Apache Trail

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This article is about the stagecoach trail in Arizona. For 1942 Western film, see Apache Trail (film).
Historic Apache Trail road sign
Apache Trail at Fish Creek Hill
Saguaros along the Apache Trail
Canyon Lake and rainbow

The Apache Trail in Arizona was a stagecoach trail that ran through the Superstition Mountains. It was named the Apache Trail after the Apache Indians who originally used this trail to move through the Superstition Mountains.

The current Apache Trail links Apache Junction (33°24′55″N 111°34′51″W / 33.4152°N 111.5807°W / 33.4152; -111.5807 (Apache Trail, southwestern end)) at the edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Theodore Roosevelt Lake (33°40′21″N 111°09′11″W / 33.6725°N 111.1531°W / 33.6725; -111.1531 (Apache Trail, northeastern end)), through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest.

Today, much of the Apache Trail is paved, and the section east of Apache Junction is known officially as State Route 88. It is also the main traffic corridor through Apache Junction, turning into Main Street as the road passes into Mesa, and regains the Apache name by becoming Apache Boulevard in Tempe, ending at Mill Avenue. Prior to the completion of the Superstition Freeway in 1992, the Apache Junction portion of the Apache Trail was part of US Highway 60, which was rerouted to the Superstition Freeway once it was completed.

The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles (64 km) of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam; there are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers. The trail requires caution when driving and it is not recommended for large RVs, SUVs, or caravans. Some large RV rental companies in the US do not allow their vehicles to be taken on this route.


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