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...more
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...more
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...more
We stopped in to this little dive of a place for lunch. The food is mediocre, but the ambiance is interesting. After you enter and walk through the little gift shop, you will notice that the resturant is papered with thousands of dollar bills, most with little notes or messages on them. Unfortunately you are not allowed to add to the collection, your menu has a message in it saying "don't even bother to ask, neither you nor your server can put any bills on the wall". Speaking of your menu...it's a little newspaper that has some background on the area and surrounding attractions as well as the list of the items they serve. You can sit down at a rickety little table or "saddle up" to the bar, and I do mean saddle up, all of the barstools are topped with authentic western saddles.
Another interesting feature of this place are the strange little bathrooms. In the Ladies room at least, there are murals of fancy "bordello" type gals. There bodies are on the (low) stall doors, there heads are on the wall behind. Odd. Interesting for sure though!
Favorite Dish: sadly I really wasn't thrilled with my meal, in fact it made me slightly ill.
Apache Trail is called Apache Trail out of respect for the native americans who built this road. It was built in the relatively recent times (1800's) but it was done mainly through severe manual labor. The sharp cliffs that it runs through are too winding to get modern equipment in. So the builders who were mainly native americans used carts, animals, hand tools and explosives to carve this road out of the desert and hillsides.
Arizona is ULTRA hot in the summertime, so if you are coming in from out of town during the sumertime then you better make sure you have PLENTY of water when you take ANY kind of lengthy trip, even if you're going on a SHORT trip, take plenty of water..THIS is the most common problem for people who visit from out of state, they just don't realize...more
The Apache Trail; Arizona Highway 88 is sometimes closed east of Tortilla Flat due to flooding. Pay close attention to the weather reports, especially during monsoon season July through September. Also remember the weather can get extremely hot out here in the desert. Drink plenty of water.more
This is by far the steepest part of the Apache Trail. It is extremely steep and very narrow, and that guard rail on the side isn't kidding anyone! It isn't going to stop anything bigger than a bike! Luckily they do seem to keep it well maintained, looks like they use oil on the road there to keep down dust and keep the road stable. Still it's a...more
Don't try to park at the Tortilla Flat Campground in order to even THINK of just walking around to take some pix without paying, there is a Campground Nazi AKA as little old lady on a golf cart and power trip, who will come and bother you until you leave..The price to stay is 12.00 There is a parking area before you get to the campground gate that you can park at and then walk around if you want to, there is a lot of parking near Tortilla Flat tourist store its self but it's usually loaded up during tourist season.
Unique Suggestions: Stay to the upper level of the campground if you REALLY want to try and look around a bit..The campground nazi has her quarters on the lower level so if you have to use the restroom or fill up on water you will probably have enough time to do this on the upper level before she spies you with her little evil eye. :-)
Fun Alternatives: Either park near the Store/town or park just before the campground gate.
Light clothing, comfortable shoes..Hat for shade..
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun Screen, Water, water, water!
Photo Equipment: You must be sure to bring your camera, if you have a digital you can buy batteries, if needed, at the little tourist store at Tortilla Flat.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There are a lot of camping areas in this area, so whatever you are used to bringing on other camping trips bring here but add extra water to it..There are water resources at the campgrounds though.
Miscellaneous: Cell phones usually wont work once you are surrounded by the canyon walls but if you ever need to then climb to the highest peak and then try there.
This is the creek near Tortilla Flat, It's very rare when there is water in it but this year has been a VERY wet year for AZ so we are enjoying the occasional waterfall and flowing creek.
Apache Lake is supposed to be a great place for fishing. That's the reason why so many people are willing to risk their boats taking the windy trail there!
Equipment: A boat and a line ;-)
TORTILLA FLAT RISES FROM THE ASHES
By Tom Kollenborn
On April 21, 1987, Tortilla Flat was destroyed by a fire. This unique roadstop along the Apache Trail appeared lost forever as the television news photographer reported it on the evening news that day. Tortilla Flat is not just another tourist stop in Arizona. It is an experience in western hospitality, history and nostalgia. This is what makes Tortilla Flat different from the many other wonderful spots to visit in Arizona.
Historians will debate as to the founding date of Tortilla Flat, and I choose not to become involved in such a controversy, however records do indicate Tortilla Flat was established in 1904 as a construction camp for the building of the Apache Trail (1903-1905). Men lived here, equipment and materials were stored here. Water was the reason for choosing the site. During the early days of construction along the Apache Trail (Mesa-Roosevelt Road) construction camps were built periodically throughout the length of this sixty-two mile proposed road.
The first tourist probably arrived at Tortilla Flat in 1907. The Apache Trail served as the main road between the Salt River Valley and the Globe-Miami area from 1907-1921. Tourist brochures advertised the beauty of the Apache Trail around the country during the "Golden Age" of the 1920's. Thousands of tourist traveled the Apache Trail in horse-drawn stages to motor coaches during this period of time. This was a period of transformation for transportation. It was the change from horse-drawn vehicles to motorized transportation. Automobile manufacturers tested their dream cars on the Apache Trail. If the car succeeded in surviving the Apache Trail with it steep grades, rough surface and hot temperatures it could be recommended to a waiting nation. To survive the Apache Trail meet a lot to early automobile manufacturers.
Fondest memory: An old friend of mine told me the story about the testing of the air-cooled Franklin touring car on the Apache Trail more than seventy years ago. He called the test on the Apache Trail the "beauty and the beast" horseless carriage test. The Franklin did survive the test.
The Apache Trail and Tortilla Flat are all that remains today to remind us of those early horseless carriage days along the Mesa-Roosevelt Road. Government Wells, Snell Station, Fish Creek Lodge and Hotel Point are gone. It is difficult to tell where these old stations once stood today. Tortilla Flat is a reminder of adventurous and exciting past along the Apache Trail.
Bob Brock has guided the reconstruction of Tortilla Flat since the devastating fire in the spring of 1987. Yes, Tortilla Flat is new, but most important it is still standing and people gather to talk about past, present and future. There is something special about stopping at Tortilla Flat that can not be measured. It is the special people that work there, that strived so hard to see Tortilla Flat rise from the ashes. Like the mythical Phoenix bird Tortilla Flat has found its place in the history of human endeavor. On July 1, 1988, the new Tortilla Flat was dedicated by Robert K. Corbin, Attorney General of Arizona.