Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Driving the Apache Trail

Wednesday we decided to drive the whole trail, which is about 40 miles from Apache Junction to Theodore Roosevelt Lake. It winds through rugged desert canyons, passed several reservoirs, Canyon and Apache Lakes, and a narrow twisty unpaved section with steep cliff drops and little to no safety barriers. We definitely wouldn't take the RV on this road though small motorhomes could make it okay. You just need to drive carefully. It isn't much worse than driving the coast of Northern California which we have done a number of times, some in our motorhome. Besides, it is a beautiful drive with amazing scenery, especially in the spring. We drove again to Tortilla Flats, where we turned around last time. This is the start of the unpaved section which goes to Roosevelt Dam. It is around 20 miles or so and you will be driving around 20 miles an hour most of the way. They say give yourself at least 6 hours for the trip, which includes the time to head down to Globe and then west back to the Phoenix area or Usery in our case. Below is Tortilla Flats. We'll have to stop here one of these days. It is small but always busy.

Joe aired down the tires to make it a little less bumpy on the washboard road.




Of course we continue to see wildflowers everywhere.




We reached Fish Creek Hill, the most difficult part of the road where you drive down 1,500 feet in a short distance. We stop for awhile to take in the views.




This is also where some of the twisty roads come in where the roads are so narrow you might need to pull to the side if a car is coming the other way.




We cross several one lane bridges.


There are a fair amount of people driving the trail even though it is in the middle of the week. I don't think I would want to drive this on the busy weekends.




We pass another of the lakes, Apache Lake, which is 17 miles long and looks like another Great Lake for kayaking and other water sports. Itching to get our paddles wet.



Next is Roosevelt Dam and the Roosevelt Lake.

We stopped at a picnic area to have lunch with view of the bridge and lake.


Roosevelt Lake Bridge is the longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge in North America. The bridge, spanning 1,080 feet across Roosevelt Lake, was painted blue to blend in with the lake and sky, letting the form speak. It was named one of the top twelve outstanding bridges in the nation in November 1995. Other bridges cited were the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges.

Lake Roosevelt was formed by the Roosevelt Dam as part of the Salt River project. It is the oldest of six reservoirs created as part of the project. It is also the largest lake or reservoir that is entirely within Arizona.


There are a lot of camping spots on the lake, including National Forest and dispersed camping. We checked out one where camping was right on the water. Reminds me of Lone Rock at Lake Powell. We are penciling this in for our next spot to stay. We headed south to Globe and then west back to our campground. A great day. Oh and the weather has been great. Warm and sunny. Love it.

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