Captain Rick : Fish Creek Canyon is one of Arizona’s hidden treasures of scenic beauty. To experience its magnificence one must travel the Apache Trail (AZ 88) east from Mesa, Arizona. The paved road winds its way thru beautiful desert scenery in the Superstition Wilderness area and then past Canyon Lake, presenting one of the world’s most beautiful lake vistas. The trail continues east thru Arizona’s smallest original town of Tortilla Flat, once a place for workers to rest on their journey up the Salt River to build the mighty Roosevelt Dam that holds the massive Roosevelt Lake, a main source of water for over 4 million inhabitants of the Phoenix Valley of the Sun.

From Tortilla Flat, the trail climbs several hundred feet in elevation to a mountain setting that hosts beautiful wild flowers in the spring. Then the pavement ends. A gravel road continues. After a few more miles the beautiful Fish Creek Canyon comes into view around a breathtaking curve. The road descending into the canyon is narrow and treacherous. Vehicles need to tuck tightly against the cliff to allow those coming up the road to pass without falling off of a steep drop-off at the edge of the road that has no guardrail. This road is definitely not capable of handling anything larger than a passenger car or small pickup truck. A couple small pull offs at the bottom of Fish Creek Canyon allow for parking of a few cars. Great views of this magnificent canyon can be seen within a short walking distance.

 

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The dark stained area running down the rock cliff at left becomes a beautiful, tall, cascading waterfall during and after a heavy rain. It is difficult to catch a glimpse of the waterfall because when it rains the road is closed at Tortilla Flat, due to water flowing over the road. The only access then is to travel the east section of the Apache Trail down from Roosevelt Lake. It is all gravel and a slow trip, however the scenery makes it a very rewarding experience.

Those continuing eastward from Fish Creek Canyon experience a beautiful vista of Apache Lake. The trail then connects with the Salt River. The scenery in the Salt River Gorge between Apache Lake and Roosevelt Lake is spectacular. The trip culminates with an incredible view of the 357 foot tall Roosevelt Dam from below. A series of switchbacks quickly gain elevation to the top of the dam exposing a breathtaking, panoramic view of the main portion of Roosevelt Lake. When full the lake is 2 miles wide x 22 long and 349 feet deep.

Fish Creek Canyon is a special hidden treasure of scenic beauty at the halfway mark of the 40 mile long Apache Trail … the most scenic road within a short distance of Phoenix and one of the most scenic in Arizona.

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Captain Rick’s Photography by Atridim

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