AARoads State Series
Guide Updates
On The Road Blog
AARoads Discussion Board
Highway Shield Gallery
 
 
Site Navigation
Arizona
California
Colorado
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Utah
Wyoming
 
 

Arizona 79

Arizona 79 travels between Oracle Junction, north of Tucson, and Florence Junction, east of Phoenix. The road is also known as the Pinal Pioneer Parkway between Oracle Junction and Florence.

Arizona 79 is former US 80 and US 89, renumbered to Arizona 79 in 1992. This routing of US 80 and US 89 dates back to 1926, with some cleanup work performed when the road was paved during the 1940s. This section of old US 80 and 89 was one of the last sections of US 80 to be paved in the country, and not completed until 1945. In 1977, US 80 was removed from this road, and in 1992, US 89 was removed from this road.

Originally, the route number (79) was assigned to Arizona 89A between Prescott and Flagstaff. This route was designated as Arizona 79 between 1927 and 1941, when it was renumbered as U.S. Highway 89A. The second use of this number was between 1954 and 1973 for what is now Interstate 17 between Cordes Junction and Flagstaff.

Arizona 79 was designated as the Pinal Pioneer Parkway on January 10, 1961, to commemorate this being one of the oldest roads in Arizona - dating back to use as an Indian trail, as well as use by the Spanish and as a stagecoach road. This was also part of the early 1900s north-south and east-west territorial road.

Perspective from Northbound Arizona 79
Arizona 79 begins here at Oracle Junction. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 enters the Pinal Pioneer Parkway here. The Parkway was designated in 1961 as a scenic route, with a 1000 foot right of way established to preserve the scenic views of the desert along the road. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Travellers are advised to watch for animals along Arizona 79. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Distance sign to Florence (33 miles) and Phoenix (98 miles). Photo taken 06/17/07.
Distance sign to Florence (23 miles) and Phoenix (87 miles). Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 travels through densely vegetated Sonoran desert, through a 1000 foot wide right of way designed to preserve views along the corridor. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 travels over open terrain between Oracle Junction and Florence. Photo taken 06/17/07.

Arizona 79 meets the Tom Mix Monument, one of three rest areas along the Pinal Pioneer Parkway. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Distance sign to Florence (13 miles) and Phoenix (78 miles). Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 leaves the Pinal Pioneer Parkway here, marking the end of the scenic road designation. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Florence is the home of the oldest active state prison in Arizona. This sign warns travellers not to pick up hitchhikers due to the nearby prison. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Advance signage for Business Arizona 79, connecting to Arizona 287. Business Arizona 79 is the original alignment of U.S. 80 and U.S. 89 through Florence, bypassed in 1959. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Business Arizona 79 departs from Arizona 79 here. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 enters the city of Florence here. Florence was established in 1866, and named for Governor Safford's sister, Florence. The city is the county seat of Pinal County and home of the Arizona State Prison - Florence. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Advance signage for Arizona 287 (and the north end of Business Arizona 79). Photo taken 06/17/07.
Turn left on Arizona 287 to reach the Florence Business District, or turn right to enter the state prison. Arizona 79 has been following the fence line of the State Prison through Florence. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Turn left to reach McFarland State Historic Park. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Distance sign to Florence Junction (15 miles) and Phoenix (64 miles). Photo taken 06/17/07.
The Superstition Mountains can be seen in the distance along Arizona 79. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Advance signage for U.S. Highway 60, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Arizona 79 ends at U.S. Highway 60, in the 2004-vintage Florence Junction traffic interchange. Take U.S. 60 West into Phoenix (following the historic route of U.S. 80), or U.S. 60 east to Globe here. Photo taken 06/17/07.
Perspective from Southbound Arizona 79
Arizona 79 begins here just south of U.S. Highway 60. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Distance sign to Florence (16 miles) and Tucson (83 miles). Photo taken 11/10/07.
This is the first reassurance marker along Arizona 79 southbound. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 enters the city of Florence here. Florence was extablished in 1866, and is now known as the county seat of Pinal County and a prison town. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 meets the Hunt Highway here. The Hunt Highway travels through Queen Creek to end up at the Arizona 87/587 junction in Chandler. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Advance signage for Business Arizona 79 and Arizona 287, 1500 feet. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Turn right for Business Arizona 79 and Arizona 287 through downtown Florence. Business Arizona 79 is the original routing of U.S. Highway 80 and 89, bypassed in 1959. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Now on the south side of Florence, we meet the other end of Business Arizona 79, which is signed here as a road to Arizona 287. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 now turns southeast to head toward Oracle Junction. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Distance sign to Oracle Junction (36 miles) and Tucson (61 miles). Photo taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 is designated as the Pinal Pioneer Parkway from here to Oracle Junction. This sign marks the northern end of the scenic route. Second photo by Josef Muench, printed in Arizona Highways, January 1966. Photo taken 11/10/07. Second photo taken 01/15/66.
Arizona 79 continues to travel across open desert as it head south. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Distance sign to Oracle Junction (29 miles) and Tucson (54 miles). Photo taken 11/10/07.
Advance signage for the Tom Mix Monument. Photo taken 11/10/07.
The Tom Mix Monument commemorates fallen silent film star Tom Mix. Mix, one of the biggest stars of the 1920 and 1930s, died near this spot in a 1940 car accident, when he ran off the road while on a detour (as part of the construction of the present highway). Photos taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 continues travelling through open desert enroute to Oracle Junction. Photo taken 11/10/07.
The Pinal Pioneer Parkway was established in 1961 to preserve the open feel of this undeveloped highway. A 1000 foot wide easement was established to preserve the views. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Arizona 79 continues to travel along the open desert. Photo taken 11/10/07.
This historic photo shows some of the original signage along the Pinal Pioneer Parkway. Notice the trio of road signs for U.S. Highways 80 and 89, and Arizona 789, which was signed along this road. Photo by Josef Muench, printed in Arizona Highways, January 1966. Photo taken 01/15/66.
The Catalina Mountains can be seen in the distance while driving along Arizona 79. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Advance signage for Arizona 77, 1/2 mile. Photo taken 11/10/07.
The Pinal Pioneer Parkway ends just shy of Arizona 77. Photo taken 11/10/07.
Turn left on Arizona 77 to reach Oracle and Biosphere 2. Turn right on Arizona 77 to follow old US 80 and US 89 into Tucson. Photo taken 11/10/07.

Photo Credits:
  • 1966-01-15 by .
  • 2007-06-17 by Kevin Trinkle.
  • 2007-11-10 by Kevin Trinkle.

Page Updated 12-08-2007.

 
AARoads © 1997-2014 - Contact - Glossary - Purpose - Privacy Policy - Sitemap - Interstate-Guide