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Morning Ride to Saguaro Lake, Bush Highway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 96 miles / 154.5 km
  • Ride Time: 4-6 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $7.30
  • State: Arizona
Submitted by:
bdking

Arizona has more boats per capita than any other state. This is either because there are so few people in Arizona, or a lot of fanatical boaters.
Saguaro Lake is close-in to Phoenix, and often on weekends the lake is so crowded that it is closed to new boats before noon. Translate this to mean loads of traffic -- trucks and SUV's pulling boat trailers, and a lot of the drivers are not what you would consider 'expert' drivers with a trailer, so make this drive early in the day.

I routed this to go up the Beeline highway first, and in the morning that's the best way because the sun won't be so directly in your eyes as you drive along the Bush highway.

Head North on the Beeline and follow the signs to the Bush Highway. turn right (the only way you can) and you'll be treated to a beautiful motorcycle road, nice curves, some elevation changes and fabulous scenery. I suggest you stop in at the Lakeshore Restaurant.

The Lakeshore Restaurant (http://www.saguarolakemarina.com/menu.html) opens at 9 every morning and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner until 9 at night. It sits on the edge of Saguaro lake beside the Marina and there is always something to watch out the expansive windows. Of course, the cliff faces surrounding the lake are a pleasure to view as well.



Visitors from outside the desert are usually surprised at the abundance of water in Arizona. Saguaro Lake extends over twelve miles from the dam just to the south of the Lakefront restaurant, and there are both rental boats and a large side wheeler that you can cruise on the lake.

Leaving the Marina, head back left on the Bush highway and you will pass the dam and a number of parking areas: this is a popular location for tubing down the salt river, so watch out for buses filled with tubing fans. The speed limit varies from 35 near the dam to 55 nearer to town, and there are a lot of cops, so watch your speed.

There are lots of tight curves, dips and blind corners, so I suggest caution for your first ride down the Bush highway.

You can continue back to Loop 202 and make this a 70 minute ride, or turn left on the Usery Pass road and continue as shown to the Apache trail where you can see weaver's needle (of the Lost Dutchman Mine fame) and Apache lake.

The Apache trail is one of the most scenic rides in the state for such a short distance. There are mountain curves and grades, steep drop-offs and incredible panoramas.

Be careful of the blind curves. Some drivers, maybe fearful of the drop-offs, take their half of the road out of the middle, so take it easy on the blind curves.

After about fifteen miles you'll cross a bridge over a part of Canyon lake. Lakeside Restaurant (a different one!) and another marina are there. I suggest continuing to Tortilla Flats, a short ride ahead. There is a tourist stop there in what is claimed to have been a stage coach stop at one time.




The food is good, and the ambiance pretty fascinating.

The walls are covered with dollar bills, most signed by the visitor who left it, and the management encourages al guests to sign and leave a dollar to paste on the wall. I can't imagine what the insurance would be at this place, but if you have time, stop in the gift shop.

If you have the skills or the bike, continue on up Apache trail, but it turns from asphalt to dirt in another 3 miles, and the road gets sandy and very loosely packed in spots. It is gorgeous, and I recommend it in a four wheeled vehicle, but I don't know that it would be pleasant on a street bike.

About all that leaves is turning around and heading back. If you have time left, stop at the Goldfield Ghost Town on your way back.


You'll recognize the scenery from a few movies, and if you are in the mood for a little tourism, the site is worthy of a few hours. There is a mine tour and a number of interesting gold mining artifacts as well.

I could gone on for quite a while about other museums and attractions on the Apache Trail. If it looks good, stop in. All of the them are interesting.

The ride back to Phoenix on Highway 60 can be very monotonous after the great mountain curves and grades of this trip.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Arizona. This motorcycle route has 9 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by bdking in September. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by bdking

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Morning Ride to Saguaro Lake, Bush Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Morning Ride to Saguaro Lake, Bush Highway

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverDesert

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHillyHeavy TrafficAverageAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

bdking says:

Great ride, but some heavy traffic during early afternoon.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

DJPhatt says:

It's a great scenic day run we do all the time.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM






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