Apache Trail in Arizona

The Apache Trail in Arizona is a scenic, mostly unpaved, road that goes from Theodore Roosevelt Lake to Apache Junction. It is officially known as AZ 88. And, it meanders through parts of the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest.

Photography along Arizona’s Apache Trail

We decided to spend several weeks at the Apache Lake marina campground in February and March and thoroughly explore this scenic route. We have included photographs of our favorite places. If you want to follow our route, here’s a link to a tourist map of the area from the Arizona Hikers Guide website.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake Bridge

We started our photographic journey at the junction of AZ 188 and AZ 88 – Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The first thing that caught our eye was the Roosevelt Lake Bridge on AZ 188 that crosses the narrow portion of the lake near the dam. For all you factoid hunters, it is the longest two-lane, single-span, steel-arch bridge in North America!

After making camp down at Apache Lake, we drove back to the bridge in time for sunset. After taking shots from various vantage points along the road, we followed an access road to the base of the bridge in order to get some interesting shots looking up the the graceful arches. Here are some of those shots:

Theodore Roosevelt Dam

Built between 1905 and 1911, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam provides flood control throughout the Salt River valley. Originally built of rubble, it was completely resurfaced in concrete in the 90’s. As a result, it is a stunning subject for photographers. Like the bridge, it is best to photograph the dam in the late afternoon and evening. Here are a few photos of the dam:

Tonto National Monument

Tonto National Monument is near the junction of AZ 188 and AZ 88. And, it showcases two Salado-style cliff dwellings. The day we visied it was raining. The good news is that the low-hanging clouds and fog added “atmosphere” to otherwise standard scenes. Here are some photos, without rain spots, from the Lower Cliff Dwellings. To learn more abou this National Monument go to the National Park Service site: https://www.nps.gov/tont/index.htm.

Apache Lake

Apache Lake is one of four reservoirs created during the Salt River Project in the 1920s. And it has a marina, hotel and campground. It served as out base of operations during our photographic exploration of the Apache Trail.

The lake and the surrounding hillsides were very photogenic due to the lush spingtime growth, the frequent rain, and the numerous Saguaro cacti. Here are some of our favorite photographs from Apache Lake:

Reavis Trailhead Road

Forest Service Road 212, known as the Reavis Trailhead Road turns off AZ 88 just south of the entrance to the Apache Lake Marina and Resort. It heads uphill and terminates at the Reavis Ranch Trailhead.

Along the way, there are stunning views overlooking Apache Lake, as well as views into the rugged hills and vallies to the east. Here are some of our favorite photos from this 3-mile dirt road.

Selected scenes along the Trail

There are numerous places along the Apache Trail to stop and photograph the scenery. So, we lumped these photos into a separate gallery. These photographs capture a variety of places, including Fish Creek Canyon, Tortilla Flat, Canyon Lake, and Apache Gap.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Now we are venturing into tourist-land. Goldfield Ghost Town is a reconstructed 1890s toen, repleat with gold-mine tours, gun fights, saloons, and museum. It is located at the northeast edge of Apache Junction near the entrance to Lost Dutchman State Park. Here is a website with more information: http://goldfieldghosttown.com/.

Thank goodness most folks wanted to take advantage of the tours, fights, and food. That fact ensured that some of the more interesting outdoor exhibits were relatively people-free. Here are some of the interesting scenes we encountered:

Superstition Mountains Museum

Our last stop along the Apache Trail was the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum. It is also in Apache Junction, just beyond Goldfield Ghost Town.

The only thing we were interested in photographing was the Elvis Chapel. There were other exhibits of interest, but, due to the time of year, the museum was just too crowded. To learn more about this attraction, go to: http://superstitionmountainmuseum.org.

Purchasing our photographs

All of our scenic photographs are available as fine art prints. Use the contact form to the right to get more information. Or, go to our Fine Art Print page to learn about various pricing options.