Driving Arizona’s Scenic Apache Trail

Tortilla Flats

While visiting the Phoenix area, if you have time for a day trip, and love to see incredible panoramas, then in my humble opinion, you simply must take a drive on the world famous Apache Trail Scenic Drive.

To help you enjoy your drive on the Apache Trail, I have prepared for you a custom Google Map, complete with turn by turn instructions, and helpful tips.  Depending on how often you stop to gawk at the scenery, you should plan on 7-10 hours to complete this trip.

A great portion of this trip is driving through the Arizona back country, so you should plan to bring along water and snacks.  You should also plan to have great stretches where you will have no cell phone service.

Here are a few tips:

  • Plan to leave around 8:00 a.m. with the idea that you will have a late breakfast at Tortilla Flats.  Tortilla Flats was a stagecoach stop in 1904, and today is a wonderful place to have breakfast/lunch.  Depending on your speed, and how often you stop to enjoy the scenery, you will probably arrive at Tortilla Flats around 10:30ish, if you are leaving from the East side of town.
  • After breakfast, you will head east from Tortilla flats into the vast wilderness of the Tonto National Forest, climb upon dirt roads for the first time, and work your way across the 40 +/- miles of the Apache Trail.
  • At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with views of the Roosevelt Dam, and the Roosevelt Bridge.
  • From the Roosevelt Bridge, you will once again drive on paved roads, and make your way back to Phoenix as you drive through the historic mining towns of Globe and Miami.

I have provided quite a few more tips in my interactive custom Google Map.  Enjoy your trip, and drive safely.

When you get back from your trip, come back, leave me a comment, and tell me about your trip!  I would love to read a little of your adventures.

Comments
6 Responses to “Driving Arizona’s Scenic Apache Trail”
  1. DAve Lines says:

    Just wondering why you have to have a permit to get out of your car in the Tonto National forest.. We live in Oregon and have lots of national forests here and the only time you need a permit is if you are parking at a snow park or popular area. I looks like an interesting drive though. We used to visit the SW quite often when my brother lived in Flagstaff, He is no longer with us so don’t visit quite as often, although we did get down to S Utah last June. Thanks for posting this.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave,

      I was surprised to see a comment before I launched our travel/adventure website.

      We we last traveled the Apache Trail, we stopped to eat our lunch at a remote waterfront location. There were a few picnic benches, and a few outhouses in terms of amenities. The minute we got out of our car, a park ranger headed our way to see if we possessed the Tonto National Forest Pass. We did, but if we hadn’t, he would have asked us to move along, and prevented us from using the park amenities.

      The pass is not required in all places, but evidently where amenities are involved, the pass is required: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/tp/index.shtml

  2. admin says:

    Hi Dave,

    I was surprised to see a comment before I launched our travel/adventure website.

    We we last traveled the Apache Trail, we stopped to eat our lunch at a remote waterfront location. There were a few picnic benches, and a few outhouses in terms of amenities. The minute we got out of our car, a park ranger headed our way to see if we possessed the Tonto National Forest Pass. We did, but if we hadn’t, he would have asked us to move along, and prevented us from using the park amenities.

    The pass is not required in all places, but evidently where amenities are involved, the pass is required: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/tp/index.shtml

  3. admin says:

    Hi Dave,

    I was surprised to see a comment before I launched our travel/adventure website.

    We we last traveled the Apache Trail, we stopped to eat our lunch at a remote waterfront location. There were a few picnic benches, and a few outhouses in terms of amenities. The minute we got out of our car, a park ranger headed our way to see if we possessed the Tonto National Forest Pass. We did, but if we hadn’t, he would have asked us to move along, and prevented us from using the park amenities.

    The pass is not required in all places, but evidently where amenities are involved, the pass is required: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/tp/index.shtml

  4. DAve Lines says:

    Just wondering why you have to have a permit to get out of your car in the Tonto National forest.. We live in Oregon and have lots of national forests here and the only time you need a permit is if you are parking at a snow park or popular area. I looks like an interesting drive though. We used to visit the SW quite often when my brother lived in Flagstaff, He is no longer with us so don't visit quite as often, although we did get down to S Utah last June. Thanks for posting this.

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