Apache Trail Tours, Apache Junction

Must see · Off-Road Tour · Tour
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!"


Donald N. Bentz, “The Doomed City” Frontier Times May 1968.

David P. Billington, et al., The History of Large Federal Dams. . . (US Bureau of Reclamation, 2005)

Kathleen Garcia, Roosevelt Dam (2009)

Athia L. Hardt, ed., Arizona Waterline [1989]

L. L. Lombardi, Tortilla Flat Then & Now (1996)

Salt River Project, The Taming of the Salt (1970)

Stephen C. Shadegg, Century One (1969)

Chester W. Smith, “The Building of the Roosevelt Dam” The Earth August 1909

Karen L. Smith, The Magnificent Experiment, Building the Salt River Reclamation Project, 1890-1917 (1986)

US Dept. of Interior, USGS, US Reclamation Service, annual reports: 1903-04, 1915-16.

Earl A. Zarbin, Roosevelt Dam: A History to 1911 (1984)
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276 reviews
  • Our guide was Sidewinder and we had a great time. We were apparently the first tour going out since Covid started and his normal route was blocked by a locked gate at one point and a work crew at...  more »
  • Our guide was Smokey. He was awesome! Our kids enjoyed the ride just as much as us. We even got to taste some cactus.  more »
  • We did the 2 hour tour with Smokey and it was a very informative and interesting tour. Learned lots about the desert. Smokey was very knowledgeable and friendly and I would highly recommend going with him.
  • Great staff and great Jeep tours! Guides are extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to be around!

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