East from Kingman, US-93 follows I-40 for over 20 miles before turning south, back onto two-lane US-93. Because it’s the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas, US-93 can be busy, and in many places the roadway is being improved and expanded to handle all the trucks and other traffic, but it’s one of the great (and least hyped) drives in the desert Southwest. The scenery improves as you head south from I-40, with chocolate-brown boulders and varnished granite cliffs rising to form impressive canyons above forests of saguaro cactus, Joshua trees, and abundant spring wildflowers. The only real “place” along this stretch of US-93 is a wide spot in the road known as Wikieup, 30 miles south of I-40, with a pair of gas stations and trading posts.

Between Wikieup and Wickenburg, the 75-odd miles of US-93 are known as the Joshua Forest Parkway because the road passes through one of the world’s densest concentrations of these odd trees, which were named by Mormon pioneers. Anthropomorphic, multilimbed members of the lily family, and found only here in western Arizona and in southern California, Joshua trees can live to 200 years old and reach 50 feet tall.