We drove the entire Apache Trail on a cool (locals would call it cold) sunny weekday. It was a spectacular drive for anyone who loves to drive and is looking for adventure. We set out late morning from south Phoenix and headed for Tortilla Flats, where we planned to enjoy a late lunch. No matter what the weather, be sure to have a full gas tank, plenty of water, and a few snacks in the car. Most trails, picnic spots, and lookout points require that you have a Tonto Forest day pass on display in your vehicle. Buy one online ahead of time or just stop at any gas station along Idaho Road in Apache Junction before making the turn onto Rt. 88 (Apache Trail). They are $6.00. We also were glad to have binoculars and a birds of the southwest identification guide. We took about four hours to drive the entire Apache Trail from Apache Junction to the dam. We stopped at many lookouts but did no hiking. Traffic was almost nonexistent on a cool winter weekday. Most of the traffic was on the paved portion of the drive. This drive is not for the timid driver but it is very doable in any well maintained vehicle. It was a grand automotive adventure and a wonderful way to experience the desert habitat. This drive does take at least three or four hours and dark comes early and fast in the mountains so don't start the drive past midday! This is NOT a road you want to still be on at dusk!!
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