Here's what President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) had to say about the Apache Trail. I don't think it has changed much since his day.
"The Apache Trail combines the grandeur of the Alps, the Glory of the Rockies, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and then adds an indefinable something that none of the others have. To me, it is the most awe-inspiring and most sublimely beautiful panorama nature has ever created."
Sure it's beautiful and grand and magnificent and all that Pres. Roosevelt said, but I'll tell you what the 'indefinable something' is...the scariest, narrowest, twisting and turning road you'll ever find!!!
The 38 mile segment traversing through the Tonto National Forest is designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway. The entire route has also received recognition as a State Historic Road by the Arizona Department of Transportation. It took us over two hours to travel that 38 mile segment of unpaved, narrow, twisting road, up one canyon and down another, repeatedly. There were switchbacks and blind curves with no guardrails and barely room for one car to drive easily. Occasionally there were little outcroppings that you could pull onto if you happened to meet a vehicle coming the other way. Luckily we didn't.
In spite of the edge-of-the-seat nervousness, the scenery really was spectacular. Lloyd wanted to stop at every bend in the road to take pictures, and we did stop wherever there was room for us to get out of the middle of the road.
Here's some shots of our adventure.
|The Roosevelt Dam, where the road begins|
|Our first clue that this was not going to be an easy drive...the|
dirt road with little piles of sand at the oter edge. It followed the beautiful
river for quite a while. The Salt River I think. (Correct me if I'm
|No way to tell if something's coming around that curve|
|And uuupppp we go...Some of these shots are, of necessity,|
taken out our spotty windshield.
|Halfway up the first canyon. You can just see the river in the middle|
of the picture. Our road can be seen cutting across the near hill.
|A tight squeeze if we were to meet an oncoming vehicle.|
|The sun played a major role in the photo shoots. I was|
afraid we wouldn't make it off the trail before dark. We
|Civilization in the form of a bridge.|
|A single lane bridge going down the canyon.|
|The sun creates interesting shadows in the background and|
turns the side hills gold. You can see the road we just
traversed in the center.
|Almost to the top|
|A curve with a layout for stopping|
|Sun setting behind a saguaro|
|Golden sunshine on the cliffs|
|Don't know what lived in that cave|
|Stopped on the road to get out and take pictures|
|The top of the steepest climb...I can't see those guardrails|
being much help if we started to go over the side.
|Sunlight and cactus|
|Another road we climbed...all uphill|
|Love those blind curves|
|Our road far below|
|A layout where we stopped to take pictures|
|At last...pavement...civilization...Tortilla Flat...thats the|
whole town there...closed up for the day at 6pm.
And that's our great adventure. The scenery really was beautiful. I know the road doesn't look scary in the pictures but it really was! Trust me. Go see it if you're able, just don't invite me. Been there, done that!