treatments. $10-100, depending on service.
- 1 Casa Mañana, 502 S 1st Ave, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 11AM-8:30PM, F- a 11AM-9:30PM. Operating since 1951, this is one of the most well-known restaurants in the area.
- 2 La Paloma Restaurant, 5183 E Clifton St, Solomon, ☏ . Good Mexican food, popular with locals.
- 3 Los Jilbertos Restaurant, 215 E Hwy 70, ☏ . Very popular Mexican restaurant.
- 4 Toni's Kitchen, 1922 W Thatcher Blvd, ☏ . Good pizza, salads, and sandwiches.
Most hotels are distributed along Highway 70 within Safford and neighboring Thatcher, including branches of several national chains.
- 1 Best Western Desert Inn, 1391 West Thatcher Blved, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free breakfast and wi-fi, pets accepted. $76+/night.
- 2 Budget Inn, 1215 W Thatcher Blvd, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM-noon. Clean and basic. Free wi-fi, microwave and fridge, pool. From $48.
- 3 Cottage Bed & Breakfast & Bakery, 1104 S Central Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 1PM-8PM, check-out: 10AM. Nonsmoking, weekly rates available. $90-110/night.
- 4 SpringHill Suites Thatcher, 2855 W Hwy 70, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Nonsmoking, free breakfast and wi-fi. $104-119/night.
- Pinaleño Mountains, ☏ . Dispersed camping is possible in most areas in the Pinaleños (free), and the Forest Service also maintains seven organized campgrounds, all of which have picnic tables and grills, and toilets. Further information can be obtained online or from the Safford Ranger District Office (listed above).
- 5 River View Campground, Gila Box RNCA (20 miles northeast of Safford), ☏ . Located within the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, much of this campground is situated on an abandoned fraudulent gold mining area which has since been rehabilitated and returned to a more natural state. Restrooms and potable water available but no showers; no hookups. $5/night (self-service pay station).
- 6 Roper Lake State Park, 101 E Roper Lake Rd, ☏ (reservations). Has individual sites for RVs, trailers, and tents, as well as cabins for rent. Reservations must be made two weeks in advance. For the park description see listing above in 'Do'. $15 (non-electric site), $25 (electric site), $55-65 (cabin rental).
|Routes through Safford|
|Ends at ← Globe ←||W E||→ Duncan → Lordsburg|
|Eagar-Springerville ← Morenci ←||N S||→ Willcox → Douglas|