Staycation in Safford
Salsa Trail: Save your appetite in order to sample fare from the twelve restaurants that make up the Salsa Trail. You’ll find authentic Mexican food, world class tortillas and some of the hottest jalapenos around. Salsa Trail restaurants exude small town charm and a welcoming, mom and pop vibe.
Best kept secret
Soak in water heated from the Earth’s crust at Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area. The hot springs came into being in 1928 when drillers hit H2O instead of oil. Steeping in the 106 degree water could be a cure for what ails you. Located 25 miles off Highway 70.
D. J. Carrasco, a relief pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was born in Safford. Former Tampa Bay Rays infielder Elliot Johnson was born in Safford as well.
SalsaFest : Now in it’s fourth year, SalsaFest celebrates the marriage of tomatoes, chilies and miscellaneous secret ingredients to create the Southwest’s favorite condiment. Festivities include a Salsa & Jalapeno Eating Contest, a Salsa making competition open to professionals & amateurs, Chihuahua races, live entertainment and a marketplace. September 24th – 25th. Held in Downtown Safford.
Harvest Festival: Celebrate the Fall season at the 11th Annual Harvest Festival. Activities include pumpkin decorating contest, kids costume contest, arts and crafts, as well as a variety of vendors and great food. October 23rd from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in front of City Hall. Call 928.348.8514 for more information.
Tour De Safford: Pedal through 104 miles of Graham County’s scenic roads in this timed bicycle event. A classic car show, motorcycle show and antique aircraft display coincide with the event. October 30th starting at 7 a.m. at the Safford Regional Airport, 4650 E. Aviation Way.
Places to enjoy
Roper Lake State Park: Fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, birding, boating, picnicking, relaxing in hot springs are some of the many options for outdoor enthusiasts at Roper Lake State Park.
Black Hills Back Country Byway : Twenty one miles of unpaved road takes you through an area traveled by Spanish conquistadors, trappers and miners. Built by prisoners in the early 1900’s, this scenic drive shows off Graham County’s unique geography and wildlife. Located between Safford and Clifton and accessible from U.S. Highway 191.
Mount Graham International Observatory: Dark skies surrounding Mount Graham allow prime viewing for star and galaxy gazers. Researchers from around the globe have come to the Observatory to spend time with the three large telescopes. Tours are available mid-May through mid-November during the weekends and reservations are required.
Places to stay
Olney House B&B: Once the home of Graham County Sheriff Olney, this historic B&B will have you reminiscing about the Old West. Rooms start at $70/night, cottages start at $80/night. Located at 1104 South Central, 928.428.5118
Roper Lake Cabins: Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy staying in these cabins at Roper Lake State Park. There are eight cabins to choose from, all with beds, heat, AC and electricity. $55 per night. Located at 101 E. Roper Lake Rd, 928.428.6760
Places to eat
Casa Manana Restaurant: Serving Mexican food since 1951, Casa Manana’s classic dishes make it a popular spot. Open for lunch and dinner. Located at 502 S. 1st Ave, 928.428.3170
El Coronado: Where the locals go! Be sure to sample the salsa, which took the Grand prize at 2007’s SalsaFest. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located at 409 W. Main St, 928.428.7755
Manor House Restaurant: With a menu featuring sandwiches, salads, pasta, steak and seafood, there is truly something for everyone’s palette. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located at 415 E. US Highway 70, 928.428.7148
Chalo's La Casa Reynoso: Run for three generations by the Reynoso family, recipes at this Mexican restaurant are so secret not even the staff knows what is in the spice mix. Open for lunch and dinner. Located at 611 S. 6th Ave, 928.348.9889
El Charro: The oldest continuously owned & operated restaurant in Gila Valley, serving Mexican dishes & green chile specialties. Open for lunch and dinner. Located at 601 W. Main St, 928.428.4134
Taco Taste: Delicious fast food Mexican restaurant, where you can either dine in or drive thru. Open for lunch and dinner. Located at 1827 W. Thatcher Blvd, 928.428.3414
La Paloma: Located just south of Safford in the town of Solomon, La Paloma serves Mexican dishes in an 80 year old adobe building. Open for lunch and dinner. Located at 5185 Clifton St, 928.428.2094
Main Street Café: Part coffee shop, part lunch stop, this café steams up fantastic coffee drinks and a nice variety of soups, salads and sandwiches. Open for breakfast and lunch. Located at 527 Main St, 928.348.3344
Places to shop
San Simon Chile Company: A trip to Safford isn’t complete until you’ve packed some chiles to bring home with you! San Simon Chile Company’s offers a variety of red, green and chipotle chiles as well as jelly, relish and salsa. Open daily during chile season but it is best to call. Located at 5256 S. US Hwy 191 and items are available for purchase online.
Sorellas Elite Fashion: If you think you can’t get modern style in a small town, Sorellas will prove you wrong. Find clothing, shoes and jewelry on par with big city boutiques at this great shop. Located 410 W. Main St, 928.387.2330
Market Street Village: Gifts, candy, flowers and items made by local artisans. Located at 415 E. US Highway 70, 928.428.7148
Mi Casa Tortilla Factory: Prepare to become a tortilla snob. Mi Casa produces some of the best tortillas in the state, made without preservatives. You can usually pick them up fresh out of the oven and still warm. Located at 621 Seventh Ave, 928.428.7915
Salsa Trail Book: The definitive guide book to the Salsa Trail. Included are recipes, activities and information on area attractions including farms, museums and scenic areas. Copies can be picked up at most of the Salsa Trail restaurants, through the Graham County Chamber or online.
Avg high & low temperatures
September – High 93, Low 60
October – High 83, Low 47
November - High 70, Low 36
For more Safford resources: www.visitgrahamcounty.com