Great Papago Escape Tunnel – Scottsdale, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

Great Papago Escape Tunnel

The exit of the largest prisoner-of-war escape attempt on American soil during World War II. 

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During World War II, 25 German prisoners of war escaped from an American facility during an event known at the Great Papago Escape. The prisoners dug a tunnel from Camp Papago Park to a canal that leads to the Salt River. They built a raft, but discovered upon reaching the river that it was nearly devoid of water. They fled to the surrounding desert, some of them making it within miles of the Mexican border. All of them were caught within a month of their escape.

The exit of the tunnel is memorialized today with a marker, that’s largely ignored by the many bicyclists and joggers who use the path.

Know Before You Go

There isn't really an address for the unimposing monument in the dirt next to canal. It is indicated on Google Maps, at this address. Access the canal where Oak Street dead ends. Then it's a two-block walk north along the wide path.

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