Travel | 2 comments
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Exploring Arizona – Scenic drive on Apache Trail
This world-famous trail was used by Apache Indians as a short-cut through the mountains to reach early Salt River settlers. The trail twists through the back of the Superstition Mountains from Apache Junction to Roosevelt Lake and the town of Globe.
The Apache Trail is a four-hour round trip from Phoenix. Directions: Leave Phoenix via U.S. 60 and 89 east to the Apache Trail. Turn left on Arizona Highway 88 to the Apache Trail. After passing Roosevelt Dam and Tonto National Monument, make the return loop to Phoenix via U.S. 60.
The majority of the trail is paved road and can be easily driven by most vehicles. The trail features volcanic debris, cliff-sided canyons, sparkling lakes, towering saguaro cacti and a vast array of wildflowers. The mountains are generally uninhabited, so take along plenty of water.
The ghost town of Goldfield, the Old Western town of Tortilla Flat (population 6), the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum, Tonto National Monument and Weavers Needle Lookout are a few interesting points along the trail. Other scenic stops include The Lost Dutchman State Park (perhaps you can find the legendary lost gold mine) and Roosevelt Dam.
Old Apache Trail Tour – Superstition Wilderness
courtesy of: Tom Kollenborn
The Apache Trail’s famous Circle Route begins and ends in Apache Junction, Arizona. This 120 mile scenic route is America’s oldest roadway and Arizona’s first Historic Highway. The Apache Trail received that honor on February 25th, 1987. In fact, the Apache Trail has the distinction of being the only recognized Historic and Scenic Highway in Arizona.
The Apache Trail scenic tour will take you through deserts, mountains, by cliff dwellings, along lake shores, through old mining towns and through beautifully eroded canyons. This popular route has been used by tourists since 1915.
The State of Arizona, under the leadership of Governor George P. Hunt in 1919, decided to build a transportation link between Phoenix and the cities of Globe and Miami. Governor Hunt wanted to open the Globe and Miami copper industry to the Phoenix market. The only road in 1919 linking these two important economic centers was the Mesa-Roosevelt Road (Apache Trail) or the long rail route through Tucson, Bowie and Safford.
The Apache Trail was not an efficient roadway for moving goods from place to place. The roadway originally was built as a haul and service road for the construction and maintenance of Roosevelt Dam. For the most part the Apache Trail was a single lane road with occasional pull outs; however the roadway fascinated tourists who visited the area.
In 1919, there were several stations along the Apache Trail that serviced the tourist making the long journey by way of motorcar. There was Government Well, Mormon Flat, Tortilla Flat, Fish Creek Lodge and Snell’s Station between Mesa and Roosevelt Dam. The completion of the Phoenix-Globe Highway through Superior in May of 1922 completed the famous Circle Route that allowed drivers of automobiles to circumnavigate the entire Superstition Wilderness Area, an almost road-less region.
Have a good and healthy season.
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