The city of Apache Junction, AZ gets its name from its location, at the junction of the Old West Highway and the Apache Trail.
Before its present name, the city once went by the name Youngberg.
Near the city looms the westernmost peak of the Superstition Mountains.
Likewise, the city stands at an intersection that leads to the Superstition Mountains, following an unpaved trail for stagecoaches.
In 1922, the city opened this junction to the public as a scenic pathway and historical landmark.
The trail currently belongs to the “circle trail,” a path that stretches for 120 miles and loops from and to Apache Junction.
Attractions abound in Apache Junction, such as the Superstition Mountain Museum, the Superstition Zipline, or the Goldfield Ghost Town.
Likewise, you can simply catch and admire the golden Sonora sunrise and sunset.
Do you want to know more about Apache Junction, AZ?
Here’s a list of the best things to do in the city:
Learn Local History at the Superstition Mountain Museum
This museum’s full name is the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum, and it stands on 15-acre property under the looming shadow of the Superstition Mountains.
Inside the museum lies stores of the area’s bygone days, filled with tales both mythical and true.
You can find this building on Highway 88 east of Apache Junction.
The museum also contains an exhibit space spanning 4,900 square feet and a gift shop.
During your visit, you’ll find various outdoor structures and exhibits.
Check out the Apacheland Barn and Elvis Chapel, the last remaining buildings from the Apacheland Movie Ranch.
Likewise, you’ll find a large 20-stamp gold mill that still works, along with a model railroad, Western-style storefronts, and a nature trail.
The grounds are available for free walking tours, too.
Soar through the Desert Air with the Superstition Zipline
Make the most of your trip to Apache Junction by doing the Superstition Zipline, found at Goldfield Ghost Town.
The town used to thrive as a mining town, and it sits just minutes away from Phoenix, Arizona.
Visit the ghost town and see the unique zipline, a creation of the famous Stan Checketts.
If you didn’t know, Checketts created world-famous thrill rides like the “VooDoo Zipline” and “The Stratosphere” in Las Vegas, as well as the “World’s Fastest Roller Coaster.”
He had also created many thrill rides at Disney’s amusement parks and Six Flags.
See the city of Apache Junction from a new angle through the Superstition Zipline.
Relive the Wild West at the Goldfield Ghost Town
The city of Apache Junction also boasts the historic Goldfield Ghost Town, a once-thriving mining town that now preserves the history of the area.
What can you do in this ghost town?
You can walk down Main Street at high noon like a cowboy or join the historic Mammoth Gold Mine tour.
Likewise, you can drop by the Goldfield Museum for an extensive history lesson.
During the town’s heyday, in the 1890s, people could visit three saloons, rent a room at a boarding house, and buy provisions at the general store.
However, the residents left town when the quality of its gold dipped, just as the town was about to expand.
Today, you can find, and ride, the only narrow-gauge train in Arizona or pan for gold like an old-timey gold-rusher.
The renowned Goldfield Gunslingers also perform a Wild West gunfight for your entertainment.
Check Out the Fossils at the Mammoth Mine Rock Shop
Amateur geologists should visit the Mammoth Mine Rock Shop in Apache Junction.
This shop also is one of the state’s premier rock shops, sitting at the foothills of the Superstition Mountains.
During your visit, you’ll have your pick of the highest quality rock collections.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fossil expert, a professional geologist, or a complete amateur.
The rock shop’s staff will help you get the best experience browsing its offerings of exclusive but affordable crystals, fossils, rocks, and dinosaur bones.
Explore the Mysterious Lost Dutchman State Park
Don’t let this park’s mysterious name fool you.
The Lost Dutchman State Park is a terrific getaway for people who just want to enjoy nature in peace.
For instance, you can go hiking or biking along its nature trails, or bask under the starlight on your campsite.
However, a few guests do visit the place to try searching for the Lost Dutchman gold, which may or may not exist.
The story of the Lost Dutchman gold came from the legend of a lone Dutchman who came down from the Superstition Mountains a century ago, carrying a bagful of gold.
However, despite decades of searching, no one has found the mine.
So, if you’re not looking for mythical treasures, just go hiking along the scenic trails that range from easy to moderate.
You can also ride your bike at the base of Superstition Mountain.
Then, enjoy a cozy picnic at the picnic areas and ramadas with wonderful views.
When evening comes, pitch your tent or park your RV and enjoy the company of the stars.
Practice Your Swing at the Apache Creek Golf Club
At the foot of the imposing Superstition Mountains lies the beautiful Apache Creek Golf Club.
This club offers a true desert-styled golf course, complete with the best-maintained greens in the entire state.
If you miss swinging a golf club around, drop by this majestic course for a round or two.
Since opening in 1994, the Apache Creek Golf Club has become a popular course for Arizona golfers.
This club also offers small and medium greens that might give a reasonable challenge to skilled golfers.
You don’t even have to empty your wallets to enjoy playing at Apache Creek, thanks to its affordable rates.
Fulfill Your Cowboy Dreams at the OK Corral Horse Stables
The family-owned OK Corral Horse Stables is a long-standing institution for horse-lovers in Superstition.
In 1968, Ron Feldman started the business in Apache Junction, when the city still reminded people of the Old West.
When you rented a horse back then, you simply got handed the reins and told to bring the horse back safely before sundown.
Today, the stables ride with customers and let them relive the glory days of the Wild West.
This way, every rider from complete beginners to veteran equestrians can enjoy the exceptional desert environments of Arizona.
Explore the Superstition Mountains in a new way with OK Corral Horse Stables!
Check Out Desert Wildlife at the Silly Mountain Park
This park sits nearby Superstition Mountain by Apache Junction and hosts various local flora and desert fauna.
Likewise, you can also go hiking there or climb the peak of Silly Mountain.
Reaching the summit allows you a full view of the Superstition Mountains and the cities of Apache Junction, Mesa, and Greater Phoenix.
Meanwhile, the hiking trails range in difficulty, which should let hikers of all levels have an enjoyable time.
Along the way, you might also spot native plants and desert wildlife scurrying about.
Bring your cameras to capture breathtaking mountain views.
If you’re curious, the park got its name from a road grader in Pinal County, Harry Cadwalader.
During the 1970s, Harry and his family lived by the road that led to Silly Mountain Peak.
One day, he asked his supervisor to let him name the road he lived along.
When the supervisor said yes, Harry named his street Silly Mountain Road, which stuck for both the road and the mountain.
Bring Your Family to the Flatiron Community Park
It can get a little hot in Apache Junction, so you’ll need to find a place for your kids to cool off.
Luckily, the city’s Flatiron Community Park is exactly the place for you.
After you visit Goldfield Ghost Town or the Lost Dutchman State Park, bring your family to this park and beat the heat at the little splash pad.
While your kids play around the splash pad, you can prepare for a cozy picnic at the picnic area.
You’ll need to pull out a picnic blanket and camping chairs to take advantage of the space.
Likewise, the park offers plenty of grassy areas for your kids to enjoy.
You can also walk along the small hiking trails and look at the native plants.
Challenge Yourself at the Siphon Draw Trail
Get up close and personal with the mysterious Superstition Mountains and the Sonoran Desert by hiking up the Siphon Draw Trail.
This trail is also moderately difficult, so you might need to bring your A-game to this trek.
If you feel like a decent hiking challenge, then this trail is for you.
The trail itself is relatively short, measuring less than two miles.
Then, it crosses the Lost Dutchman State Park, the Tonto National Forest, and the Superstition Wilderness Area.
You also get treated to terrific city views of the Greater Phoenix Area while you walk.
Complete your Apache Junction trip by going down this trail!
Enjoy Dinner Entertainment with Barleen’s Dinner Show
In the heart of Apache Junction lies your next destination for top-notch dinner entertainment, the Barleen’s Dinner Show.
The show takes place inside Barleen’s Arizona Opry Dinner Theatre, which also offers excellent food to pair with the excellent program.
During your visit, you can listen to a full roster of talented musicians, who can play anything from classic rock to jazz.
The dinner menu showcases various fine American dishes to satisfy your appetite, while the musicians serenade your table.
Bring your date to this theatre and have an evening you won’t forget.
Bring Home Unique Gifts from Mother Lode Mercantile
The home of the signature Prickly Pear & Gold Nugget fudge is the aptly named Mother Lode Mercantile.
Besides the fudge, the store also offers Western-themed souvenirs, as well as homemade fudge, deluxe chocolate, and various candies.
Don’t wait until the end of your Apache Junction trip to visit this store along Mammoth Mine Road.
If you’re curious, the store makes fresh batches of the Prickly Pear & Gold Nugget fudge onsite nearly every day.
This fudge comes from the Prickly Pear cactus fruit, giving it a unique taste.
Meanwhile, the Gold Nugget fudge is a traditional chocolate fudge cut through with golden caramel, with salted and roasted macadamia nuts folded into it.
The store even uses real 23-karat gold as a fudge topper.
Take a Relaxing Hike along the Treasure Loop Trail
Go to the western base of the Superstition Mountains to begin your hike along the Treasure Loop Trail.
Compared to Siphon Draw, this trail is easier, since it runs through a flat environment.
However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean hikers won’t enjoy it.
You can even bring your dogs to this hike, and you can marvel together at the awe-inspiring scenery.
Likewise, you can even learn about the area’s rich history of gold mining and the local legend of the Lost Dutchman’s buried treasure.
You can also stop and see the flowers along the trail, comprising lupine, globemallow, poppies, and various wildflowers.
Enjoy Off-Road Adventures with the Apache Trail Tours
The Apache Trail Tours are available to all guests who want to explore Apache Junction but don’t want to go on foot.
Join the off-road tours for an adventure in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness, Goldfield Ghost Town, and Tortilla Flat.
You can even join the Dolly Steamboat Cruise along Canyon Lake and take all the photos you want of the gorgeous lake views.
This tour is perfect for guests because it follows the historic Apache Trail, the first “Historic Highway” in Arizona, and a scenic byway.
Back in the day, this trail was a footpath that crossed the Superstition Mountains.
Today, off-road vehicles pass through this trail, offering guests majestic views of the Sonoran Desert.
Take a Train Ride on the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad
You can fully relive the history of Goldfield, one of Arizona’s most famous ghost towns.
In 1892, people discovered rich deposits of high-quality gold, which sparked a short-lived economic boom.
After getting a post office in 1893, the town also received the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad, which you can ride today.
The trip lasts for 20 minutes along a 1.5-mile railroad track, with an expert guide sharing old stories about the town.
Besides history, the train road might lead you to brush up against the paranormal.
The train passes one of the town’s mines, where you might hear voices from long-dead miners who died in tragic accidents.
You might even see a ghostly silhouette or two.
The trip itself costs a minimal ticket fee, a small price to pay for a genuine Old West experience.
Apache Junction is an excellent remembrance of the Old West lifestyle, with its ghost towns and museums.
Likewise, adventurers should enjoy the nearby hiking trails and nature preserves.
Even amateur geologists will love browsing the city’s collections of crystals and dinosaur bones.
Book a weekend at Apache Junction today!
See also: Best Restaurants in Apache Junction, AZ