Tonto National Forest

The Apache Trail Scenic Byway

The Apache Trail Scenic BywayThe original "Apache Trail" had its beginnings many centuries ago as an aboriginal highway through the rugged Superstition Mountains. By the late 1800s, the "Tonto Trail" (as it was known) became a horse trail for settlers and Indians alike.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation financed the present road so that supplies could be hauled from the Phoenix area to the site of Roosevelt Dam (which was begun in 1905). Responsibility was taken over later by the state of Arizona, and it was made a state highway, state Highway 88.

"APACHE TRAIL" Scenic Byway Map
(21k new window)

In 1908, the area through which the roadway passes was established as a Forest Reserve (later to be designated the Tonto National Forest). The USDA Forest Service administers this area--guided by a variety of federal laws--with the basic mission of protecting its resources while serving the people of this country.

The scenic byway was designated in 1998, and is approximately 39 miles long, winding in and out of some of the most awe-inspiring country in Arizona--or for that matter, in the West. It is bound on the north by Canyon and Apache lakes, and on the south by the rugged Superstition Mountains and the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area.

ROAD CONDITIONS

The scenic byway (with numerous sharp curves and narrow stretches of road) is safe to all but the reckless driver. Traffic is moderately heavy on weekends, less on weekdays. Pulling trailers of any type over this road is strongly discouraged.

A significant part of the byway is unpaved, and is normally suitable for passenger cars. Keep to the right. DRIVE CAREFULLY AT ALL TIMES.

At Fish Creek Hill (Milepost 222.5), the road is primarily one-way (with turnouts), climaxing in a 1,000-foot drop in elevation over a 15-17 percent grade, hugging the bronze bluffs.

For closer viewing and photo-taking, please stop at the vista points where there is safe parking. DON'T look while driving! The road is safe but one must pay close attention to twists, blind-turns, and oncoming vehicles.

Prepare yourself for a most unusual experience: some of the most spectacular scenery to be seen in all of the West.

GAS - FOOD - WATER

Food and water can be obtained at Apache Junction, Tortilla Flat (Milepost 213.5), Apache Lake Resort (Milepost 230.2), and Roosevelt (Milepost 243.8). The only gas or car-repair services are at Apache Junction or Globe-Miami.

Directions

The scenic byway was designated in 1998, and is approximately 39 miles long, winding in and out of some of the most awe-inspiring country in Arizona--or for that matter, in the West. It is bound on the north by Canyon and Apache lakes, and on the south by the rugged Superstition Mountains and the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area.