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The 7 Incredible Things We Saw On Our One Day Roadtrip From Phoenix

(#4 Will Leave You Confused and Dumbfounded)


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by Kim Coates in Arizona, Hidden Hikes
February 20, 2018 2 comments

The One Day Roadtrip

We regularly get asked how we have the money and time to take all the roadtrips we do. Many people tell us it is a dream of theirs to go on a roadtrip but never can find the time or money to do so.  Well we decided to create the 1 Day Roadtrip starting in Phoneix, AZ so that anyone can experience the joy, adventure and excitement of a roadtrip.

This roadtrip starts in the Phoenix, AZ Area and leads you all the way though the Superstition Mountain Range.  The incredible views started after only 25 minutes of driving and where consistently amazing the whole way.  Plus the drive though the Apache Trail was…unexpected, exciting and breathtaking.

The Route We Took

  1. Starting from the Tempe Area you will take the 202E or the 60E and then turn on to Route 88 towards Roosevelt Lake.  A little after Tortilla Flat you will hit a well up-kept but narrow Dirt Road that goes on for 25 Miles.  This dirt road is called the Apache Trail, and it is an amazing Drive.
  2. From Roosevelt you can take 2 routes depending on how long you want this roadtrip.
    1. The Long Trip: From Roosevelt Lake we took a right on 188 towards Globe, then take a left on 288 towards Young
    2. The Shorter Trip: From Roosevelt Lake take a left on 188 and then a left on 87 towards Phoenix.  Easy as pie, this route will take you about 5-6 hours total.
  3. If you took the Long Trip from 288 take a left on 260 towards Payson, then connect to 87 towards Phoenix.  This route will take you 7-9 hours depending on how often you stop and how fast you can go on dirt roads


Below check out 7 of the Amazing things we saw on this One Day Roadtrip

7. roosevelt dam

Better known as “Theodore Roosevelt Dam,” standing 357 feet tall over the connecting lakes: Canyon Lake which feeds into Apache Lake which feeds into (you guessed it) Roosevelt Lake! What made this sight extra cool too were 2 things:

  1. The water was so incredibly calm and you could actually see FISH swimming through the water from how far away we were!
  2. We saw not one but TWO BALD EAGLES!!!!!!! I wish I had a better picture, but you’ll just have to trust us haha. How freaking incredible!!!!

We also LOVED the surprise on the other side of the dam! Once you get past the dam, there’s a HUGE bride called Theodore Roosevelt Bridge that passes through Roosevelt Lake. It’s a bummer that wasn’t part of our trip, but then again our entire one day trip was more than we could have ever expected!

6. isaac breathing “fire”

Do I really need to say more?? Haha! We always have to find a way to make our pictures creative! So this was actually a pretty cool vista point, but the pictures just don’t do it justice. There was massive slot canyons from our view and on the other side of the street: Isaac breathing “Fire!!!!”

5. Breathtaking sunset

The sunset chasers were at it again! Climbing mountains for the best view of a sunset! We were seriously on a race with time to get the best views! The entire day had been rather cloudy and we’re both so grateful that it turned out to be a rewarding sunset at the end of the day! Thank you Universe!!!

4. broccoli with a boner

Didn’t I say #4 would confuse you? But you’re surprised aren’t you? I wouldn’t have expected to see a cactus if I saw “Broccoli with a boner” hahaha! You can’t deny that this totally looks like Broccoli….but with a boner!

Kim Jumping for Joy After Seeing The…Exotic Cactus

Alright, alright so in all seriousness this is actually a one-of-a-kind cactus that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the WORLD! Better known as the “Crested Saguaro.” No one really knows why it turned out this way, but it’s said that nuclear testing in the past may have mutated this strange guy!

3. Best side of the road vista point ever seen!

Ok…so this really is one of the best vista points we’ve ever seen!!! Just look at this! Wait..can you even tell what you’re looking at? Ha! We’re looking at the road we’re about to take that wraps around that mountain in front of us..unbelievable!

This viewpoint can be found heading East on Route 88, just a little past Tortilla Flat, AZ. It’s a paved road by Tortilla Flat, but your jaw doesn’t really start dropping til you hit the dirt road and see these incredible sights! The dirt roads start to narrow and only 1 car at a time can even fit around these mountains, so you definitely have to be careful! We saw some guy with a trailer and it was scaring us just watching him! Haha! And once again, my little Ford Fiesta is a BOSS at handling dirt roads thank you very much! 😄

Vista Look off on Route 88 Apache Trail

2. crazy color rock wall

Amazing Colored wall on Route 288 N towards Young

This picture totally can’t even do this wall justice! This amazing multi-colored mini mountain can be found near the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. It was just too incredible and unique not to share with you awesome people!

1. canyon lake

#1!!!! Canyon Lake is the first lake we came across on our one day road trip and it feeds into Apache Lake which feeds into Roosevelt Lake. Obviously, the picture here says it all. This was a breathtaking view and guess how far away it is from Mesa, AZ? ….20 minutes. THAT’S IT!!!!!

Our ultimate goal for creating this One Day Road Trip is definitely to show and prove that you can do amazing things and TRAVEL all within just ONE day! Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers, check out that weird cactus, go meet the locals and get some great advice, take a trip with people that make you smile and laugh, and most importantly…LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!

  1. Jeff Franklin says:

    HI Isaac and Kim, thanks for sharing your adventures. I look forward to taking some of your remote trip suggestions to see the other side of Arizona. I can’t wait to see your other blogs!!!

    1. Kim Coates says:

      Thanks for checking us out Jeff! We’d love to hear about your adventures post trip! 🙂

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How to cut your lodging cost by 50% or more while staying in the coolest places in the world

Quit saying I’ve always wanted to do that and travel today within your budget!

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