This is THE best ride in Arizona, in my opinion. From Phoenix, take US-60 E to Globe. US-60 turns North on the East end of Globe and the highway continues East as US-70. Stay on US-70 through San Carlos and Safford to US-191. You ride through the towns of Clifton and Morenci. As you leave Clifton. you start climbing to Morenci, where you ride through a massive open pit copper mining operation and the terrain changes to pine forest. Morenci is the start of the Coronado Trail, which winds its way through hundreds of twisties and meadows for the next 91 miles. You will go over three mountain passes of ~7400', 8500' and 9400', so be prepared for any type of weather, even in summer. Afternoon rain is not uncommon. You start descending through Hannagan Meadow (be on the lookout for elk) and to the town of Alpine, considered the northern end of the trail. Here you are only 9 miles from the New Mexico state line.
We usually make a two day ride of this, Phoenix to Alpine on day one and Alpine to Show Low on AZ-260 and back to Phoenix on the second. Lodging and good food is available in Alpine. Gas stations are scarce, so fill up in Morenci and again in Alpine.
The 91 miles between Morenci and Alpine takes about 3 hours to get through due to twisties and multiple elevation changes.
Mileage for the entire loop:
Alpine-Phoenix (AZ-260/US-60)=252 miles.