This is definitely a drive worth driving :-) It is very close to Phoenix / Scottsdale and you can drive all the way through, just getting off the car at lookouts, if that is what you want to do. It can be a nice program for a lazy day when you want something else than hiking. One thing we noticed was that unlike other desert destinations, there were bugs here and they were quite annoying at a few places where we stayed out of the car longer.
The trail starts at Apache Junction and ends at Globe, even though you may leave it early using the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. We personally did not find Globe attractive at all, but I am not sure if we found the "downtown" we were looking for.