Apache Trail Revisit

Trip Start Jan 08, 2008
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Trip End Apr 09, 2008


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Today we decided to venture further afield.  The Apache Trail, a famous historic drive east of Phoenix, is a favorite from a previous trip. The first visit was an unplanned 'discovery' and as a result, the last portion was travelled in the dark. We started at the Roosevelt Dam and ended in Phoenix.  This time we decided to allow a full day and to travel the distance from Phoenix to the dam, a distance of 32 miles.  Twenty two of these miles are unpaved.  Some of the trail and many of the bridge are one-lane traffic only.  The landscape is rugged but beautiful and provides some 'water landscapes' as well.

This road was originally a native trail and, during the early years of Phoenix settlement, was the only road into the community from the North and East. It was upgraded and used for transportation of the material and supplies required during the construction of the Roosevelt Dam at the end of the 19th century. When it was built, the Roosevelt Dam was the highest masonry stone dam in the world.  It was rebuilt and heightened in the 1990's and forms Roosevelt Lake, the water reservoir for the the Phoenix valley.

We made a brief stops, first in Apache Junction at the foot of Superstition Mtn and then in Tortilla Flats for icecream.  At the second stop we wondered, when we saw water running across the road, what conditions we would experience along the trail. Arizona has experienced 13 years of drought and the smaller reservoirs and creeks are often dry stream beds.  This year there has been more rain and we see instances of small streams throughout the landscape.  However, while the road was washboardy in places, the conditions were good.

We took our time, stopping for photos in a number of places. In the end we decided that we like the views heading west from the dam better although that is really being picky!  In some ways, I think the drive may be more challenging when you travel towards Phoenix as well. 

Once we were back on pavement we made a brief stop at a state park to get info on the cliff dwellings and decided that it would merit a days visit on its own.  Tonto Monument Park is beautiful and it will take time and effort to see the ruins.

The drive back from Globe on Hwy #60 was challenging.  For part of the trip we followed a transport with 'smoking' brakes.  The grades are steep and the road curvy.  The landscape changes in this area. This is mining country and there is evidence of the copper and other mines for many miles along the road.  This area merits another visit!
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