State Route 87 in Arizona

State Route 86 and 87 in Arizona

State Route 86 in Arizona

Get started why
End Tucson
Length 118 mi
Length 190 km

Three Points


State Route 86 is a state route in the U.S. state of Arizona. The road forms an east-west route through the south of the state, between Why and Tucson. State Route 86 is 190 kilometers long.

Travel directions

State Route 86 through the Sonoran Desert.

State Route 86 connects State Route 85 in the hamlet of Why with Interstate 19 in the large city of Tucson. In between lies mainly uninhabited desert, the Sonoran Desert. There are some Native American reservations in the area, but the only village on the route is Sells. The road is single-lane and leads through a desolate desert landscape, with long straights without landscape shapes. The last mile in Tucson is through built-up areas and has 2×2 lanes, this is Ajo Way.

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State Route 86 was added to Arizona’s network of state routes in 1930, originally as an east-west route between Willcox and Bowie in the southeast of the state. In 1931, the route was extended west to Benson and east to the New Mexico state border, effectively making it a faster route than US 80 that detoured through Douglas. In 1943, State Route 86 was extended west through Tucson to Ajo and passed through much of southern Arizona. In 1955 the western starting point was shortened to Why. In 1970, the eastern portion of the route was scrapped after Interstate 10between Tucson and the border with the state of New Mexico, and was mostly built directly over or next to State Route 86.

Traffic intensities

Every day 1,000 to 2,000 vehicles drive on State Route 86, still relatively many because there are no alternative roads in the wider area. This rises to 30,000 vehicles in Tucson.

State Route 87 in Arizona

Get started Picacho
End Second Mesa
Length 273 mi
Length 439 km

Sun Lakes



Fountain Hills



Second Mesa

State Route 87 is a state route in the U.S. state of Arizona. The road forms a long north-south route from Interstate 10 at Picacho through the eastern suburbs of Phoenix and on through Winslow to Second Mesa in the north of the state. State Route 87 is 439 kilometers long.

Travel directions

State Route 87 between Mesa and Payson.

State Route 87 begins at the hamlet of Picacho at a junction with Interstate 10, about 70 miles northwest of Tucson. The road first travels 30 kilometers north through a desert agricultural area, then heads northwest, parallel to I-10 for some distance. The road here leads through an alternation of desert and agricultural land.

It then passes through the eastern half of the Phoenix metropolitan area and State Route 87 forms a major city highway through the large suburbs of Chandler and Mesa. Mesa is also the largest town on the route. The road is called Arizona Avenue and Country Club Drive and is an urban arterial with mostly 2×3 lanes and traffic lights. One crosses the Loop 202 twice, as does the Superstition Freeway.

Next, a fairly long stretch of State Route 87 is a 2×2 divided highway between Mesa and Payson, through the mountains of central Arizona. The road rises to about 1,400 meters south of Payson and has a section where the carriageways intersect. Due to the small number of intersecting roads, this is almost a freeway. The mountains in the area are a maximum of about 2,400 meters high.

Payson is a small town in the mountains of central Arizona. North of Payson is the Mogollon Rim, where State Route 87 rises steeply to a plateau at 2,200 meters. The south side of the plateau is forested, but turns into a desert towards the north. The road then leads through desolate and virtually uninhabited area to Winslow, more than 100 kilometers after the Mogollon Rim. The main landscapes on this section are two mesas, flattened ridges that rise above the landscape.

State Route 87 leads through the town of Winslow, after which it crosses Interstate 40. From Winslow, State Route 87 continues north through the uninhabited desert for another 60 miles. There are no intersecting tarmac roads here. The road leads through the flat desert from which several mesas rise. State Route 87 ends at State Route 264 at the hamlet of Second Mesa.


The Lower Scewtail Bridge between Phoenix and Payson, where the lanes are reversed.

State Route 87 was created in 1927. At that time it was not a very important road, the route was almost completely unpaved and did not pass important places, originally Payson and Winslow were the most important places. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the area east of Phoenix began to rapidly suburbanize, eventually resulting in suburb Mesa, one of the largest suburbs in North America. The once rural-looking State Route 87 has since run for 30 kilometers through heavily built-up areas and has been transformed into an urban arterial with 2×3 lanes.

In the 1990s, State Route 87 between Mesa and Payson was widened 120 kilometers to 2×2 lanes, making the road into the mountains of central Arizona much safer. Parts of the lanes have been reversed here, with ascending traffic driving on the left. In addition, significant travel time savings could be achieved. It is not a full-fledged freeway, but the road often looks like this between intersections, which are often far apart. There are practically no built-up areas on the route between Mesa and Payson.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 2,400 vehicles travel between I-10 and Coolidge, gradually increasing to 7,000 vehicles on the outskirts of the agglomerate Phoenix. State Route 87 is not particularly busy through Chandler and Mesa, with mostly 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day. This part of the route has been adequately developed. The busiest traffic in this region is east-west oriented.

After that, some 8,000 vehicles will travel between Mesa and Payson, peaking at 20,000 vehicles in Payson itself. From Payson to Winslow, 600 to 1,400 vehicles a day drive. North of Winslow, there are approximately 1,600 vehicles per day, relatively high given the virtually uninhabited landscape, but State Route 87 is one of the few through roads in this part of Arizona.

State Route 87 in Arizona