Directly east about an hour outside of Phoenix is a beautiful scenic drive called the Apache Trail.
The Apache Trail is a 40 mile scenic drive through the Superstitious Mountains. Not only will you get to see beautiful mountain views, but there’s also 3 lakes throughout the entire drive.There is camping and boat docking available at each lake. However, during certain seasons or times of the year camping areas can be closed. During our drive 2 of the camping areas were closed. Why? I really don’t know, but they were closed. Always check online ahead of time to see what camping is open.
I also just want to mention that I’ve developed an obsession with cacti. As in the plural of cactus. mostly the tall ones with the arms that come out from them but these short circular ones are pretty fascinating to me too. Anyway, moving on….
Things to know if you go
The entire trail takes about 2 hours to drive through
That’s without stopping for photos along the way. If you’re stopping for photos it’ll take you longer. NOTE: once you drive through the entire trail, you will be kind of in the middle of nowhere. You’ll be on a highway but still it took us another 1.5 hours to get back home once we had driven through the entire trail. Basically I’m saying, this is a several hour excursion. Budget at least 5 hours if you plan to drive through the entire trail.
Apache Trail is known as one of the best scenic drives in all of Arizona, but it is also extremely dangerous. One of the first places we pulled over to take pictures was off of an extremely steep mountain side. It didn’t take us long to notice that there was car wreckage at the bottom of the mountain, clearly the rubble from a car accident.
About 20 miles into your drive there will be a small “town” called Tortilla Flat
This isn’t a real town. It’s a make shift old-western town, complete with a restaurant and a mercantile store, and an ice-cream shop.
Shortly after Tortilla Flat, the paved road will turn into this dirt road
It will be very bumpy and curvy at times, and as you can see there’s no railing to keep you from tumbling down the mountain 100’s of feet to your death…just saying.
If you have the time and are not freaked about by completing the entire drive, it’s worth it.
Watch for animals
Rattle snakes, mountain lions and stray cattle are very common in this area. Always be on the look out and aware that an animal could jump out at anytime.
There are most definitly not gas stations every 5 miles on this drive, and trust me as beautiful as the scenery is this is not a place you want to be stranded.