Mingus Mountain to Historic Jerome and Cottonwood Tour

Mingus Mountain to Historic Jerome and Cottonwood Tour

Drive Dates: Thursday, May 6 and Saturday, May 8

Total Drive Distance: 230 miles

Estimated total tour duration: 7 hours

Take a drive into the mountains of Central Arizona on scenic and twisty roads to the historic and charming towns of Jerome and Cottonwood. The route makes the climb from the Valley to the Arizona high country, where the vegetation changes from grassland to chaparral to Ponderosa pines. The fun part of the drive begins as we take the switchbacks to the top of Mingus Mountain.


The Mingus Mountain Scenic Road rises from the expanse of the Prescott Valley abruptly to the heavily vegetated Black Hills. Descending from the top of Mingus Mountain to the Verde Valley there are spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim, San Francisco Peaks, and the red sandstone cliffs of the red rocks. The scenic road leads us into the historic mining area of Jerome, Clarkdale, and Cottonwood.


Jerome has a long and storied history as a copper mining camp, which eventually grew to a population of 15,000. When the copper ran out Jerome became a virtual ghost town and remained so for half a century, but the town was brought back to life and is now a haven for writers, artists, artisans, and musicians, and is a must-see spot for anyone visiting Arizona.


In Jerome, we will visit the Douglas Mansion in Jerome State Historic Park. This former home of James S. Douglas, a prominent figure in the town’s mining history, is now a museum devoted to the history of the Jerome area and the Douglas family. The museum features photographs, artifacts, and minerals in addition to a video presentation and a 3-D model of the town with its underground mines.


From the Douglas home, one can better appreciate the uniqueness of Jerome as it sits dramatically and precariously on the side of Cleopatra Hill. There are also panoramic views of the Verde Valley, Oak Creek Canyon, and the San Francisco Peaks.


Continuing down the hill from Jerome we will pass through Clarkdale, another historic mining community, to our lunch destination in Old Town Cottonwood, the "Heart of the Verde Valley Wine Country." The Colt Grill is known for fantastic smoked meats, a beautiful atmosphere, and kind, hardworking staff serving a simple made-from-scratch menu.


The tour officially ends after lunch. For those who wish to return to the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa together, tour leaders will depart shortly after lunch (approx. 2 hrs. driving time).


Or you may want to spend some time browsing around the Old Town Cottonwood Historic District, with its numerous shops, galleries, wine tasting rooms, and more.

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