Apache Trail Road Trip

Yesterday the Martin clan headed out for our first Arizona road trip! The hikes we’ve been doing lately have left me in awe of nature. So we wanted to spend a couple hours exploring just a tiny portion of this beautiful state. We set out for Route 88 – The Apache Trail. The Apache Trail is a 42 mile long scenic drive through the Superstition Mountains. Breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, cactus and neat little historic towns along the way. Route 88 begins at Apache Junction and ends at the Roosevelt Dam. This is a trip the whole family can enjoy.


The trail can take anywhere from 2-6 hours depending how often stop to enjoy the scenery. If you don’t know by now I love taking photos of my adventures. I want Jack to look back at these memories and see what a fun filled childhood he had exploring the great outdoors. My husband and I agreed that we’d only do a portion of the trail and the remainder of it on a different day without the dogs. If you decide to drive the Apache Trail budget for at least 4 hours. It took us about 3 hours round trip. Part of the trail is paved and the other half is a bumpy dirt road. Also, and I can’t express this enough, please please be careful when driving along this trail. As it is ranked one of the best scenic drives in all of Arizona, it is also pretty dangerous. The road is narrow with lots of switchbacks, and your on a very steep mountain. So please drive cautiously.

A map of the Apache Trail
Goldfield Ghost Town was the first historic town on the Apache Trail. We choose to hit that on way back though.

Canyon Lake

First stop on the trip was the breathtaking Canyon Lake. It is one of three man-made lakes along the Apache Trail. There are several lookout points where the family can pull over and hop out to enjoy the views. Canyon Lake also has a marina, beach area, and an R.V. park. There were lots of folks here kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and hanging in their floaties. This is definitely a summer spot.

If you’d like a better view of the lake and it’s wildlife then you should look into Dolly Steamboat. They offer a variety of cruises that are 90 minutes long for folks to see close up the beauty of this lake. We couldn’t make this happen since we had the dogs with us but maybe on our next trip since this surely won’t be our last visit this way.

As your passing the lake you cross over this one lane bridge. There’s actually a few of these along the trail. So pretty!

I took so many photos of Canyon Lake and this bridge. It was hard to choose just a few to share with you all. I wanted you folks to see the simple beauty of this place.

It was time for us to move on. Up next….

Tortilla Flat

About 20 miles into the drive, was a small town called Tortilla Flat. Although it’s not a real town it is a neat make shift of an old-western type town. At Tortilla Flat you’ll find a restaurant, mercantile store and an ice cream shop. The “town” doesn’t open until 9 so we weren’t able to stop in to grab food as we set out on our road trip early. We scoped the place out though and took some photos. Let Jack and the dogs stretch those little legs of theirs.

Shortly after this the paved road ends and becomes a very windy dirt road. Again please be cautious when driving this route.

Fish Creek Hill

22 miles on Route 88 we were at the half way mark of the Apache Trail. Our turn around point for the road trip was Fish Creek Hill. This was another lookout point that provided a walking path, restrooms, and a tiny pavilion. We all hopped out to get a better view of the canyon.

After all the fun at the top it was time to turn back around.

Some shots from the return trip back 

We had to stop by Canyon Lake once more.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Last stop was Goldfield Ghost Town. Arizona used to be a gold rush town that was established in 1893. Five years later the supply of gold diminished as well as the inhabitants, leaving a ghost town behind. This is the small town that was built near the original sight of the ghost town for tourist purposes. There’s lots of mini shops, a museum, gold mine tour, and even a zip line!

And that was our road trip! We had a great time and the boys were troopers! Loved getting off at all the stops. We definitely want to come back and do some hiking along the trail and finish the remainder of the Apache Trail.


Be Prepared

If you plan to do the entire Apache Trail make sure to be prepared.

– Bring lots of water, especially during the triple digit temps.

-Fill up on gas. It would be real unfortunate to be stuck out in the heat.

-Have a cellphone. I mean chances are you won’t have reception but just in case of an emergency.

– Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunblock)


Hope you enjoyed the read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *