Apache Trail

Apache Junction, Arizona (Maricopa County)

Last Updated: 12/23/2021
4.2 / 5 ( 17 reviews )
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Highlight: Apache Trail
East of Phoenix, Arizona, is the historic Apache Trail which travels through the Superstition Mountains region. The mountains are rugged and unforgiving, but they have a strong and mysterious draw on the adventurous type. While traveling along the Apache Trail, you will be able to access different regions that offer various desert experiences. Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt lakes offer a wonderful reprieve from the desert heat during the summer months. President Theodore Roosevelt, once said "the Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, and then adds an indefinable something none of the others have. To me, it is the most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful." President Roosevelt visited the region to view the large dam named after him, which is found at the end of the route at Roosevelt Lake. As it was once called, the Mesa-Roosevelt road was built from 1903-1905 by contractors vying for the bids on the dams planned for the region. When the Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, the tourists began to flock to the area via wagons and stagecoaches from Globe. To help boost local business, it was eventually decided to rename the road Apache Trail. Although sections follow ancient Native American routes, the name was strictly for the tourists. It's now a popular route for a scenic drive or enjoying one of the many recreation areas that line the route. The Tonto National Forest has numerous recreation areas that can be visited while making your way on the trail. Please keep in mind some recreation areas require a Tonto National Park day-use pass or an Annual National Parks Pass. It is recommended that you obtain a pass in town before beginning the route because the recreation sites do not always have passes.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
This write-up begins at the start of the dirt road, which is 5.5 miles from the Tortilla Flats tourist site. Travel south, continuing on Highway 88.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Apache Junction, Highway 88

From Central Phoenix: Take the I-10 east to 202 east. Get off on Exit 27 for east University Drive and head east. University Drive will become Superstition Blvd. Continue on Superstition Blvd until you reach Highway 88, also known as Apache Trail. This write-up begins where the pavement ends, 5.5 miles past Tortilla Flats.



Land Use Issues

Funding has been the issue to start construction and rebuild this very iconic route. To volunteer your time or donate to keep our trails open, Please visit the TRAL (Tonto Recreation Alliance)

Trail Reviews (17)

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Hello, Taking Bobby's advice to visit in the winter this upcoming year. Is there a trail(s) / Forest Service Rd(s) that is largely off-road that we can take between the Phoenix area up to Sedona that will be open in January? It looks like TOR shows a patchwork of trails, but with significant gaps in the middle between Phoenix and Sedona. Looking forward to expanding our knowledge of beautiful Arizona. We've grown very familiar with Sedona and the surrounding area over the years. We have a competent off road vehicle, but would like to avoid extremely difficult and severe terrain. We're more extreme site seers than rock crawlers (though we do enjoy the occasional recreational crawl through high-moderate conditions).
–Dean Pecce (10/16/2020)
–Todd (10/24/2020)
Q: Hey Bobby, thanks for the great info. Would this be a better excursion than the Saguaro National park areas if we were in the vicinity, and is it / will it be fully open as of early to mid June? We're coming from TN and will be traveling through the area for one day. We prefer off the beaten path. Thanks again!
–Dean Pecce (05/25/2020)
–Bobby Nelson (05/30/2020)
Q: We are new to offroading and very anxious to get our tires dirty. What permits should I have before experiencing Apache Trail?
–Renee Dahl (07/10/2018)
–Bobby Nelson (07/11/2018)

Writer Information

Bobby Nelson

Mapping Crew - Arizona

While living in the Midwest, I developed a passion for searching out new trails and hidden spots. That passion continues to this day in the beautiful southwestern United States. My wife and I are full-time RVers who travel from region to region, exploring every nook and cranny we can find. While we're getting to know the locals, we gain insight into these areas then pass on that knowledge to our subscribers. We truly enjoy traversing long, beautiful back-country routes with epic campsites, but we equally enjoy pushing the limits on challenging rock crawling trails. Our rig was built to do everything, and that's what we hope to share with our subscribers. Please visit our website https://www.xploremor.net to follow us and for opportunities to join us on our adventures. You can also view our vast video library on YouTube. Xploremor YouTube
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