One of the most popular day trips from Mesa is up the historic Apache Trail through the mysterious Superstition Mountains and Tonto Natural Forest to Canyon Lake. You will see breathtaking canyons and mountain vistas, towering Saguaro cacti and desert wildflowers in the spring. You can visit prehistoric Indian ruins and museums, pan for gold in the ghost town of Goldfield, tour of one of 50 old mines, ride a narrow gauge railroad, explore the backroads on a Jeep tour, explore the natural beauty of Lost Dutchman State Park, and visit Tortilla Flat, an old stage coach stop with a population of six. Be sure to have dinner at the Mining Camp Restaurant, which follows the theme of an old mining camp cook shanty.
Complete your tour at Canyon Lake with a "Mark Twain” voyage aboard the Dolly Steamboat, a replica of a sternwheeler paddleboat. Cruise the lake's secluded inner waterways and photograph desert bighorn sheep if you are fortunate to see them. The 90-minute nature cruise or twilight dinner cruise will complete your step-back-in-time experience.