You can get something to eat or drink at the Superstition Saloon. The two most interesting things about the saloon are the bar stools which are real saddles and the decor which consists of 1 dollar bills pinned to all the walls pillars and ceiling. They have come from all over the world. There is a little foreign currency mixed in to. The story goes that it all started when a businessman wanted to pin a business card to the wall and was jokingly told to pin it to a dollar bill. He did so and the tradition was born. The place burned to the ground in 1987 and thousands of former patrons sent in replacement dollar bills. Check it out!
There are many different tales about the history of the area where Tortilla Flat is located. Tales of ancient Native American Settlements and Spanish Explorers looking for the Seven cities of Cibola (fabled cities made of gold). There was also a story that Tortilla Flat was an old stagecoach stop. There is no verifiable record of a permanent settlement here before 1904, when a road was built through the area to support the building of the Roosevelt Dam. As the dam grew in popularity as a tourist attraction, the towns reputation grew too. There are also quite a few stories as to how the town got its name.
Today Tortilla Flat is one of the few places to stop along the Apache Trail between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake. It boasts a full time population of 6. As to how much of the town is "authentic" and how much is manufactured, I'll let you decide.
You can't even get to Tortilla Flat without traveling some part of the Apache Trail. The town itself sits at just about the center point of all the trails attractions which are along Rt 88. We started our journey in Mesa and headed East. Just 20 minutes East of Mesa, the trail begins at an old mining town, called Goldfield. It's a little kitchy and touristy, but a fun place to visit. (The kids would like the train ride) It's mostly little shops and tours, the train ride the mining tour, ect. There are also a couple resturants including an Ice cream shop and a bakery. Next on the Trail is Lost Dutchman State Park (see my off the beaten path tip) A beautiful place, especially in early spring when the yellow mexican poppies are in bloom. At this point, you will have entered into Tonto National Forest. If you have time, pull off and do a bit of hiking. Back in the car, continue on the winding road and you will come to Canyon Lake. A gorgeous spot with steep rock faces on one side of the lake and sandy beaches on the other. Boat rentals are available and there is a little lakeside resturant (which we did not visit becuae we had continued on to Tortilla Flat, we ate at the resturant in town. This is where we ended our Apache Trail trip(we were pressed for time) but you could continue on to Apache Lake, Roosevelt Dam and Lake and Tonto National Monument.
Tortilla Flat has a tiny museum inside this tiny school house. It's free. I'm not sure if Photo 2 was the teacher or an unruly student.
This is another pull off right at the base of the road running down to Apache Lake marina. It has the same nice little information boards and a nice view of the lake.
A nice little spot to sit and learn all about the Theodore Roosevelt Dam and the Salado river project.
This portion of the Apache Trail follows along an actual creek bed. It is dry during the summer, but the creek bed allows for walnut trees and other types of deciduous plants to thrive.
An absolutely great vista and only just off the pavement heading east on Rte 88. They have a pull off, parking area and rest area, with a short sidewalk to a better vista.
Where the hell is Tortilla Flat?
It's fun anyway, and the drive around the Superstition Mountains across cactus and lakes is breathtaking. Allow yourself an hour from Apache Junction.