Tempe To Camp Verde (Verde Valley) Via Arizona Highways 188 and 260
348 miles; 9:00am to 5:30pm; 17 June 2004

Leave Tempe at 9:00am heading east on US Hwy-60. Drive through Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Florence Junction, Superior, and Miami to Claypool. After driving 73 miles east on US Hwy-60, go north on AZ Hwy-88 into the Tonto National Forest. Here is a view looking west and another looking east. At the Apache Trail AZ Hwy-88 becomes AZ Hwy-188.

A few miles south of the Apache Trail is Tonto National Monument, which we had recently visited. We stopped at a marked scenic view and took a picture of the Tonto National Monument in the distance framed by cactus. From this same spot I took a picture looking west and another looking east. We are at the southern tip of Roosevelt Lake.

At Apache Trail, continue AZ Hwy-188 north by driving over the Roosevelt Lake Dam. The north end of the bridge has a stop area for scenic views. { the lake ... the lake ... the lake ... looking back south} No pictures of the dam were taken because of an previous roadtrip.

Continue AZ Hwy-188 north to AZ Hwy-87 and drive through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry. We are now in Rim Country heading west on AZ Hwy-260 heading for Camp Verde for lunch at the 210 mile mark.

Catch I-17 north to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument. The castle is a short walk from the monument's entrance. You are only allowed to view the castle from the canyon floor. Here is a picture of the castle zoomed. There are few other ruins to see. I saw a squirrel-like animal peeking out from behind some rock, but the black animal was too small to capture in a picture.

Returned to I-17 and drove north to visit Montezuma Well. The short hike to the well takes you past a dead tree and a tree rooted in rock. The well {view ... view} contains some cliff homes. There is a trail to the canyon's bottom. That offers a different view of the cliff homes along with a view of a cave home. There is another short trail that takes you to the other side of the well. Here is one of many spider webs located along the trail. The trail is not a loop. The other side of Montezuma Well shows the power of water. Upon leaving the monument we visited a pit house.

Returned to I-17 and drove south back to Camp Verde to visit the Fort Verde State Historic Park. {flags} The fort has only four buildings still standing and here are two of them. You are allowed to walk through all of the buildings and see rooms like this one and this one. Fort Verde Historic State Park offers us a chance to see the west as it really was.

Upon leaving Camp Verde I took some pictures of a cool mural I saw on my way into town. {another view} I especially liked the mural's train artwork.

Return to Tempe using I-17, I-10, and US Hwy-60. The return trip was 138 miles.


Author: Gerald D. Thurman [gdt@deru.com]
Created: 18 Jun 2004