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. 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.
||SR 79 begins here at Oracle Junction. 06/17/07 |
||SR 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. 06/17/07 |
||Travellers are advised to watch for animals along SR 79. 06/17/07 |
||Distance sign to Florence (33 miles) and Phoenix (98 miles). 06/17/07 |
||Distance sign to Florence (23 miles) and Phoenix (87 miles). 06/17/07 |
||SR 79 travels through densely vegetated Sonoran desert, through a 1000 foot wide right of way designed to preserve views along the corridor. 06/17/07 |
||SR 79 travels over open terrain between Oracle Junction and Florence. 06/17/07 |
||SR 79 meets the Tom Mix Monument, one of three rest areas along the Pinal Pioneer Parkway. 06/17/07 |
|| Distance sign to Florence (13 miles) and Phoenix (78 miles). 06/17/07 |
||SR 79 leaves the Pinal Pioneer Parkway
here, marking the end of the scenic road designation. 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. 06/17/07 |
||Advance signage for Business SR 79,
connecting to SR 287. Business SR 79 is the
original alignment of U.S. 80 and U.S. 89 through Florence,
bypassed in 1959. 06/17/07 |
||Business SR 79 departs from Arizona
79 here. 06/17/07 |
||SR 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. 06/17/07 |
||Advance signage for SR 287 (and the
north end of Business SR 79). 06/17/07 |
||Turn left on SR 287 to reach the Florence
Business District, or turn right to enter the state prison.
SR 79 has been following the fence line of the State
Prison through Florence. 06/17/07 |
||Turn left to reach McFarland State Historic
Park. 06/17/07 |
||Distance sign to Florence Junction (15 miles)
and Phoenix (64 miles). 06/17/07 |
||The Superstition Mountains can be seen in
the distance along SR 79. 06/17/07 |
||Advance signage for U.S. Highway 60, 1/2
mile. 06/17/07 |
||SR 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. 06/17/07 |
||SR 79 begins here just south of U.S.
Highway 60. 11/10/07 |
||Distance sign to Florence (16 miles) and
Tucson (83 miles). 11/10/07 |
||This is the first reassurance marker along
SR 79 southbound. 11/10/07 |
||SR 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. 11/10/07 |
||SR 79 meets the Hunt Highway here.
The Hunt Highway travels through Queen Creek to end up
at the SR 87/587 junction in Chandler. 11/10/07 |
||Advance signage for Business SR 79
and SR 287, 1500 feet. 11/10/07 |
||Turn right for Business SR 79 and Arizona
287 through downtown Florence. Business SR 79 is
the original routing of U.S. Highway 80 and 89, bypassed
in 1959. 11/10/07 |
||Now on the south side of Florence, we meet
the other end of Business SR 79, which is signed
here as a road to SR 287. 11/10/07 |
||SR 79 now turns southeast to head toward
Oracle Junction. 11/10/07 |
||Distance sign to Oracle Junction (36 miles)
and Tucson (61 miles). 11/10/07 |
|SR 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. 11/10/07, 01/15/66|
||SR 79 continues to travel across open
desert as it head south. 11/10/07 |
||Distance sign to Oracle Junction (29 miles)
and Tucson (54 miles). 11/10/07 |
||Advance signage for the Tom Mix Monument. 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). 11/10/07|
||SR 79 continues travelling through
open desert enroute to Oracle Junction. 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. 11/10/07 |
||SR 79 continues to travel along the
open desert. 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 SR 789, which was signed along this road. Photo by Josef Muench, printed in Arizona Highways, January 1966. 01/15/66 |
||The Catalina Mountains can be seen in the
distance while driving along SR 79. 11/10/07 |
||Advance signage for SR 77, 1/2 mile. 11/10/07 |
||The Pinal Pioneer Parkway ends just shy
of SR 77. 11/10/07 |
||Turn left on SR 77 to reach Oracle
and Biosphere 2. Turn right on SR 77 to follow old
US 80 and US 89 into Tucson. 11/10/07 |
- 01/15/66 by .
- 06/17/07 by Kevin Trinkle.
- 11/10/07 by Kevin Trinkle.
Page Updated 12-08-2007.