Bisbee Az


Bisbee Arizona is a hidden jewel that every Vanlifer must visit if in Southern Arizona. Bisbee is an old mining town that has a rich history and thriving art and music scene to enjoy. There is also great hiking in the area and even a mine tour. I highly recommend visiting Bisbee if you find yourself in the area. 


Bisbee, Arizona, located in the Mule Mountains, has a rich mining history. Founded in 1880, it swiftly grew into a thriving copper mining town, attracting fortune hunters from all over. The discovery of vast copper reserves spurred its growth, propelling it to become one of the greatest cities between St. Louis and San Francisco by the early 1900s. However, like many mining towns, Bisbee faced obstacles such as labor strikes and economic downturns. Despite these failures, Bisbee’s strong spirit prevailed, and today it is a thriving community noted for its beautiful appeal, diversified arts scene, and intriguing mining legacy preserved in historic buildings and museums. 

Bisbee Massacre

The Bisbee massacre happened on December 8, 1883, when six outlaws from the Cochise County Cowboys looted a general store in Bisbee, Arizona. They timed the robbery badly, believing the general store’s safe held a $7,000 mining payroll, and were only able to steal between $800 and $3,000, as well as a gold watch and jewelry. During the robbery, gang members killed five individuals, including a police officer and a pregnant mother. Six guys were convicted of robbery and murder.

Bisbee Fly Competition

In 1912, the municipality of Bisbee, Arizona, decided to gamify its pest response by rewarding the most passionate fly-swatters. At that time, flies carried deadly diseases such as typhoid and cholera.  

After several typhoid epidemics, Bisbee, Arizona, declared it was tired of these bugs appearing in large numbers and making people sick. So, the Bisbee Commercial Club organized the Bisbee Fly-Catching Contest.

Throughout August 1912, the town encouraged citizens to catch as many flies as possible. At the end, the person who smacked and/or caught the most flies got a prize. Richard Phillips won ten dollars after collecting around half a million flies.


Bisbee, Arizona, is one of my favorite small towns ever. The town has a very rich history and a unique look to it. There are plenty of activities to do for any van lifer. These activities include learning about the rich history of the town, visiting one of its famuse drinking establishments, hiking up to the big “B”, or taking atour of the Bisbee Queen Mine.


There are a few hiking trails that you can take from city center. The two main trails are a short hike to the Bisbee “B” and the Cross. Both are situated above the town and offer great views. Both are short and easy.

Bisbee Queen Mine Tour

There is a good mine tour that you can take to explore the abandoned mine. The tour takes you underground and is a good way to learn about mining and the history of Bisbee. 

Mountain Biking

The surrounding hills of Bisbee offer excellent mountain biking. You will find local mountain bikers racing up and down the hills to build up their endurance since the elevation is above 5000 feet.

Weird Wild West Van Gathering

One of the best Van Life Gathering happens in Bisbee called the Weird Wild West. The event is put on by The Journal of Lost Time and is a great place to mingle with your fellow vanlifers. 


Bisbee is an easy place to camp. There are several campgrounds and BLM land around the town, and you can also stealth camp in one of the local parking lots.

Working Out

There is a great workout facility located in the back of the courthouse that you can enjoy. Along with the workout facility, there’s a basketball court, picked ball courts, and a swimming pool. 

Bisbee 1000, “The Great Stair Climb”

The most unique exercise challenge in the United States! is the Bisbee 1000. Some people say that the Great Stair Climb is one of the strangest and hardest events in the world. The 4.5-mile course has nine stairs with more than 1000 steps in total. They are linked by winding roads. Runners and walkers get to see some of Old Bisbee’s most beautiful parts while enjoying the challenge. Enjoy your trip up and down the stairs and roads in European-style Bisbee!

It’s a privilege to have Bisbee, Arizona, for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.


Located on State Route 80 in Southern Arizona, Bisbee is a 30-minute drive south of Tombstone, AZ.

References and Links:

Historical Landmark

Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Nestled in the rugged landscapes of southeastern Arizona, Fort Bowie National Historic Site offers an immersive experience for van lifers seeking a journey through the annals of American history. This site, situated in the Chiricahua Mountains, preserves the remnants of a once-vital military outpost that played a pivotal role in the turbulent history of the American Southwest during the late 19th century.

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Silver City, NM

Silver City, New Mexico, beckons van lifers with a tapestry of outdoor adventures. From hiking in the Gila National Forest to fishing in the Gila River, mountain biking rugged trails, and camping in pristine nature, the options are diverse. Additionally, boondocking offers the ultimate freedom. The town of Silver City complements these outdoor pursuits with a vibrant arts and culture scene, making it a well-rounded destination for van life enthusiasts.

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