Thursday, March 1, 2018

Apache Trail

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 – Location:  Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, Arizona

During the night we had rain.  At times it came down quite hard.  This morning when I peeked out my window, I saw the real Superstition Mountains.  Dark and foreboding veiled in clouds and fog.


Had breakfast and around 9:30, Deb, Riley, Yuma and I jumped in Deb’s Dogsled and headed up AZ88 for the Apache Trail.  We made the decision to forego hiking today because there was quite a bit of cloud cover with a cool breeze.  Best if we stayed in the warm truck today.

Now I’ll admit upfront I thought the drive would be about 25 miles and we would be back home by early afternoon, no problem.  In reality, it was 40 miles and a portion of the drive was on very bad road going around 5-10 miles an hour. 

So, instead of a three hour drive, it was over six hours.  It turned out to be a long day but a fun day.  It is one of those drives you do once and that’s it.  Seen it, done it, done!

We first stopped at the Superstition Mountain Museum to take a look around and hopefully to get some hiking information.  It was kids day and there were lots of kids enjoying the Museum.


Beautiful outdoor miniature train setup.


This is a huge stamp press used to crush rocks into small grains so the gold could be extracted from it.


Forget the name of this contraption but it crushes rocks so gold could be extracted but on a much smaller scale.  The large stone in the middle is pulled over smaller rocks crushing them.   Normally, pulled by a burro or donkey, but today pushed by children.


We then headed a short way down the road and stopped for some pictures at a scenic place.  So happened there were horses and riders just getting ready to head down the trail for the day.



We made a quick stop at Lost Dutchman’s State Park to ask about hiking information and the cost of admission.  Thinking this would be a great place for trailheads for hiking.  The lady at the park entrance said it was $7 per carload and with payment they would provide hiking brochures.  Probably be back.  The low cloud cover was still shrouding the mountain.  This is the view of Superstition Mountain from the entrance of the park.


First stop was Canyon Lake.




The tourist boat on the lake was named after my wife Dolly.


Buzzed by the little tourist trap, Tortilla Flats without stopping.  The place was packed.


The views of the tall mountains around us was rugged and beautiful.  Just can’t imagine how anyone crossed these mountains on horse in the old days.   You can see our little one lane strip of rough road winding through the mountains.






The last lake we passed before reaching our destination was Apache Lake.



Thinking it was only about a 20 mile drive, I must have told Deb and Riley a hundred times, the dam is just around the next corner.  After awhile they just weren't believing me.  But, finally we did turn that last corner and I was right.  There was the Roosevelt Dam, just like I said it would be.



Worth all the hype?  You’ll have to ask Deb and Riley.  Just on the other side of the dam was the Roosevelt Dam Bridge.  I think it is a beautiful arch bridge.



Apache Trail dead ends into AZ188.  Turn left and you go to Payson.  Turn right you go to Globe.  We were so tired of bad road, we made the decision to head towards Globe and catch hwy 60 to Apache Junction.

As we headed towards Globe, we made one quick stop at the Tonto National Forest Cliff dwellings.  There are two dwellings, the upper and lower.  We could only see the lower dwellings.

We were just beat from our long drive up here, so didn’t take the walk up to the dwelling.  It was already closing in on 4 o’clock. Look at all those Saguaros!


Roosevelt Lake surrounded by mountains.



Passed Top-of-the-World on our way down through the Superstition Mountains heading towards Apache Junction.  Poor Yuma was yawning and whining because of the pressure in his ears as we headed towards the desert floor.


Just as we got to our site I went into my MH to take the solar panel out.  When I stepped out, Deb was talking to a striking Ranger.  He was all decked out in riot gear, so I thought the worst.  Turns out he just wanted to let us know there was a 14 day limit to our stay on BLM land.  We assured him we would be gone within 14 days and he was on his way.

Time for the horses to come in and call it a day.


Had just enough time to get dinner done and turn on the TV for the first episode of “Survivor” 2018.  Turned out to be a two hour special, so this blog is a little late today.

See you later.


  1. That sure was one long sightseeing day lots of nice pictures so much to see out there in this part of the country.

    1. It was awesome! That trail runs right through the mountains. Makes you wonder how they ever got the road built as difficult it is in there.

  2. Wow. You all had a full day and lots of great pictures! Ben would love that train setup. The mountains and lakes are beautiful. Glad to see my boat was still running. 😀

    1. Thanks Dolly. It was some train setup. Those kids really liked it. And Ben would too. The boat was ready to take off on a water tour.

  3. Glad you and the gang enjoyed the Apache Trail. I have read that many people don't attempt to drive beyond Tortilla Flats either because the road is too scary and/or their vehicle is not good enough to make it safely. Lost Dutchman is one of the most beautiful state parks anywhere - just the campground is jaw-dropping - it is worth $7 many times over. Survivor was great last night - glad you got to see it. WeatherBug says you have pure sunshine and low 70's today and into the future. You guys have sure hit the weather jackpot ! Perfect. 😎

    1. Thanks Moonfly. I'm ready for some nice weather.

      Will be going back to the State Park that's for sure. Right up next to the mountain.

      Survivor was great last night. Glad I didn't miss it. Two hours. Didn't expect that. Blog was late.

  4. The boat ride on Canyon Lake is worth the time, not cheap but the walls of the lake are quite sheer which make the views quite spectacular. Saw lots of Big Horn Sheep last time and we'll probably do it again this year.

    1. I'm sure it would be beautiful. Lots of tourists were getting aboard while we were there.

      I think it was $23. Not bad at all.

  5. The drive on Apache Trail is one of our favorite drives. When we drove it in 1966 the road was dirt all the way from the dam to past Tortilla Flats. We were pulling a popup trailer and met two vehicles along the way and I had to be on the outside part of the road. I asked my wife what could she see along side of the road and her replay was water. We were within 4 inches of the drop off.

    1. I bet it was rugged in 1966. Even today pulling a trailer would be terrifying. I must say those bumps in the road will wear you down. You should do it again to compare if you have the opportunity.

  6. Yeah, no one is mentioning that that drop-off is about 1,000' at the top. I accidentally ended up there thinking it was just a dirt road and I was up for a drive in my Jeep I had at the time. I was really scared, but too scared to turn around.

    Canyon Lake is where I took the inflatable kayak for it's maiden voyage. Nice place.

    1. That would be a beautiful lake to kayak. Bet you had a wonderful time. Those mountains are as rugged as it gets outside of the Rockies. Easy to get into trouble if you're not careful. We had so much fun looking at the views on Apache Trail. Couldn't stop clicking the camera.

  7. What great pictures of your drive and the museum. Tom and I have had those short drives turn into the whole day but every time we look back and know it was worth it. From your's and Deb's pictures I would say this was one of those rides.

    1. Thanks Deb. It was a great road trip, but one your body tells you to do only once in a great while. We took so many pictures. Everywhere you turn it was breath taking! If you two haven't driven it yet, be sure to put it on your list if you're ever in the area. Even the ride down through Globe and back was beautiful. And the road was much better too. Getting too old for all the jostling around on those wash board roads full of ruts.

  8. Wow..what great pictures and narrative..Beautiful place to go! Looks awesome! Looks like a scary road, but the scenery is awesome! Hope your weather is awesome while you all are there!

  9. What can I say that I haven't already? It was the most stunning drive I've ever taken. The views just didn't stop no matter where we looked. Thanks for the guided tour, truly worth the effort.

    I couldn't believe it when just around the corner was the dam! It was truly a sight. Who would have thought it would show up right there? Hahaha...

    Thanks again for sharing the drive and day!! We had a fantastic time Doug.

  10. We did the same drive you did and came back to Dutchman State Park through Globe and Apache Junction as well and yes I recall it being a long drive too.