February 29, 2012

2/22/12 - Apache Trail to Tonto NM

From Apache Junction, we headed out AZ 88, nicknamed Apache Trail, to go to Tonto National Monument.  That's the short way--about 50 miles.  Frommer's Guidebooks call it the "best scenic drive in Arizona".  (We liked Oak Creek Canyon near Sodona better.)  The last 22 miles of the highway (ha!) are unpaved, a dusty washboardy narrow dirt road through the mountains. 
There were lots of one-lane bridges.

Wild flowers were starting to bloom.

There were 3 lakes along the way:  Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt.  Roosevelt is my favorite.
Once we got to Tonto NM, I realized I'd forgotten to make reservations to tour the upper cliff dwelling.  (Oh, well--we're not going back!)  We walked up the paved 1/2 mile trail to the lower cliff dwelling, through the saguaro & cholla.  There were more wildflowers along the path.

We could actually go into some of the rooms in the cliff dwellings built by the Salados. 

We drove home the long way--George wasn't at all interested in eating more dust on the Apache Trail!

Links for more pictures:    Apache Trail pics             Tonto Natl Monument pics

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