• Hidden Sunset Location in Tonto National Forest

  • Arizona is home to some of the best sunsets in the world. Almost everyday, you can catch an amazing sunset in your backyard or in the parking lot of your local grocery store.

Purple, pink, yellow and orange Dirt Road Sunset in Tonto National Forest, Arizona.
Dirt Road Sunset in Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Arizona is home to some of the best sunsets in the world. Almost everyday, you can catch an amazing sunset in your backyard or in the parking lot of your local grocery store. At these locations, you may not have the best view of the horizon, but the sky will still illuminate with the most vibrant of colors. In this blog post, you will discover a unique location to add to your Arizona sunset bucket list.


Why You'll Love This Spot

Driving on road to the Dirt Road Sunset spot with the sunset in view over the mountains in Tonto National Forest.
Beginning of the sunset on State Route 87. Ignore the dirty windshield :)

When searching for your next sunset spot, there's so many different sceneries and landscapes to take advantage of! From the top of a mountain, to a sunset on the lake, to a field of saguaro cacti. An underrated sunset view, in my opinion, would be from the bottom of a mountain, mainly because you can't see miles upon miles in the distance. However, it offers a unique display of the sun painting the sky behind the mountains. It's a good idea to change up the scenery every once in a while to really appreciate Arizona's extensive landscape.

The Hidden Dirt Road Sunset

One of my favorite spots to watch the sunset in Arizona, is right off of State Route 87 (South Beeline Highway)! My friends and I discovered this little gem while heading back home from visiting Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. We were weaving in between the mountains, heading south towards Phoenix, when the sun started to set behind the mountains in the distance.

We began to notice little side roads off of the highway, that weren't marked by an exit sign or anything. There may have been a small sign for the road name but I can't quite remember. When in doubt, safely pull over and navigate on your phone to find this dirt road that leads off the highway in Tonto National Forest area! Search for "Barnhardt Road" in your maps. Be safe and stay off private property.

Eventually, we took one of the tiny exits and were transported to a desert oasis. One of my favorite things about Arizona sunsets are the variety of colors dancing across the sky. I mean look at this view at Barnhardt Road!

Dirt Road Sunset at Barnhardt Road in Tonto National Forest in Arizona
Dirt Road Sunset view from Barnhardt Road.

At the Dirt Road Sunset

Once we reached Barnhardt Road, we parked the car and sat on the trunk to watch the rest of the sunset. There were maybe one or two cars that had joined us, but overall it was a quiet and peaceful spot. The sun had danced on the tiny clouds in the sky, which made the sunset almost 10x prettier.

It's the little things in life. :)

Purple, Yellow, Dark Purple, Orange Dirt Road Sunset in Arizona Tonto National Forest
Silhouette of the mountains as the sun sets behind them.

Arizona has many landscapes to experience different sunsets! Watching the sunset from the ground level, behind the mountains, is the easiest one to catch because there's no hiking involved! It is also one of the prettiest. Personally, I love the silhouette of the mountains! Sure, you can't see all of Arizona from a spot like this, but with minimal effort you get this AMAZING view!


Location Coordinates for the Dirt Road Sunset

Here are the coordinates for this sunset spot on Barnhardt Road!

34.085, -111.357

Here's a visual of the location. The purple hotspots represent where the pictures were taken (thanks Google Photos!). The left-most picture is zoomed in the most, and as you move to the right-most picture it becomes zoomed out so you can see more of the area surrounding this sunset spot!


Tips:
- Head south towards Phoenix from Payson on State Route 87 (South Beeline Highway)
- Eventually you will drive by Barnhardt Road, it will be hidden on the right side of the highway
- Plug in the coordinates to get the exact location so you don't miss it!

We drove past many of these little exits before deciding to take the one for Barnhardt Road, so if you happen to miss it don't worry! There will most likely be another spot similar to this as you keep driving.


For more Arizona sunsets and inspiration for adventure, check out our Instagram, @wildjoyexperiences !


Special thanks to Carmela Brousseau from our Wildjoy team for sharing her secret spot! Check out her personal blog to see her story with this hidden gem!