Arizona Backroads: Schnebly Hill Overlook
If you’re looking for an Arizona backroad scenic adventure, then the Schnebly Hill Overlook should be high on your list.
Carol and I found this scenic road back in 2011 and wrote about it in this article.
A Word of Caution
We entered Schnebly Hill Road from the I-17. As you pass a popular camping area, there is a sign warning 4×4 vehicles only. So, DO NOT attempt this drive in a passenger vehicle.
We were driving our SUV and had just installed trail-rated tires for adventures just like this. However, the farther along we got, the worse the road became, and we found ourselves climbing over a road full of granite rocks at speeds of 1-2 mph.
It was tedious going, and I was thrilled that I had new tires. I don’t think that the tires installed on most SUVs would have made it down this road without a puncture.
Our SUV has 8 inches of ground clearance, but I found myself wishing that I had a few more inches like the many true 4x4s that were passing us along the way.
After enjoying some time at the overlook, we decided to continue our journey the other 6 miles down the steep hill.
The moment we began, we found that the road conditions had worsened significantly. The road was much narrower with certain death on one side as we were now driving on the edge of a cliff.
I was determined to keep going, figuring that this was just a particularly bad spot in the road. Plus, past experiences driving this road told me that the road would improve shortly. I was wrong!
Continuing Our Harrowing Drive on the Schnebly Hill Road
We encountered a Jeep 4×4 coming up the road. He pulled alongside us and told us in no uncertain terms that we should NOT go any further. He described an even rougher road than what we were currently experiencing with sharp granite ledges in the road that dropped a good 12 inches. We would never make it through that.
So, we found a place to turn around and white-knuckled it back up to the vista overlook. I’ve never seen my wife so scared as we climbed over granite rocks on the road, trying not to stare at the cliff’s edge just a few feet away from the driver’s door.
When we got back up to the vista overlook, Carol said that she wanted to get out and kiss the ground.
She didn’t kiss the ground, but we did say “OMG”. And, as you might expect, Carol had more to say and included words like, never again!
Moral of the Story?
I will be doing a lot more homework on road conditions from now on. And for you, if you want to experience this remarkable vista, consider renting a Jeep 4×4 or an ATV to get you there.
If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.
Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40