Why historic Tortilla Flat is a perfect summer trip

Above: Tortilla Flat. Experience AZ | 10 Apr, 2021 |

As summer has just begun and continues under the hot blazing sun, you and your family might be searching for and craving exciting, new activities that truly allow some social distancing. Tortilla Flat serves as that perfect, ideal destination with its close proximity to the Valley, picturesque views, and wide variety of attractions, and did we mention there is a population of six people? This local spot is sure to make anyone’s staycation much more interesting and intimate.

This historic, Western town nestled right in the heart of the Superstition Mountains, Tortilla Flat is small but mighty, boasting a population of six people and is complete in its own way with a restaurant and saloon, museum, country store and mercantile. There are several things to do in this perfect, quaint town. Once you get there, you’ll see the famous old toilet seat hanging from the boardwalk, and as you start exploring, you’ll see the dollar bills covering the entire wall of their one and only restaurant and the popular bar seat saddles to giddy up at the bar—more than 100 years of authentic Arizona history you can see and touch.

Dating all the way back to 1904, this homey-town served as a stagecoach stop along the Apache Trail, which then later became a camping ground for prospectors searching for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. Through a devastating fire and several floods, it’s maintained its sweet, western charm for over 100 years. The drive to this quaint town has 127 hairpin turns and curves, accompanied with breathtaking views, such as the unbelievable sight of Canyon Lake, Apache Lake and the wondrous Superstition Mountains.

“We see a lot of families coming off the lake, then they’ll pop up for a quick lunch, go on hikes—there’s a lot to do for 9.4 acres,” said Chris Field, operations director of Tortilla Flat. With their four visitor spots: The Restaurant and Saloon with their seasonal BBQ patio that features live music seven days a week, their Mercantile and Gift Shop with handmade, authentic items to purchase, Country Store with ice cream, homemade fudge and old-school sodas, and lastly, their Museum that used to be an old schoolhouse back in 1932.

“I think one of the biggest draws to Tortilla is if you really think about Phoenix as a whole, there’s only a handful of those authentic, old-West experiences,” Field continued. On site, you will find over 100 years of history, starting with the famous legend of Jacob Waltz, the Lost Dutchman, to viewing old mining equipment, machinery and wagons on site. So, for you curious history-buffs, this is a level of uniqueness and never-ending historical knowledge of Arizona you will not find anywhere else.

“I can’t overstate just being out here with the mountains and the view, how much people like sitting on a bench eating our famous Prickly Pear Gelato, staring at the view,” Field said. This still-standing small town is notoriously known for their Prickly Pear Gelato, so find a bench, buy some gelato and soak in the history and unbelievable views of this whimsical town this summer.

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