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Arizona road trips offer affordable, adventurous travel

Katlin Sipple ~ Special to The Foothills Focus~ 3/11/2015

With Spring Break in the not so distant future, many of us are scrambling to make plans for a big getaway. Some may head to the lake, or go on over to California to lie on the sandy beach, or if we’re lucky go on a cruise to somewhere tropical.

For the rest of us who may have to work over the break or who just don’t have the funds for a big retreat, there are many other options. I am very fortunate to have been able to go out exploring the land I take for granted every day. Arizona is home to some of the most captivating landscapes and jaw-dropping sunsets.

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend, grandfather, and I set out on an adventure to lands we may have seen before but never taken the time to stop and admire. It started out at a beautiful town called Queen Valley, which is in southeast Arizona. We just so happened to wander in on their centennial parade that the whole town came together to appreciate. It was landscaped with mountain ranges as far as the eye could see and huge cacti for miles. The town was so warm and welcoming as we sat with them to watch the parade that they had put together.

After that, we decided to head north until we saw the breathtaking Roosevelt Lake. Personally, I had never seen it before and I immediately regretted that once I saw how incredible it was. The waters were a beautiful clear blue, and there were lakeside camping spaces for people who want to make a big trip out of it rather than just a day out fishing.

We stopped when we hit a quaint town called Tonto Basin to have lunch at a place called The Butcher Hook, and the food is well worth the drive. Once our stomachs were full and we had walked around the town admiring what they had to offer, we decided to take the long way back home. From Roosevelt Lake, we crossed the dam to find (surprise) more water!

On the other side of the dam is the Apache Lake, which is equally as beautiful. There is a fun trail called the Apache Trail that a will take you from Highway 188 all the way to Apache Junction. The trail is an hour of blue waters, huge cliffs, and caves that you can pull of the road to explore.

Ever since this experience, I have set out to discover more of the land that is at my back door. There are many places to delve into that are even closer to us than we all may think. Daisy Mountain is a fantastic mountain to hike up, and once you get to the top, the view is well worth the sweat and sore muscles it took to get up there. Also, we are fortunate to be so close to Lake Pleasant where we can go swimming, fishing, or even rent a boat to spend a nice day in the cool waters outdoors. This was one of the most eye-opening trips that I have ever been on, and all it cost me was a tank of gas and the time to go out and wander. So if you find yourself feeling bummed because you don’t have crazy Spring Break plans, take a second to look around and savor the beauty we have around us and go adventure.