- Type: Drives
NileGuide Expert Says:
This scenic drive is a must for Nature Lovers. It's a great way to get off the beaten path of Southeast Phoenix/Mesa and enjoy some beautiful desert landscaping.
- This Scenic Byway travels west to east from Apache Junction for about 50 miles through the Tonto National Forest, in the Mesa and Tonto Basin Ranger Districts. It passes south of Canyon Lake and north of the Superstition Wilderness Area. It then passes south of Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
The original "Apache Trail" had its beginnings many centuries ago as an aboriginal highway through the rugged Superstition Mountains. By the late 1800's, the "Tonto Trail" (as it was known) became a horse trail for settlers and Indians alike. The present road was financed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation so that supplies could be hauled from the Phoenix area to the site of Roosevelt Dam (which was begun in 1905). Later responsibility was taken over by the State of Arizona, and it was made a State highway. This popularly traveled route is a trip back in time. Stretching from Apache Junction to Roosevelt Lake, this scenic byway is a popular route for winter visitors to view the majestic desert. The Scenic Byway portion of the "Apache Trail", with numerous sharp curves and an occasional narrow stretch of road, is safe to all but the reckless driver. Traffic is moderately heavy on weekends but on weekdays it is lighter. On weekdays, on is apt to meet a road grader or work crew. Pulling trailers of any type over this road is discouraged.