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Roosevelt Lake and Dam

Originally created for flood control and water storage, Roosevelt Dam was the first significant reclamation project in the west. Funds were approved in 1903 and the Apache Trail, a 60+ mile long road, was built to move supplies and equipment to help build the dam. Construction on the dam was begun in earnest in 1905, and was completed in 1911 at a cost of approximately 11 million dollars.

The dam underwent a major renovation during the 1990s, when it was raised 77 ft. to the current height of 357 feet. During the renovation, the dam received a number of improvements, including earthquake strengthening. A single span steel arch bridge was built to keep traffic off the dam, and, at 1,080 ft. long, is an engineering feat and one of the longest single span steel arch bridges in North America.

Roosevelt Lake has a number of nice facilities, including boat ramps, marina, store, restrooms, and picnic sites, and is a favorite destination for boaters and water skiers.

The lake itself is fed by the Salt River, Tonto Creek, and runoff from a number of streams and creeks. During a severe drought, there is very little water in the lake.

Anciently, this area was inhabited by the Salado. Excavations in the 1990s uncovered a number of structures built by the ancient inhabitants. Tonto National Monument, a set of nicely preserved cliff dwellings, is close by and worth a visit.

Location: The Apache Trail approaches through the Superstition Mountain Range from the west. US 88 bisects it from the south (Claypool) and 188 approaches from the north. It is located in Central Arizona approximately 2-2.5 hours from Metro Phoenix.

Climate: This is high desert. Summer temperatures easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hikers should carry plenty of water and be prepared for conditions.


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