Two nights in Bisbee, AZ

We were in Bisbee from February 12 to February 14, 2021.

Bugsy and street art in Bisbee
street art in Bisbee

From Lost Dutchman up near Phoenix, we swung south again almost to Mexico for the last stop on our delightful little tour of Arizona. Bisbee is a small hamlet built into a hillside south of Tucson, full of art galleries, copper mining history, narrow, winding streets, and stairs, lots of stairs. I’ll say more about the stairs later. Bisbee has the feel of a European mountain town, and with a milder climate from the mile-high elevation, it’s a fun addition to an Arizona road trip itinerary.

Campground

the view from our campsite at Queen Mine RV Park
the view from our campsite

We stayed at Queen Mine RV Park, a small park without fancy amenities, but with a great location perched above town. We had a view of Old Bisbee from our site, and could easily walk down the hill to the bars and restaurants. We’d definitely stay there again.

Hiking

Other than hiking around town, we did two hikes while in Bisbee. Well, that’s not exactly true: we did one hike while staying in Bisbee, and one hike on the way from Bisbee to our next destination.

Joe’s Canyon Trail in Coronado National Memorial

hiking in Coronado National Monument

Coronado National Memorial is a 35-minute drive from Bisbee, on the Mexican border. We chose the Joe’s Canyon trail for our hike, a 6-mile out-and-back that climbs up to a ridge which leads to Coronado Peak. From the ridge there are long views into the rolling green hills of Mexico, and Yaqui Ridge Trail drops a mile down the side of the mountain to the Mexican border (it was closed when we visited).

view from Joe's Canyon Trail in Coronado National Monument

Coronado Peak has informational displays about the history of the park and of the expedition of Coronado, the first known European excursion into the United States. The hike was very peaceful; the most people we saw were a family on Coronado Peak, which can also be reached from a nearby parking area. No dogs are allowed in Coronado National Memorial.

Chiricahua National Monument

hoodoos in Heart of Rocks, Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument is almost an hour-and-a-half east of Bisbee, so maybe not a trip you’d want to make while based there, but if you’re anywhere close by it is absolutely worth visiting. We loved it so much we’re trying to figure out where to stay so we can go again. Do you like Bryce Canyon National Park? Do you dislike crowds? Then Chiricahua is for you! It’s a hoodoo wonderland of gray rhyolite formations, not the red sandstone you see in Utah.

hoodoos in Heart of Rocks, Chiricahua National Monument
hoodoos in Heart of Rocks, Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua (pronounced cheer-ih-‘cow-wah, by the way–we totally mangled it) has a bunch of trails, a few of which allow dogs, and has trailer parking available in a satellite lot. We left Bugsy snug in the Airstream and drove to the Visitor Center and the Lower Rhyolite Canyon Trail, which connects to Sarah Deming and eventually the Heart of Rocks loop and some of the most interesting hoodoos in the park. The total hike is just over seven miles and was really wonderful.

Exploring Bisbee

walking up Stairway #2 in Bisbee
Stairway #2 on the Bisbee 1000 route

Bisbee’s easy to explore on foot. The best way to see everything, in our opinion, is to follow the route of the Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb. The Bisbee 1000 is a 4.5-mile race that ascends over 1000 stairs across nine different staircases in Old Bisbee. Here’s an interactive map to help you find your way to all nine staircases, past shops, restaurants, art installations, and many adorable houses that are only accessible by stairs. It’s a super unique way to sightsee!

J and I hadn’t been to Bisbee in about 20 years, but our favorite shop from back in the day is still open! Check out the Killer Bee Guy’s store on Main Street: a tiny shop with a zillion flavors of honey and honey mustard. So delicious and great for gifts!

We also recommend taking a stroll down Erie Street, in what used to be Lowell, Arizona, just a couple minutes from Bisbee’s main drag. It’s kind of an art installation in itself: an abandoned (but maintained by volunteers) street straight from the 1950s.

Eating and drinking

Because we visited during the pandemic, we were only interested in food and drink establishments with outdoor seating. Bisbee has several patios along Main Street and the small streets radiating out into Old Bisbee and we checked out all that we could find.

a beer at Old Bisbee Brewing Co
Old Bisbee Brewing Company

Old Bisbee Brewing Company has a cozy patio and we wanted to love it there but we found the beers not to our liking and the service extremely slow.

a drink on the patio at Screaming Banshee Pizza
Screaming Banshee Pizza

Screaming Banshee Pizza has a nice big patio out front for cocktails and pizza.

a drink on the patio at Bisbee Social Club
Bisbee Social Club

Bisbee Social Club had the best cocktails we encountered in town and we sipped them on the tiny patio while getting thrashed by a wind storm.

dinner from Thuy's Noodle Shop in Bisbee
and ugly photo of yummy curry

Thuy’s Noodle Shop has patio seating; we took our delicious Vietnamese carryout back to the Airstream instead, to eat with Bugsy.

Patisserie Jacqui‘s display cases full of gorgeous pastries, tarts, and cakes caught our attention while we walked the Bisbee 1000 route, but when we came back later to treat ourselves it seemed every other tourist in town was in line, so we moved on. Please go get yourself a goodie there and tell us how delicious it is.

To do

walking down a staircase in Bisbee
more stairs

More hiking, of course!

And this concludes the Arizona portion of our winter warmth trip! Where should we hit next time in AZ?

5 Replies to “Two nights in Bisbee, AZ

  1. As you know you have listed here visits to all of my favorite haunts in the south central area of Arizona.. With Bisbee you have the greatest tourist trap in America (well maybe second to South of the Border).. Anyway, great blog listing of some super uncrowded spots for enjoying Arizona sunshine… Don’t know if you made it to Douglas and perhaps the Slaughter Ranch, but if not put on the list for a future visit.

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