Scenic Drives

White knuckles on the apache trail

If you were to combine the twists and turns of the Pacific Coast Highway and put it halfway up the wall of the Grand Canyon you would just begin to understand the wonder and awe of the Apache Trail.

The Apache Trail, located about 40 minutes west of downtown Phoenix was built as a construction road for the Salt River projects, and followed an ancient Apache Indian path.  The projects were a series of dams on the Salt River to store water for the Valley of the Sun metropolitan area.

After construction the road was numbered state route 88 and opened to the public.  A vast portion, between the Roosevelt Dam and Tortilla Flat is unpaved.  The views on this upper section of the trail are fantastic, as the pictures in this post show.

The route takes you through some of the most rugged driving terrain in the United States.  You literally hang onto the side of the Superstition Mountain range on a barely two car width road.  In some spots, it isn’t even two widths.  Most of the road, except the most treacherous part, has no guardrails.  The speed limit is under 15 mile per hour in most spots, you will be wise to adhere to it.

If you are going to do the trail, a good suggestion would be to go out route 87 just east of Fountain Hills, Arizona until you get to Route 188 just south of Payson, Arizona.  Route 188 will take you to the Roosevelt Dam at the start of the road.

If you’ve driven the route leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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Rob Eno

Rob Eno