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Situated in the Sonoran Desert against the scenic backdrop of the Superstition Mountains just 35 miles east of Phoenix is the Old West town of Apache Junction. Once home to various Native American cultures, Spanish explorers, gold miners and movie studios, Apache Junction today is a frequent winter refuge for many people due to its year-round sunshine and warm weather. The town is named after the junction of US Highway 60 and the historic Apache Trail.
Dominated by the impressive Superstition Mountains and surrounded by the beauty of electric blue skies, desert wildflowers and cacti, Apache Junction is also steeped in the famous legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine. According to this legend, a German immigrant by the name of Jacob Waltz allegedly discovered a rich gold mine in the late 1800s and revealed its location on his deathbed to a woman who had boarded him for many years. Although several gold mines in the area have been claimed since then, Waltz’s has yet to be verified. The mountain region around Apache Junction continues to be popular among gold hunters today.
While gold is certainly a major appeal, Apache Junction offers many other attractions that include historic sites, dinner theaters, lively festivals and plenty of outdoor recreation. For example, the Superstition Mountain Museum is an excellent place to learn about the history and folklore of the area with its collection of artifacts, Native American handicrafts and buildings that once served as studios for western movies in which celebrities like Ronald Reagan and Elvis Presley starred.
Recreated from an authentic Old West town, Goldfield Ghost Town features historic buildings that formerly housed saloons, a blacksmith shop, boarding house, meat market, general store and school. A visit here offers fun for the whole family with train rides, mock gun fights, gold panning, souvenir shops and a steakhouse restaurant. At the Stagecoach site, reproduced shops of the 1800s can be visited such as a Wells Fargo office, barber shop and stage coach terminal.
The Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman State Park offer a variety of outdoor activities including hiking trails, horse riding, camping and wildlife viewing. The nearby lakes of Apache, Saguaro, Roosevelt and Canyon present fishing, boating and water skiing. Additionally, steamboat cruises are available on Canyon Lake. Apache Junction also provides several excellent golf courses including the Apache Creek Golf Course and the Gold Canyon Golf Resort.
Throughout the year, Apache Junction hosts a number of festivals and events that celebrate the town’s history, culture and traditions. Some of the most popular are Lost Dutchman Days, Superstition Mountain Chili Cook-Off, National Day of the Cowboy and the Renaissance Festival.
Dining and nightlife choices in Apache Junction offer good food and fun with restaurants and sports bars specializing in various cuisines from grill to steakhouses, Mexican and Chicago-style dishes. The Arizona Opry features fantastic meals accompanied by captivating shows of music and comedy.
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