Apache Trail Arizona, Origins and Information

Apache Trail
Of all the desert drives outside Phoenix in southern Arizona, Apache Trail is probably the most spectacular. The 45 mile circular trail, starting at Apache Junction to the east of Phoenix, snakes its way past the stunning Superstition Mountains, the Lost Dutchman State Park along the edge of the Four Peaks Wilderness past Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake and Roosevelt Dam and Tonto National Park. To follow the Apache Trail is like taking a trip back through time and travelling through the wild west - ghost towns, giant Saguaro cacti, abandoned gold and copper mines, ancient pueblos, the wilderness and of course the desert.

The name Apache Trail reflects its Native American history. Human inhabitancy of the area can be dated back to 1150 AD and the Salado culture who were attracted by the availability of water from Salt River and Tonto Creek. They farmed the flat land beside the water's edge and built cliff dwellings in the mountains. Later the Yavapai and Apache cultures found sanctuary in the canyon. Then, by the 1860s Anglo-European prospectors and traders drifted into the area. One prospector - the German born Jacob Waltz occasionally turned up in the then small Phoenix community, with sacks of gold nuggets he claimed were from his secret mine in the Superstition Mountains. Waltz died without ever revealing the location of his mine but the enduring legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine worked its way into local folklore. Incidentally in those days they didn't know the difference between Dutch and Deutsch - hence Dutchman.

The Superstition Mountains have long been the subject of mystery, Indian lore as well as tales of lost gold. The Spanish are thought to be the first to discover the mountains, and although it's unknown who named them, it's believed it was named by early settlers who'd heard stories of strange happenings and mysteries and how the Pima culture feared the grounds of the Apache. By the early 20th century influential farmers from Phoenix were beginning to see a different type of gold in the region - a steady supply of water at the confluence of Salt River and Tonto Creek and the federal government agreed. Funds for Theodore Roosevelt Dam were approved in 1903, as was funding for the roadway that linked the outskirts of Phoenix to the site of the new dam. The new roadway followed portions of the original old Apache trail. The dam was completed in 1911 and the roadway afforded for a new type of prospector in the area - tourists looking to catch their first glimpse of the wild and beautiful landscape of the Superstition Mountains. here. Misc info and images: wildlife, trees, National Parks: Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Info, Grand Canyon Map, Walnut Canyon, Walnut Canyon Info, Sunset Crater and Wutapki Monument, Sunset Crater Info, Wupatki Monument Info, Montezuma Castle and Well, Montezuma Castle Info, Montezuma Well Info, Petrified Forest, Petrified Forest Info, Painted Desert Info. Attractions: Apache Trail, Apache Trail Map, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Botanical Garden Info, Meteor Crater, Meteor Crater Info, Monument Valley Tribal Park, Monument Valley Info, Oak Creek Canyon, Oak Creek Info, Slide Rocks State Park, Slide Rocks Info, Taliesin West, Taliesin West, Arboretum at Flagstaff, Arboretum at Flagstaff Info. and Towns and Cities: Flagstaff and envrions, Flagstaff Info, Prescott, Prescott Info, Route 66 Info.

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