Apache Trail

Apache Trail Looking over a Lake

 Apache Trail is one of the most scenic and historic drives in Arizona. This beautiful drive takes you through the Superstition Mountains, from Apache Junction to the Roosevelt Dam. While the road is in much better shape than it was 20 years ago, it is still not for the faint of heart and definitely not for a large vehicle, like an RV!

The Apache Trail was officially designated as Arizona’s first historic highway. The roadway (or wagon-road) was completed in 1905 for travel, but has been in use for more than a millennium.  But, the Salado used the trail in 900AD.  Other Native Americans used the trail as a migratory route.  But, it is probably most famous for its use by the Apaches and Yavapais for their raids on the Pimas along the Salt and Gila Rivers in the Southern and Western areas of the Superstition Mountains.A Bridge on Apache Trail

The entire Apache Trail is approximately 50 miles, with about 22 of those miles unpaved. However, it is graded and maintained. There are some one-lane bridges and sharp turns, as well as some nice drop-offs. We have easily navigated it in our pickup truck, our mini-van, and our SUV. However, there are all types of vehicles that navigate it. Just expect a dirty, narrow drive for part of the trail and you will be fine. Although, if the forecast calls for rain, save the trail for another day! Arizona is famous for having roads washed out or flooded. But, seriously, there is nothing to worry about. The Apache Trail is a popular road and it is well traveled by all types of vehicles.

Over looking Apache Trail

 

 

 

 

I recommend starting the trail from Apache Junction.  You can get to the Apache Trail (which is also called State Route 88) by taking US 60 to Idaho rd and going North on Idaho Rd to SR 88.  Take a right on SR 88 and follow it all the way! It will take you past Goldfield Ghost town, Canyon Lake, and the little town of Tortilla Flat.

A bit past Tortilla Flat is a parking lot and viewing area called Fish Creek Hill. There are restrooms and walking paths. You will also pass Apache Lake. Near Apache Lake is the turn-off to get to the Reevis Trailhead. This is definitely an awesome vantage point for some gorgeous pictures of Apache Lake and the surrounding areas. We have gone up this path in the winter (and seen snow!) and in the summer. It is always beautiful and you will usually see horses and hikers.

As you continue along the Apache Trail, you can stop along at many vantage points for photos and opportunities to get out and look around briefly.  When you reach the Roosevelt Dam, there are some excellent viewing areas and walkways. (and bathrooms!)  Roosevelt Lake is the end of the Apache Trail, but is a beautiful area to explore.

Roosevelt Dam

When you come to the end of the trail at the Roosevelt Dam, you can either take AZ 188 (left) toward Fountain Hills (AZ rt 87) or Payson, or you can take AZ 188 (right) toward Superior, Miami and Globe, which will take you right back to the US 60.  Of course, you can also head back the way you came, along the Apache Trail! But, I prefer the road to Globe.

If you like Native American cliff dwellings, then a visit to the Tonto National Monument is worth a stop.  It is just a few miles from the junction at AZ188 and SR88, toward Miami/Superior.