Apache Junction, Arizona
Apache Junction began as an old west mining camp. It has a colorful history involving Native American cultures, Spanish conquistadors, and superstitions regarding the “Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.” The city was named after the junction of the Apache Trail. It w
as incorporated in 1978.
Apache Junction is a very friendly community, in which everyone treats each other like family. The shops and homes in Apache Junction are all reasonably priced and affordable for most. There is a low crime rate and the people are very welcoming.
Apache Junction History
Apache Junction began as an old west mining camp. It has a colorful history involving Native American cultures, Spanish conquistadors, and superstitions regarding the “Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.” The city was named after the junction of the Apache Trail. It was incorporated in 1978.
The city of Apache Junction, located near the Superstition Mountains at the junction of historic Apache Trail and the U.S. 60, was incorporated on November 24, 1978. The city is rich in history, reflecting our state’s Western heritage. If you are curious about the history of Apache Junction and the Apache Trail, feel free to browse these resources. Stop into the library to take a look through our Arizona History Collection, which includes a wealth of information about our state.
Apache Junction is located at an intersection on an unpaved stagecoach trail to the nearby Superstition Mountains. Apache Junction became a historical landmark and scenic byway that was opened to the public in 1922 and is currently part of a 120 mile-long “circle trail” that begins and ends in Apache Junction. The O’odham Jeweḍ, Akimel O’odham (Upper Pima), and the Hohokam people all have tribal ties to the area.
Apache Junction Geography
Apache Junction is at 33°24′54″N 111°32′46″W, located in the eastern far east part of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 34.2 square miles (89 km2), all land. The town is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north, and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield, Arizona.
Popular Attractions in Apache Junction
Lost Dutchman State Park
Spanning over 320 acres, the Lost Dutchman State Park was founded in 1977 and has been a popular choice with Apache Junctions visitors and residents who enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. The hiking trails are suitable for all levels of hikers, beginners or advanced, and can take you through the native plant garden or to the Flatiron. There are several events and programs held at the park throughout the year such as the early morning ‘Salute to the Sun Hike’ and going ‘Desert Scorpion Hunting’ in the dark of the night. Wildlife that you may come across while you’re there includes javelina, jackrabbits, coyotes, and mule deer.
Superstition Mountain Museum
There’s no larger collection of Wild West movie memorabilia than at the Superstition Mountain Museum. You’ll find the museum at the foot of the Superstition Mountain range right in the middle of the Arizona desert. In the museum, you’ll see several old movie sets, horse-drawn buggies, mannequins, and even a couple of full-sized dioramas. Other aspects include a taxidermy display of native wildlife, several artifacts from the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, and the nearby Elvis Chapel, which is on the site of where Elvis Presley’s movie “Charro!” was filmed. Their gift shop is filled with tons of little souvenirs you can buy for yourself or friends back home.
Goldfield Ghost Town
Based in Goldfield Ghost Town, the historic Apache Trail Tours will take you on a guided journey through Arizona’s deserts and canyons. Be sure to take your camera as you will see some stunning views of your surroundings and learn a lot about the land from your expert tour guide. Tours end with a trip to the Old West; in Goldfield Ghost Town you’ll be able to take part in several unique activities, buy souvenirs from the western shops, and enjoy the delicious cuisine in their many eateries. Take your best shot at the shooting gallery, take an old-time photo with costume and all, or strut your stuff with an authentic cowboy hat.
Silly Mountain Park
Though it’s easy to pass Silly Mountain Park and miss it, do not overlook this amazing opportunity to explore Apache Junction’s flora and fauna in all its magnificence. The trail is single track and is wonderful for hiking as well as mountain biking – some of the sections are smooth and flowy while others are tight and twisty, giving you the perfect combination for an outdoor adventure. There are several trails to choose from such as the Palo Verde, the Brittle Brush, Superstition View, Jackrabbit, Coyote Loop, Old Baldy, and Old Mine, which is better for more experienced hikers and bikers as it has a few steep drops.