Navigate your next Arizona road trip with these fun, funky and (mostly) Southwest-produced travel guides and maps.
Wide World of Maps
Google may have cornered the street-map market, but when it comes to less trammeled tracks, nothing beats boots-on-the-ground cartography. Find an assortment of atlases, digital and historical maps, and satellite posters at this map emporium’s locations in Phoenix (2626 W. Indian School Rd.), Mesa (1444 W. Southern Ave.) and North Phoenix (17232 N. Cave Creek Rd.), 800-279-7654, maps4u.com
Horse Trails of Arizona: Mountain Trails and Camps, by Michael C. Yager $17.50. If riding through the desert on a horse with no name stirs your inner cowboy or cowgirl, saddle up with this comprehensive yet succinct guide to horse trails and camps. Yager highlights trails that prohibit motorized vehicles and ban mountain bikes, so you and your steed can gallop in peace.
What Kinda Cactus Izzat?, by Reg Manning $8.95. Every page of this “who’s who of strange plants” is illustrated with cartoons and sketches by Manning, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and Arizona aficionado. Reading his compassionate cacti guide feels like a conversation with your grandfather – comforting, enlightening and chock-full of corny chuckles.
Yours for the Taking: Getting More of Your Share of Desert Gold!, by Ronald S. Wielgus $18.95. This book is dedicated to the “recreational prospector” but could easily turn an amateur treasure hunter into a crackerjack gold digger. Sift through this trove of maps, how-tos, mining arcana and black-and-white photos of Wielgus building his own equipment for solid-gold tips on striking it rich.
Then and Now maps: Arizona Gold/Gems Maps and Arizona Ghost Towns/Sites $12.95 each. History sticklers, rejoice: You no longer have to comb library collections or navigate blurry online maps to see Arizona through the eyes of 19th century cartographers. These nifty packets each contain at least five historical maps with modern overlays to show how much the times – or at least property lines – have been a-changin’.
Fat Tire Tales & Trails: Arizona Mountain Bike Trail Guide, by Cosmic Ray $14.95. Cosmic Ray’s “Original No Jive Pocket Guide” gives you the lowdown on Arizona mountain bike trails, including distance, effort levels (“no sweat” to “Herculean”) and skill levels (novice to “experto desperado”). Everything is hand-drawn and accompanied by inspirational quotes like, “Snack on danger. Dine on death.”
50 Favorite Hikes: Flagstaff and Sedona, by Cosmic Ray $11.95. Cosmic Ray’s wacky, hand-drawn hiking bible has made him a folk hero to nature lovers both hippie and hardcore. The latest edition, printed on “recycled paper with 100 percent blood, sweat and vegetable ink,” has a guide to Sedona vortex hikes. Grab a guide and get far out.