Feb 1 – April 1, 2019
Gold Canyon, Az
There is more to life than in Gold Canyon than riding the buggy through the desert. So Guy and I decided to take a drive up to Roosevelt Lake, which is 30 miles away. After hearing that the road is the oldest highway in AZ, we decided some tourism was a good plan. This road is called “Apache Trail” route 88.
We packed a lunch and LaciLou and off we went. We knew that there would be lots to see with many stops along the way and that it would be an all day adventure. We did not even consider that it was a Saturday and spring break. The Superstition Mountain Museum, The Goldfield Ghost Town, The Lost Dutchman State Park, and Canon Lake and the little old town of Tortilla Flat were some of the stops. As we were driving by all these great stops every parking lot was full, people were everywhere. We looked at each other deciding to go back home or continue on? What a conundrum!! We decided that we would go up to the lake and come back the same way and hopefully it would be less crowded.
We did stop at Canyon Lake, which is at the elevation of 1,600. The lake has 28 miles of shore line with lots of rock formations and is a man made lake. The lake is so picturesque with the towering rock formations and the deep blue water. By the time we got there we decided it was a beautiful spot for lunch. We walked along the lake close to the campground and found a few rocks to sit and eat lunch.
LaciLou loved chasing and barking at all the ducks in the lake while we ate.
There were a few boats going by, but the best one was the steamboat “Dolly”. The “Dolly” takes you on a 6 mile nature cruise, while on your cruise you may see desert bighorn sheep, bald eagles and a host of other animals. The steamboat has other options like a dinner cruise, or there is even have an astronomy dinner cruise. At the Canyon Lake marina you can rent power boats or kayaks. The campground has 28 RV sites with water and electric. There is a dump out service. There are 18 dirt tent sites, with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring at each site.
Due to the lack of parking and numerous people waiting in line, we went past the little town of Tortilla Flat. A few miles past the town of Tortilla Flat we lost pavement and the dirt road started. We decided it couldn’t be that bad, wrong, I don’t think we went more than a mile bouncing all the way. With our big dually it was just way to rough and neither of us wanted to go to Roosevelt Lake that bad. The gravel road is like a washboard, bumpy, bouncy and very dusty. Also there are no guard rails and steep drop offs. We had heard that the road narrows when you get higher up the mountain and that there would not be much room to move over to let other cars by. The road was very busy in both directions, so we did turn around and head back down the mountain.
We did stop in at Tortilla Flat, that in 1904 was a stagecoach stop. We walked thru the little stores and restaurant. There was a band playing on the patio but was so crowed we couldn’t find a place to sit and listen. Even tho LaciLou was in her little purse and no one would know she was with us, the sign said no dogs, we decided not to wait.
The 50 mile drive along the Apache Trail goes thru the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest. The circle route through Globe is 120 miles round trip. It was called the Apache Trail after the Native American Indians used this trail to migrate through the Superstition Mountains for over 1,000 years. The road is steep and winding but some of the most magnificent scenery with the forests of saguaro cactus, and many other types of cactus.
There are incredible view of canyons, rock formations, desert plants and trees. The mountains were full of color, yellows, purples and white from all the beautiful wildflowers.
Along the Apache Trail we spotted a stream at the bottom of the road and decided to hike down and walk along the stream. It was pretty with the water flowing over the rocks, the water was nice and cool. It was hard keeping LaciLou out, who wants to ride in a car with a wet dog.
The parking lot at the Goldfield Ghost Town had emptied out enough by the time we made it back that we decided to stop. This town is a recreation of a 1890’s town. It showcased a saloon, a general store, a school house, church, and a brothel. At the historic Mammoth Gold Mine you can pan for gold, or take a ride on the narrow gauge train.
There is an old west gun fight that happens in the middle of the main street. While we were there they were in the middle of the gun fight, the gun shots were so loud that poor LaciLou was so scared she tried to get out of her little purse. It took a 1/2 hr to calm her down. We stopped into the ice cream store and got 2 scoops of ice cream, chocolate cherry and cookies and cream….yummy.
It was a wonderful day spending time in the mountains, we really enjoyed just doing the touristy stuff.
We are so glad to have y’all along with us on our Journey, we love hearing from you so feel free to leave us a message.