Good news for those drawn to Apache Trail

Good news for those drawn to Apache Trail

By Steve Elliott / ADOT Communications
January 22, 2024
Road closed sign and gate on State Route 88


Mile marker sign along closed portion of State Route 88At the risk of dating myself, my earliest memory of State Route 88 (Apache Trail) is sightseeing from the back seat of my parents’ 1965 Plymouth station wagon. Dad had thoughtfully elevated my brother and me with piles of newspapers so we’d have a better view (not recommended today, along with sheet metal toys), and everyone but Dad was a tad nervous driving next to the drop-offs between Roosevelt Lake and Tortilla Flat. 

But what I remember most is the winding gravel road, the magnificent view from the Superstitions to Four Peaks and the sense that I was experiencing an isolated and unspoiled part of Arizona.

I thought about that trip when a 2019 storm ravaged Apache Trail between Tortilla Flat and Roosevelt Lake, and as ADOT worked to restore access to everything but a severely damaged section between the Fish Creek Hill Overlook and Reavis Ranch Trailhead, mileposts 222-227. It came to mind again when ADOT shared the exciting news that a $4 million project will restore limited access to the portion of SR 88 that remains closed. 

The interim plan is designed to get these 5 miles to a condition that can accommodate vehicles with high clearance or four-wheel drive, as well as utility terrain vehicles. ADOT continues to seek federal funding for a $33.7 million plan to reopen this stretch to all vehicles by making the roadway more resilient to severe weather.

I had a chance to visit the closed section on foot recently. The scenery is as breathtaking as ever, though the roadway needs a lot of love. It was good to hear not long after that certain vehicles will once again be able to travel the full length of SR 88 while ADOT pursues ways to restore full access for all.


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