We had driven the trail many times the last time we were here. It was nice to drive it again.
Just a mile or two east of Apache Junction, the road begins to wind and climb through the cactus forest along Superstition Mountain. It passes Canyon Lake, and soon drops into Tortilla Flat.
We picked a good time to arrive at Tortilla Flat, a collection of old west stores and restaurants, popular with snowbirds and tourists. By arriving at about 9:30 am on a Wednesday, we were able to have a nice relaxing breakfast in an almost empty restaurant. With saddles for bar stools, old west memorabilia, and dollar bills tacked on every square inch of walls and ceilings, (looks like wallpaper) Tortilla Flat is fascinating and unique. If you decide to go there, remember that it fills up quickly, even during the week, and a wait of an hour or two is the norm. On weekends, it’s almost impossible to find a parking spot, and the wait for seating is even longer.
Just a couple of miles beyond Tortilla Flat, the road turns to dirt and travel becomes slow and dusty. The scenery is fantastic with mountains, canyons, and cacti of every shape and size. Passing by Apache Lake, the road winds around sharp curves, up and down through hills and valleys, eventually finding pavement again near Roosevelt Dam and Lake.
The Apache Trail is a great drive. If you are in the Phoenix area, take time to enjoy it.
During the month of April the Apache Trail is a good area to view numerous varieties of cactus in bloom. April is also one of the most popular months for touring the Apache trail, so plan ahead. Go on a weekday, especially if you want to spend any time in Tortilla Flat, or if you want to eat in one of the eateries.