If you’ve lived in the Phoenix area for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the signs pointing east towards Globe. Many know it as a pit stop on the way to Show Low, but the Globe-Miami area can be a rewarding day trip all on its own. Making this area in Southeastern Arizona your destination for the day– or longer!– brings one face to face with spectacular scenery, illuminating history, and a day well spent shopping, dining, and exploring the two small towns.
Gila-Pinal Scenic Road
There are a few ways into Globe-Miami; if you’re coming from the Phoenix metro area, a ninety-minute trip on Route 60 brings you up to the area. The trip east from the Valley looks much like many roads in Arizona — towering cacti and desert scrub, with wide open spaces. Yet look to the left and you’ll see the magnificent Superstition Mountains, site of the Lost Dutchman mine legend, a treasure in gold which has never been found. As you continue on, both the increasing elevation and slight drop in temperature become noticeable as the car heads toward the mountains. Drive over the Gonzales Pass and the small mining town of Superior comes into sight. The outstanding views include Picketpost Mountain and Apache Leap. Keep driving; the scenery gets even better as you continue your journey.
Passing through Superior, the road becomes serpentine while proceeding through the Queen Creek Tunnel, where you’ll no doubt hear the honking of car horns to the tune of the old Burma Shave jingle, ‘Shave and a haircut, two bits’ — it’s something the locals have been doing for years. On the other side of the tunnel, the scenery is almost indescribable when entering Devil’s Canyon; huge rock formations tower above, creating breathtaking silhouettes in the crisp blue sky as you wind through a canyon lush with vegetation. There are several pull-outs you should take advantage of for excellent photo opportunities and those ‘Instagrammable’ moments. If you’re lucky enough to drive this route after the big rainstorms during our monsoon season, you’ll see stunning waterfalls cascading over the steep rocks. Continuing through this corridor, various wildflowers are evident during different seasons; during the winter, you may even find a dusting of snow at Top of the World before descending into Miami.
History of the Area
As you make your way from the East Valley towards Globe, you’ll be traveling through a part of the historic Copper Corridor of Arizona. The towns of Superior, Miami, Globe, Ray, Kearny, and Winkelman have all had a part in copper mining, which began in the late 1800’s. The remains of old mines and those which are still active– and prospering– are visible as you navigate Route 60. Silver was one of the first metals that brought prospectors to central Arizona. Eventually, silver mining gave way to copper, with the Globe-Miami District contributing one fifth of the metal used by the Allies in the first World War. The towns along the Copper Corridor have gone through boom times and rough periods; their survival has been based on adapting to new applications of existing materials– think of copper, used in millions of cell phones– and new markets, including hospitality and tourism.
Before the prospectors, Native American tribes living in this area including the Hohokam, Salado, and various bands of the Apache tribe. The San Carlos Apache Reservation is located 20 miles east of Globe and their history is interwoven with the settlers who also wanted the Pinal mountains for their home. It is a violent and turbulent history which includes a chapter of the famous Chiricahua Apache leader, Geronimo (1829-1909). The existence of prospectors and their eventual discovery of silver and copper in the Pinals, which created many of the small towns in this area, resulted directly in the confiscation of more and more land from the Apache people and created conflict in the 1800’s. Globe and Miami acknowledge their history with the Apache; each year in October, the Apache Jii Festival is held. Vendors with fine art and jewelry, food and handicrafts ply their wares; traditional Apache dancing and ceremonial dress is honored and celebrated in downtown Globe.
If you’re not from Arizona and have only been in the Phoenix area, it’s always a treat to leave the Valley of the Sun for a while, even if just to experience our cooler temperatures. If you have lived in Arizona all of your life, planning a road trip with a short drive to the East is sure to pique your interest. Next time you see the signs to Globe on the freeways, follow them! You’ll be unexpectedly delighted in what you find. Whether you’re looking for history, nature, or shopping, it’s all in the Globe-Miami area. Below you’ll find a list of activities to round out your visit.
Things To Do
Visit the Pickle Barrel Trading Post — This 8000 square foot shop features quality Southwest Native American jewelry, home decor, antiques, foodstuffs, and everything in between. Located in Globe, in a building where the Old Dominion Copper Mine used to house its drilling equipment in the early 1900’s, the shop can take hours to look through. You won’t believe what’s inside! For a sneak peek, check out the online store.
Besh Ba Gowah Archeological Park — Located in the city of Globe, this fascinating park features preserved structures from the Salado people who lived in the area almost 800 years ago. http://www.globeaz.gov/visitors/besh-ba-gowah
Take in the local history — Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum, located in Miami, and the Gila County Historical Museum, housed in Globe, both offer a historical perspective to the area. https://bullionplazamuseum.org/ and http://gilahistoricalmuseum.org/
Antiques in Globe-Miami — Stroll the streets of both historic towns, where you’ll find quaint shops and a sense of history– keeping you busy for hours. https://www.globemiamitimes.com/globe-miamis-antique-shops/
Downtown Globe — Stroll the downtown area of Globe and take in the historic buildings and friendly people. There are shops and cafes to visit; make it a point to visit the centrally located Cobre Valley Center for the Arts. http://globearts.org/
Where to Eat — If you’re looking for a historical spot, try the Drift Inn Saloon, one of the oldest food & drink establishments in the state. Nurdberger is a fun spot place with great burgers and milkshakes, a must for hungry travelers. There’s an array of Mexican restaurants– Guayo’s, El Ranchito, El Rey, and Chalo’s, to name a few — all offering tasty local fare. In fact, Globe is considered to be the Mexican food capital of Arizona. Bloom is the newest, most anticipated dining experience, featuring Asian dishes and freshly prepared sushi. The Copper Hen, Bernard’s Coffee Station, and Vida E Cafe also offer small bites to eat, with espresso and soft drinks as well.
Where to Stay — Globe is home to charming bed & breakfasts; the Chrysacolla Inn, Noftsger Hill, and Dream Manor each offer a memorable experience; in Miami, try the Copper Miner’s Rest.
More information on the area can be found at:
Attractions Close to Globe-Miami
Apache Gold Casino Resort — Located on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, you’ll find golf, gaming, and dining. In the spring, make sure to drive further into the reservation and see the blooming Mexican Poppies. Visit the San Carlos Cultural Center in Peridot for more history of the San Carlos Apache people. http://www.sancarlosapache.com and http://www.apache-gold-casino.com/
Tonto National Monument — A short drive from Globe (heading towards Payson) you’ll discover a short hike to Salado ruins, with a gorgeous view of Roosevelt Lake. https://www.nps.gov/tont/index.htm
Boyce Thompson Arboretum — Visit this engaging, creatively designed arboretum in Superior on your way to/from the Globe-Miami area. Opened in 1929, it draws visitors from around the world; the arboretum is dedicated to the study and conservation of arid land plants and is located right under Picketpost Mountain. http://www.btarboretum.org/
Follow the Pickle Barrel Trading Post on social media to stay up to date on local events!
Landscape photography by Jim Lindstrom