Morenci is a copper-mining town in Eastern Arizona.
Morenci and neighboring Clifton share a common history of copper mining, and are today commonly referred to as the Clifton-Morenci district. Copper was discovered in Morenci in 1872 and mining began the following year. Both towns have had a cyclical history of booms and busts, and today downtown Clifton is nearly abandoned, with most economic activity centered in Morenci. The area's largest employer is Freeport-McMoRan.
Geronimo is said to have been born near the current site of Clifton, and well-known southwest impressionist artist Ettore DeGrazia was born in Morenci.
The only direct access to Morenci and Clifton is via US Highway 191, aka the Coronado Trail, considered to be the least-traveled federal highway in the US. The closest town of any size is Safford, which is about a 45-minute drive to the southeast.
There is no public transportation, so it essential to have your own car.
- 1 Morenci Mine, toll-free: . F Sa 8:30AM, 1:30PM (reservations required). Operational since 1881, the Morenci Mine is the largest open pit copper mine in the US and one of the largest in the world. Tours of the working mine provide a fascinating glimpse of the mining process. Visitors are paired with retired miners from the community. Tours last 2.5 hours and depart from the Morenci Motel. $8 (adults) $7 (seniors), $4 (youths 9-17); children under 9 not permitted; group rates offered.
- 2 Morenci Mine Overlook. This spot provides a unique vantage point for the mining operation. Free.
- 3 Greenlee Historical Museum, 299 Chase Creek, Clifton, ☎ , . T Th Sa 2PM-4:30PM, or by appt. A small museum dedicated to the mining history of Clifton and Morenci. Free.
- 1 Rock hunting in Limestone Canyon (Limestone Gulch) (northeast of Clifton). Limeston Canyon has extensive deposits of agate, red jasper, and rhyolite.
- 2 Mares Bluff, Ward Canyon Rd (trailhead) (south of Clifton). This steep but short trail leads to a good view of Clifton and the peaks and gulleys of the surrounding area. The trail was constructed as a veterans memorial, with numerous plaques lining the path. Plan on about half an hour for the round trip hike.
- 1 Chase Creek Marketplace, 215 Chase Creek St (Clifton), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. A small shop with locally-made handcrafted gifts.
Morenci and Clifton are not known for haute cuisine, although it is possible to get a decent meal here.
- 1 Copper Canyon Cafe, 106 Plaza Loop (Bashas' Shopping Center), ☎ . Reliable Mexican food, free wi-fi.
- 2 Copper Room Restaurant and Lounge, 261 Burro Alley (in the Morenci Motel), ☎ . Buffet.
- 3 PJs, 307 Coronado Blvd, Clifton, ☎ . Diner food.
- 4 R & R Pizza Express, 9 Morenci Mall (off of Hwy 191), ☎ . The only pizza place in town, with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.
- 5 Bashas', 172 Plaza (Hwy 191 and Burro Alley), ☎ . M-F 5AM-10PM, Sa-Su 6AM-10PM. The only grocery store in town.
There are just a few options in town for accommodation.
- 1 Morenci Motel, 261 Burro Alley, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Rode Inn Motel, 30 Coronado Blvd, Clifton (off of Hwy 191), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 3 North Clifton RV Park, 380 Frisco Ave (Clifton), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: NorthCliftonRVPark@cableone.net. Full hook-ups for RVs, with sites for tents. Laundry facilities, showers, toilets, limited free Wi-Fi. Call for availability. RVs: $19/night, $95/wk, $325/mo; tents: $10/night.
|Routes through Morenci|
|Sanders ← Eagar-Springerville ←||N S||→ Safford → Willcox|