Estimated driving time: 1 hour and a half drive from Chandler, AZ.
Just take 60 East then 88 East all the way until you see the lake.
You won’t need a full tank of gas to get there and back, but just to be on the safe side, fill er up. (There aren’t any gas stations up the mountain)
The road after Canyon lake, going to Apache lake is NOT paved. If you tend to panic after every road bump, let the other person drive. Trust me, the calmer the driver the faster you’ll get there. If you’re the driver, keep your eye on the road. There are a lot of turns!
For every lake, there are creeks.
You’ll find them in between Canyon lake and Apache lake. The passenger’s job is to be on the look out for little green signs of different creeks. These are usually near the one way bridges. Skip the resorts and parking fees, park on the side of the road! (A lot of hikers do this). Just remember to put your hand breaks up.
Wear shoes with mad grip or be prepared to go barefoot. Some creeks have trails, but if you’re feeling a bit daring (border line insane) go ahead and rock climb down to the creek. Be careful though! Always test your next step before putting all your weight into it.
When you get down to the creek, you will forget the 2 cans of tuna you bought from Walgreens that only cost you $2. Then you’ll snap out of it and realize that you have just been warned! Don’t make the same mistake we made. Pack your snacks and bring ‘em down with you. You wouldn’t want to climb back up and down again.
Time it! Make sure you have plenty of time to get back before the sun sets. Don’t forget that you climbed down! You will need to see the path to climb up.
Be prepared to get wet! You will be crossing some pools. Stagnant waters are not good, you wouldn’t want to get eaten by slimy green algaes. Only cross the active ones that are fed by mini waterfalls. These pools are clear and clean (but don’t drink it!).
Explore and admire the forest. Climb big boulders and do some jumping from rock to rock! That’s the best! You’ll see a lot of interesting figurines made by mother nature herself. Oh and don’t forget to look up. The view of the Red Wall is amazing from down there! Of course I just made up that name, but once you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
You’ll come across mini sandy shores which are perfect for picnics! You can then enjoy the 2 cans of tuna you bought from Walgreens that only cost you $2. You are welcome! ;)
The pools can go on and on depending on the time of year. During the summer, there are fewer pools since some dry up, but the remaining pools have the perfect water to cool off in!
On your hike back, remember, the way in is the way out. Too much nature makes you crazy, you might feel like you’re lost, but all you gotta remember is that you can’t get lost in a one way. Don’t let nature confuse you and make fun of your common sense. Repeat the words: “It will be ok, I will be ok.” and in no time, you’re back to where you started.
Careful on the climb up! It’s gonna be harder that the climb down. Fortunately for me, I have very talented toes that can cling on for dear life. I went barefoot. We wore our shoes during the pool crossings so they got wet. DO NOT climb with wet shoes on! Don’t be crazy.
It will feel surreal at first, once you’re back on the road. On your drive back, you will reminisce about this adventure. You will feel accomplished, and get an overwhelming feeling of wanting some kind of prize. Stop by the Saloon by Superstitions Mountain and get yourself a Mammoth Burger. You deserve it! ;)