Fast Flight Facts
Target Species: Desert species
Habitat: Lower Sonoran Desert with a flowing creek and some riparian habitat
Overall Birding Rating: 2
Difficulty: 1-3 (Easy to Moderate)
Birding Type: Moderate Hiking
Facilities: Parking, restrooms, restaurant, camping
Fees/Ownership: None, part of the Tonto National Forest
Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix: Apache Junction /40 miles east-northeast of Phoenix
Getting there: Accessed by turnoffs and pull offs from the Apache Trail
Overview: Only two miles east of Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail is Tortilla Flat, which may be a convenient stop for birders with limited birding time or a place for camping. Most of Tortilla Flat consists of Sonoran Desert, with the exception of Tortilla Creek flowing through the area. Nice riparian habitat can be found along the creek. This would be a good place to visit in migration or early in the morning for viewing desert birds. Tortilla Campground is also here. This is a nice 75 spot campground which may be a good place to stay at if wanting to bird the Apache Trail over the course of a few days. This is a very crowded place however on the weekends, as there are a few shops and a restaurant. People crowd here quickly, and unless it is an early morning stop, avoid Tortilla Flat completely on weekends. This area too has scenic beauty and can potentially be a productive place to explore that is close by to Canyon Lake.
Birding Tip: As mentioned above, come early to bird this place. Migration periods would be the best time to bird Tortilla Flat, which is often too crowded for birding in the afternoon. This is a close stop for an additional place to bird near Canyon Lake if not wanting to drive the rough roads of the Apache Trail. Try birding the creek as well as the campground loop.
Directions: Tortilla Flat is only two miles east of Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail near mile marker 214-215.
Tortilla Flat Maps
Scenes and Sights from Tortilla Flat:
Back to Area 3-Apache Trail