Arizona Highway 83, also known as Sonoita Mountain View Road, is a scenic highway southeast of Tucson, Arizona. The road skirts the edge of the mountains, then drives through them.
With sunset quickly approaching, I was speeding down Interstate 10 towards Tucson, while sneaking glances at my maps. I was trying to figure out the best place to go, to enjoy a nice view of the sunset. I knew it was going to be a good one — I just needed a nice place, free of urban clutter, to enjoy the view and take a few photographs. I decided Highway 83 showed the most promise.
The first few miles of the road were relatively straight and uneventful. There were plenty of nice mountains nearby, to the west of the road, but I wasn’t finding any good place to take a picture. After about ten miles, the road started twisting and turning, as it climbed into some nice rolling hills.
The sun was almost down, but I finally found a nice spot. There’s a perfectly-placed scenic turnout, about 14 miles south of the interstate.
This spot would be beautiful, any time of day, but at sunset, it was perfect.
The view north, back the way I came, was also beautiful, as the day’s final sunbeams hit the mountains.
The Bottom Line
I’ll have to spend more time exploring Sonoita Mountain View Road on a future trip. For now, I can only vouch for the northern 14 miles of the highway. If you’re looking for a nice viewpoint, this is a good spot.
From Tucson, head east on Interstate 10. Take exit 281, and head south. I found a nice viewpoint about 15 miles south of the interstate. From there, Highway 83 continues south through the wine town of Sonoita to Parker Canyon Lake, just a few miles north of the Mexico border.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive down Sonoita Mountain View Highway: