“The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have. To me, it is the most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has ever created.” – President Theodore Roosevelt
At Lost Dutchman State Park, not only are you at the doorstep of the Superstition Mountains, but you are also at the beginning of the only drive in Arizona designated as both a Historic Road and a National Scenic Byway. This route along the Salt River was used by Native Americans for centuries before it was widened to bring supplies during the construction of the Roosevelt Dam. It winds its way in Sonoran Desert splendor along the side of green lichen-covered sheer cliffs, among towering saguaros, and overlooks deep blue canyon reservoirs.
Along the Apache Trail stop at Canyon Lake and rent a boat at the marina, take a guided lake tour on the Dolly Steamboat, or have a meal overlooking the water at the Lakeside Restaurant and Cantina. If you’ve brought your gear, it’s an easy 3-mile paddle to The Point, three spacious campsites accessible only by boat.
Continue your journey to Tortilla Flat, population 6, where the gift shop serves deliciously pink prickly pear ice cream. Heartier appetites can be satisfied by a burger at the Tortilla Flat Restaurant, where the wallpaper is made up of dollar bills. A side trip takes you to Horse Mesa Dam overlooking Apache Lake. Farther up the Trail, spend the night at Burnt Corral recreation site with your tent at the water’s edge.
The lobby of the Apache Lake Marina and Resort boasts a photo tour of the construction of the historic Roosevelt Dam, and at the top of the Trail you can see the sight for yourself. There are plenty of camping opportunities at Roosevelt Lake; our pick is Cholla Campground, which offers tent-only sites overlooking the largest lake on the Salt River. Nearby, the Tonto National Monument offers you the opportunity to tour 700-year old cliff dwellings left by the Salado people.