Sprinkled through the small Southern Arizona communities of Safford, Pima, Thatcher, Solomon, Clifton, Duncan, Willcox, and York are a dozen Mexican restaurants, a family owned tortilla factory and a chile grower. These locally owned small business have all joined together to create the Salsa Trail®.
In a world where change seems constant, the constant on the Salsa Trail is great food and a consistency of service that spans decades. Chances are that the person who greets you, the waitress who serves your food, and the cook who prepares the traditional Mexican recipes, have been on the job for 10, 15, 20 years or more. You can visit all the Salsa Trail businesses online at www.salsatrail.com.
Graham County’s Many Offerings
The scenic Old West Highway connects the communities and businesses, which are all within a 40-mile radius of Safford – about an hour and a half east and slightly north of Tucson and less than three hours south of Phoenix.
In addition to good food and friendly folks, tourists are beginning to discover the natural beauty and tucked away attractions that dot the map along the Salsa Trail®. There are over 4 million acres of National Forest and protected Wilderness lands, pristine high desert beauty, the lush Gila Valley, and towering pines on Mount Graham. Graham County is filled with so many things to do in its terrific little communities and has some of the most beautiful scenic terrain in the entire Southwest. It’s no wonder first-time visitors frequently come back for more. You can see all there is to do at www.VisitGrahamCounty.com.
Arizona’s Salsa Trail – Also in Print
Arizona’s Salsa Trail is also the title of a new book, edited by former Arizona Highways editor Robert J. Early, that helps tourists further explore the destinations near the Salsa Trail®. Arizona’s Salsa Trail is a fun guide to culinary tourism in Southeast Arizona.
The book is rich with photography and features all the family-owned restaurants along the Salsa Trail®, 37 original recipes (including Sandra Day O’Connor’s mother’s tamale pie recipe) and more than 30 not-to-be-missed attractions when you visit the Trail. Activities include food destinations and regional activities such as visiting farms, museums, parks, walking tours and scenic drives, birding activities, geothermal areas and backcountry spots. This book along with other Salsa Trail® merchandise is available for purchase at the Salsa Trail's® venues and online store.
SalsaFest – The Salsa Trail’s® Annual Festival
Every year in September, the Salsa Trail® celebrates everything salsa with an annual SalsaFest in Safford Town Square. The event features salsa-making contests, a festival marketplace, salsa music and dancing, food demonstrations, a kids' area, jalapeño- and salsa-eating competitions, prizes, a Salsa Walk, Balloon Glow and tethered hot-air balloon rides.
In 2008, the Salsa Trail® received the Governor’s Award for the most innovative tourism project. This year Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proclaimed September 2009 as Arizona’s Salsa Trail month and recognized the Salsa Trail® as an important tourism promotion that has significantly contributed to the economy of Graham County and of Arizona. The proclamation also recognizes the annual SalsaFest and the Arizona’s Salsa Trail book. Download a copy of the proclamation here.
(Brought to you by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce.)