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Apache Trail Scenic Drive

#172 of 1,840 things to do in Arizona
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Address: Apache Trail, AZ 85117
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00:00 - 23:59
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Sun - Sat 00:00 - 23:59
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Description:

The existing Apache Trail in Arizona is a 120 mile circle route through the...

The existing Apache Trail in Arizona is a 120 mile circle route through the Superstition Mountains. It was named the Apache Trail after the Native American Indians who originally used this trail to migrate through the Superstition Mountains for over 1,000 years. The current Apache Trail links Apache Junction at the edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Theodore Roosevelt Lake, through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest. Today, much of the Apache Trail is paved, and the section east of Apache Junction is known officially as State Route 88. It is also the main traffic corridor through Apache Junction, turning into Main Street as the road passes into Mesa, and regains the Apache name by becoming Apache Boulevard in Tempe, ending at Mill Avenue.

Prior to the completion of the Superstition Freeway in 1992, the Apache Junction portion of the Apache Trail was part of US Highway 60, which was rerouted to the Superstition Freeway once it was completed. The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles (64 km) of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam; there are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers. The trail requires caution when driving and it is not recommended for large RVs, SUVs, or caravans. Some large RV rental companies in the US do not allow their vehicles to be taken on this route.

Originally, and more historically correct, Apache Trail was built as a wagon route for the construction of Roosevelt Dam from 1902-1909 and was originally called the "Mesa to Roosevelt Road." Roosevelt, Fish Creek Station, Tortilla Flat Station, Mormon Flat Flat Station, Pinto Creek and Youngsberg aka Goldfield are just a few of the many historic landmarks along the America's oldest highway, the Apache Trail. As the old Southern Pacific Railroad used to say, "Every mile a scene worth while! Sunshine all the way!"

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Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat One Day Van Tour
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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So Cool

Apache Junction and surrounding area was such a nice drive. Nice hi-ways and great scenery. Hidden lakes and stops. Highly recommend.

Reviewed 6 days ago
Kelly R
via mobile

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468 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 424: English reviews
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Apache Junction and surrounding area was such a nice drive. Nice hi-ways and great scenery. Hidden lakes and stops. Highly recommend.

Helpful?
Thank Kelly R
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

We are so glad you enjoyed the ride! Thank you for your honest review! More 

Dawsonville, Georgia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 week ago

This was the worst ride of my entire life! I was scared to death and had several panic attacks on this journey! NEVER EVER AGAIN IN MY WHOLE LIFE WILL I MAKE THIS TRIP!

Helpful?
Thank HansiH71
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

What was it about the ride you did not like? The views on this road are one of the most spectacular in the state of Arizona. More 

nj
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a must do if you love nature and scenic views. In my opinion every bit as breathtaking as the Gran Canyon. Its a crazy drive on a narrow dirt road but so breathtaking. Make sure your driver is up for the challenge. That said, there are a few places to turn around if its too much for you.... More 

Helpful?
Thank cocogirl22
Apache T, Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

So glad you enjoyed the Apache Trail! Be sure to download our map next time on our website or Facebook page! Apache Trail thanks you! More 

Queen Creek, Arizona
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I went west to east, from Tortilla flats to Roosevelt. I did the ride on an adventure motorcycle. The scenery was amazing, but the road was really rough most of the way. It was all washboard and in need of grading. I had a nice cool morning and there were very people on the road. It probably took me about... More 

Helpful?
Thank Chad T
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

The road is usually graded by AZDOT regularly but once it rains the road washes out in certain sections until they do their regular grading. I do suggest taking a SUV or 4x4 for a more comfortable and safe ride. You sure are an adventurous one to take a motorbike! Glad you had a great time! More 

columbus
Level Contributor
82 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We had no idea, this scenic drive is so beautiful and has so many different things to see and experience..... Glad we went on the drive. We wish we had more time. At a minimum you need 4 hours to do a nice portion of the trail. Ideally you can dedicate 8+ hours and enjoy the entire trail.

Helpful?
2 Thank GCV1
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

Thank you for touring the Apache Trail! You can download our map on our website and Facebook page! More 

Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Driving along AZ 88 is a great way to spend a day admiring vistas that remind you of the scenery in an Old Western movie. You will see every kind of cactus - many were blooming this time of year. But it's the landscape that steals the show. The paved road ends at Tortilla Flat so be prepared for a... More 

Helpful?
Thank Vera H
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

Thank you for touring the Apache Trail! You can download our map on our website and Facebook page! More 

Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
152 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

If you're looking for cheap entertainment and love the AZ scenery, take a drive out Apache Trail. The road turns to dirt part way up, but is very well maintained. The scenery is beautiful....be sure to stop numerous times alone the way! This is not a drive for motorbikes, vehicles towing long trailers and by evidence of a smashed motor... More 

Helpful?
Thank Firegirl509
Apache T, Public Relations Manager at Apache Trail Scenic Drive, responded to this review

Thank you for traveling the Apache Trail and driving safe! More 

Nashville
Level Contributor
380 reviews
139 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Our friends had been on this drive before and wanted to take us to see the beautiful scenery. We were not disappointed. We left Mesa around 2 in the afternoon and returned to Mesa by 7pm. We did not drive all the way to Roosevelt Lake, but turned around at Apache Lake and campground and drove back toward Mesa. A... More 

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Thank PamC54
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
103 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2017

Agree - it's a winding, dusty, slow, mountain drive. And great. It's paved to Tortilla Flats (a tourist rip-off in my view). Only after Tortilla Flats does it really get interesting. The bumpy road crawls up and down the mountain, consistently moving into the depths of the mountains. There is a great viewing area at the entrance to Fish Creek... More 

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3 Thank MikeB1952
Milford, NH
Level Contributor
111 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2017

A 40 mile drive along the Salt River through the Superstition Mountains. Beautiful views of canyons, geologic formations, desert plants and in the spring, wild flowers and flowering cacti. Most of the road is a maintained dirt road. It is very narrow in spots and guardrails are few and far between. It is a slow drive, but very worthwhile, especially... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Michael D

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