We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Spectacular Experience!”

Apache Trail Scenic Drive
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Tour
Ranked #63 of 495 Sights & Landmarks in Arizona
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: 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!"
Reviewed January 15, 2013

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!!

8  Thank MedinaMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (498)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

355 - 359 of 498 reviews

Reviewed January 15, 2013

Some of the most beautiful cliffs and canyons in the U.S.! Roads get quite rough after paving ends past Tortilla Flat, but it is well worth the bumpy ride! Tortilla Flat is a nice stop, but fortunately we didn't arrive there at meal time, as prices seemed very expensive for their sandwiches and snacks. There are ample rest stops along the way with restrooms and plenty of pull off areas for pictures of the amazing views.

1  Thank gammy57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2013

The first part of this trip from Apache Junction offers some really extraordinary scenery. The detailed trip descriptions found in guide books and online are accurate enough but be forewarned: when the pavement ends, this is a rough road. For many, maybe most, drivers, doing the first five miles of unpaved road up to the Fish Creek vista or will be sufficient: you get 90% of the fabulous views and avoid 80% of the worst road surface. And there are no amenities beyond this point for 20 miles. This trip has some of the same botanical features you see in Saguaro National Park but adds amazing rock formations, buttes, and valleys. There are very few explanatory markers so I suggest gathering some background information to have at hand while you drive.

6  Thank DavidB371
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

Take this trip on a sunny day. There's 22 miles of dirt/gravel road, and while it's well-maintained, it could be deadly if wet or snow-covered. The mountain scenery is spectacular, so dedicate a full morning or afternoon for the trip from Apache Junction to Roosevelt Dam. The scenic overlooks at Fish Creek Gorge and Apache Lake are particularly photogenic.

We drove this road in a low-road-clearance, sporty compact car, and it was fine, if a bit tooth-rattling. But with the "corrugated metal" texture the gravel develops, you can't maintain any kind of speed -- so relax and enjoy the ride.

3  Thank Bob T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

It has been awhile since I have been to Arizona but my favorite part of the trip was the Superstition Mountains and the Apache Trail. The mountains were so incredible and the scenic by way was a beautiful drive! If you are looking for a fun road trip, I would highly recommend the Apache Trail and Superstition Mountains!!!!

Thank Sarah S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Apache Trail Scenic Drive also viewed

Arizona, United States
Apache Junction, Central Arizona

Been to Apache Trail Scenic Drive? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing