We have done the Apache Trail as a family many times. This is are very favorite family drive. We call it the "any car off-roading adventure."
We have seen some awesome wildlife......like tarantulas.... ahhh!!!, fun echo spots, milder temperatures, nice antique shopping, great people watching, hiking trails. You name it. Every time we go we see something new. There are great picnic spots along the way. We usually enter from Apache Junction and make the full rounds down through Globe. It is a long trek. But well worth it. Do stop at the Indian ruins (Tonto National Monument..link below), and Tortilla Flat has an interesting little eatery that is worth stopping at. ****Ask them how many dollar bills they have on the walls.****
Below is some more info on the trail as well as specific links.
The Apache Trail, or AZ 88 as it is officially known, links Apache Junction at the edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Globe via Theodore Roosevelt Lake, through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest;
40 miles of steep, winding and mostly unpaved road past magnificent scenery of twisted igneous mountains with dense forests of saguaro and ferocactus, and several deep blue lakes.
Past the lakes, the trail continues in more traditional fashion to the former copper mining town of Globe, but it is the western half which is the most scenic and well-known.
Tonto National Monument consists of the ruins of two cliff dwellings established by the Salado Indians in about 1300 AD. The southeast-facing settlements were built quite high up a steep hillside within well-protected natural caves overlooking the Tonto Basin, which is now flooded forming Theodore Roosevelt Lake, though originally the Salt River flowed through the Basin which was therefore well irrigated and fertile. As with many other ancient peoples of the Southwest, the Salado appear to have abandoned their villages suddenly, early in the fifteenth century, for reasons which are not known. The national monument, which was established by President Roosevelt in December 1907, is located a few miles from state route 88 (The Apache Trail) and the shore of Theodore Roosevelt Lake, in a generally rocky and quite empty area that has extensive and varied cacti. There will be special activities and events throughout 2007 to celebrate the monument's centennial.