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Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

Israel
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Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

A family of four (kids aged 11 & 13) on a long road trip to be taken next summer/fall. The plan right now is to get to Flagstaff around September 20th and then head down south to the Phoenix area (from there it'll be back to LA). This would be our second trip to the area and we've already visited Sedona & Red Rock Park.

I was thinking of driving through Payson and maybe spending the night there. Then, come morning, drive to Tonto National Monument for a short visit. That would put us on the Apache Trail loop drive. I'd love to take some of the drive. Which part is the more scenic - the short drive through 88 to Lost Dutchman State Park, or the longer route via the Globe area and then HWY 60?

We'll be driving a rental minivan and we're not allowed to go off-road, if that matters. Unpaved official roads should be ok, I think, but nothing too rough.

Thanks in advance!

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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1. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

The most scenic part of Hwy 88 Apache Trail is the unpaved portion between Lake Roosevelt and Tortilla Flats. It is parallel to the Salt River and offers views of the lakes along the river. Condition of the road differs. Rains cause ruts. Large vehicles cause washboarding. Just drive carefully.

United States
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2. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

You might want to read this thread about rental cars and the Apache Trail;

tripadvisor.com/…61846396

Mesa, Arizona
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for Tempe
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3. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

I would not recommend the Apache Trail in that direction. You would be on the wrong side on Fish Creek Hill.

I think if you see Wupatki NM and/or Walnut Canyon NM and/or Montezuma's Castle NM, you can skip Tonto NM.

I would take the Lake St Marys Road out of Flagstaff to rt 87, stop at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park and then take 87 to Phoenix. That is a gorgeous drive without the long detour to the Apache trail.

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

I like MarianReader's suggestion to take Lake Mary (not St Mary) Road. If you follow 87 down to Phoenix and still have enough time, you could easily get back to drive the paved portion of Apache Trail. Exit 87 at Bush Hwy, drive by Saguaro Lake, then turn south on User Pass Rd. When you reach the city, take Brown Rd east to Apache Trail (Hwy 88). Drive as far as Tortilla Flat, then turn around and go to Phoenix or wherever.

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5. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

Janss, I think you meant "Usery Pass" Road.

Sedona, AZ
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6. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

I sure did! Thanks for catching my typo.

7. Re: Tonto National Monument to Phoenix - which road to take?

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