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Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding in Show Low

Have you always thought Arizona was just a desert?

Nestled here in the high country of the White Mountains is the largest stand of Ponderosa pines in the U.S. Rugged cliffs, mountains and canyons, pines and aspen, wildlife, and lakes make this a hiking and biking paradise. Our mountains and valleys provide a natural terrain for elk, deer, bear, beaver, trout, eagle, hawks, and so much more.

Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding in Three Forks (image)

A full trail system is in place, providing areas where you can go for an easy walk or for the more adventurous, a strenuous, heart-pumping hike.

The White Mountains trail system consists of twenty-five to thirty interconnecting, multi-use trail loops ranging from the community of Vernon on the eastern edge and stretching to the community of Clay Springs to the west.

TRACKS trail members have created a website for trail information including maps of our area. Bring your walking stick—winter, spring, summer, fall—we have it all!

For more information, you should also visit the Arizona State Parks’ website for information on the Arizona Trails Program.

Before participating in activities on any Native American lands, please check their rules and regulations at the White Mountain Apache Tribe Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation website.

Please keep in mind:

  • White Mountain Trail system trails are marked with blue diamonds
  • Trail users are reminded to follow multi-use trail etiquette and show courtesy to all users
  • Pets must be on a leash of no more than 6′ when on the trails or in camp areas
  • Pet owners must clean up their pet’s waste and deposit in trash receptacles
  • All downhill traffic must yield to uphill traffic
  • All users must yield to saddle stock (horses and mules)
  • Bicyclists must yield to all other trail users
  • Leave the area in as good or better condition than you found it
  • Tread lightly and leave no trace; avoid wet or muddy trails and pack out litter

Our Favorite Hikes

Discover some of our favorite hikes from Take a Hike, a comprehensive White Mountain trails guide, published by White Mountain Independent. Order your copy, with more information on these amazing hikes, so you’re prepared for hiking in the White Mountains.

The Rim Trail #615

Distance:
0.91 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
To reach the Rim Trail, travel north from the Lakeside USFS ranger station, past Camp Tatiyee, and look for the Mogollon Rim Trail sign on the left.

Why we love this hike:
The Rim Trail includes an outstanding scenic overlook of part of the Mogollon Rim, a unique geological feature in Arizona.

Show Low Bluff Trail

Distance:
0.67 miles or 1.5 mile loop

How to get to the trailhead:
Follow State Highway 260 for 7.1 miles west from the Lakeside Ranger Station and turn right at the Woolford Road extension.

Why we love this hike:
Most of this trail is in the pines, with nice views of the Show Low meadow and Show Low Creek.

Show Low City Park Trail

Distance:
1.1 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
Located on the northeast corner of HWY 260 and the Deuce of Clubs in Show Low, at the City of Show Park.

Why we love this hike:
This 1.1 mile soft asphalt paved loop is a favorite among locals and visitors and you may see some local wildlife during an early morning or evening stroll.

Woodland Lake Trails Systems

Distance:
3 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the traffic light on AZ 260 at Pinetop-Lakeside Plaza, go south (toward McNary) 1.2 miles. Turn right on Woodland Rd and go 0.3 miles to the first entrance (the ramadas and boat dock) or go 0.4 miles to the second entrance (the ball fields and tennis courts).

Why we love this hike:
The majority of the trail systems is a rural treasure within city limits, the trails offer something for almost everyone.

Bear Creek Trail #66

Distance:
0.75 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From Alpine, drive south on Hwy. 191 to Forest Road (FR) 26, then follow FR 26 to FR 24 and turn left. Follow FR 24 one-quarter mile past Bear Creek and turn right at the old corrals. Look for an information kiosk marking the trailhead.

Why we love this hike:
Bear Creek trail takes you through tall ponderosa and Douglas-fir trees to the willows along the banks of the cool, clear Black River.

Rim Lake Vista Trail #622

Distance:
3.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
The main trailhead is located just west of State Highway 260 along Forest Road 300. Forest Road 300 is located approximately 26 miles west of Heber, immediately across from the Rim Visitor Center.

Why we love this hike:
The paved portion of Rim Lakes Vista trail traverses the very edge of the Mogollon Rim from one spectacular viewpoint to another.

Summit Trail Loop

Distance:
4.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
Summit Trail Loop is a paved loop that is approximately 4.5 miles long, that take you from HWY 60, through Summit Trail, to Clark Rd (HWY 260).

Why we love this hike:
This paved path provides forested views of HWY 60 and are followed by the quiet woodland area and golf course views of Torreon, followed with the main traveled area of Clark Road (HWY 260).

West Fork Trail #94

Distance:
5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Eagar stoplight, travel west on AZ Highway 260 for 9.6 miles to AZ Highway 373. Turn left (south) on AZ Highway 373 for 4.3 miles. Turn right on Osborne Road. The trailhead is .2 miles on the left.

Why we love this hike:
West Fork Trail travels through a checkerboard of forests and meadows. Look for wildlife browsing at the forest edge.

East Baldy #95

Distance:
6 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
To get to the East Baldy Trail #95, drive East on Highway 260 from Pinetop for 17 miles. At the Sunrise Ski Resort sign, turn south onto Arizona Highway 273 and drive 10.9 miles.

Why we love this hike:
There are some strenuous portions to this trail, making the panoramic views a true reward.

South Fork #97

Distance:
6 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
To reach this trail, drive south on Highway 260, pass Greer, and turn towards Eagar; take Forest Road 560 where there is a sign for South Fork and follow 560 to the campground. (Note: no camping allowed because of the Wallow Fire).

Why we love this hike:
The South Fork trail is a beautiful one that winds along the Little Colorado River. Mt. Baldy and Greens Peak can be viewed from the benches on the upper portion of the trail.

Blue Ridge Trail #107

Distance:
8.4 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From Pinetop, turn off White Mountain Rd (AZ260) onto Buck Springs Road, left on Sky High Road for about 1.5 miles, then left on Forest Road 187 to trailhead #2. From Lakeside, from AZ260 turn onto Moonridge, right on Billy Creek, left on Meadow to cross the bridge, right on Pine Shadow around the curve, then right on FR187 for about 0.8 miles to trailhead #1.

Why we love this hike:
The trail follows Billy Creek and winds through a ponderosa pine forest to the top of Blue Ridge Mountain. The mountain is volcanic in origin and its summit offers scenic vistas.

Escudilla Trail #308

Distance:
3 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
To get to Escudilla National Recreation Trail #308, drive approximately 5 miles south of Nutrioso toward Alpine. There is a small sign that says Terry Flat on the right of the highway. Turn left onto Forest Road 8056. There are no signs to indicate the road leads to Escudilla Mountain. Continue driving 3.6 miles, past Hulsey Lake. At Hulsey, however, take advantage of using the outhouse. Again, on FR8056, you will come to a fork in the road. To the right is the way to Terry Flat; staying left will take you to Escudilla Trailhead with a small parking area to the right.

Why we love this hike:
This three-mile walk to the top of Arizona’s third highest mountain is such an outstanding trail that it has been given recognition by Congress as a National Recreation Trail. The scenery is magnificent, the surroundings are picturesque, and the walking is comparatively easy, considering the heights to which you are headed.

Squirrel Springs Recreation Area #331

Distance:
14 miles (all trails), trail difficulties vary

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Eagar stoplight, travel west on AZ Highway 260 for 9.6 miles to AZ Highway 373. Turn left (south) on AZ Highway 373 for 2.2 miles. The trailhead is on the right.

Why we love this hike:
In the winter, trails can be used for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.

Big Lake Nature Trail #603

Distance:
.5 mile

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Eagar stoplight, travel west on AZ Highway 260 for 2.8 miles to AZ Highway 261. Turn left (south) on AZ Highway 261 for 16.3 miles to AZ Highway 273. Turn left for 2.2 miles to the Big Lake turnoff (FR 115). Turn right on FR 115 and travel a half mile. The Visitor Center is on the left. The trail starts there.

Why we love this hike:
Many wonders of nature can be viewed in a short walk, making it a great place to take the family and view nature at its best.

Ice Cave Trail #608

Distance:
3.6 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Lakeside Ranger Station on White Mountain Boulevard, travel south on Arizona 260 0.1 mile, turn left on Porter Mountain Road (FR 45) for 1 mile. The trailhead is on the right about 9.1 mile past the middle school roundabout and has limited parking.

Why we love this hike:
Midway along the trail is the “Ice Cave.” The cave is really a lava tube. The name “Ice Cave” probably came from the constant flow of cool air (about 52 degrees F) leaving the cave. The cave is currently fenced off by the USFS for protection and preservation.

Indian Springs #627

Distance:
7.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Eagar stoplight, travel west on AZ Highway 260 for 2.8 miles to AZ Highway 261. Turn left (south) on AZ Highway 261 for 16.3 miles to AZ Highway 273. Turn left and travel 2.8 miles to FR 249E. Turn right on FR 249E and the trailhead is .3 mile on the left.

Why we love this hike:
The trail is wide and graveled since part of the trail is the remnant of the Apache Railway Company’s Maverick Line. Look for the historic troughs by Spillman Springs.

Los Burros #631

Distance:
13 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From Show Low, take Highway 60 east to Vernon, turn right at the Vernon general store onto FR 224 (Vernon/McNary Road), go about 10 miles and turn left onto the Los Burros campground. The trailhead is at the far end of the entry road.

Why we love this hike:
A great trail to view aspen colors in the fall, the Los Burros trail also offers opportunities to view and hear elk.

Country Club Trail #632

Distance:
3.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
Take Highway 260 (White Mountain Blvd) through Pinetop south; left on Buck Springs Road, left on Sky High Road for about 2 miles, and turn right as if into the Sierra Springs development. The trailhead is immediately to the left on Forest Road 185. 4 wheel drive is not needed.

Why we love this hike:
The trail loops through a ponderosa pine forest along Whitcomb Springs Meadow.

Springs Trail #633

Distance:
3.6 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Lakeside Ranger Station, travel south on AZ 260 for 5 miles. Turn left on Buck Springs Rd, then left again on Sky Hi Rd (FR 182). Continue 1.1 miles to the trailhead on the left.

Why we love this hike:
The Springs Trail is a cool, refreshing trip along the Billy Creek and Thompson Creek riparian areas. This trail can be muddy during spring and monsoon seasons.

Timber Mesa Trail #636

Distance:
7.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
To get to this trailhead from the Lakeside Ranger Station, travel south on Arizona 260 for 0.1 mile; turn left on Porter Mountain Road (FR 45) for 2.2 miles, then right at the Penrod Road junction and continue to the trailhead on the left.

Why we love this hike:
This trail has been rerouted into scenic areas. The right half of the old trail remains and continues off to the right through forested areas. The reroute is about 2 miles longer than the old Timber Mesa Trail.

Osprey Connector #636C

Distance:
2.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Lakeside Ranger Station on White Mountain Boulevard, travel south on Arizona 260 for 0.1 mile. Turn Left on Porter Mountain Road (FR 45) for 1.7 miles, then turn right at the junction of Porter Mountain Road and Penrod, and continue on Porter Mountain Road for 0.5 mi to the Timber Mesa Trailhead on the left, or, access from the Ice Cave trailhead/trail on Porter Mountain Road, or access from Porter Mountain Road just east of the Timber Mesa trailhead.

Why we love this hike:
The Osprey Connector enables access to the White Mountains Trail System from the Timber Mesa Trail and connects to other trails, including Ice Cave, Blue Ridge, Springs, County Club, Los Burros and Land of the Pioneers.

Buena Vista Trail #637

Distance:
10 mile loop

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Show Low Post Office, travel south on AZ 60 about 4.5 miles. Turn left on FR 300 and the trailhead is on the left.

Why we love this hike:
The trail follows portions of old logging roads through oak, manzanita, and pine. Impressive views are available on a clear day. Mount Baldy is visible to the east and the Colorado plateau to the north.

Juniper Ridge #640

Distance:
11.4 miles – long loop

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Show Low Post Office on Highway 60 (Deuce of Clubs Drive), travel west on Arizona 260 for 11 miles to Farnsworth Ranch Road; turn left for two miles to the trailhead, which is accessible without four-wheel drive.

Why we love this hike:
This trail gives interesting views of ecological changes caused by the Rodeo-Chediski Fire of 2002.

Land of the Pioneers #651

Distance:
8.7 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From Show Low, travel east on AZ 60 for 19.4 miles. Turn south on CR 3140 (FR 224), through Vernon, then west on FR 5 for 0.5 mile. The trailhead is on the right.

Why we love this hike:
The Land of the Pioneers Trail winds through ponderosa, pinion and juniper pine. Excellent views of the eastern White Mountain are had from Ecks Mountain on the Long Loop.

Mt. Baldy Crossover #96

Distance:
3.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
Drive Arizona Highway 260 east, past McNary. Turn onto Arizona Highway 273 to Sunrise Ski Resort. Drive approximately 7 miles to the West Baldy Trail.

Why we love this hike:
The trail meanders through dense forest with large, old ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and spruce. Portions cut through open meadows where it’s a great place to watch wildlife nibbling on the tall grass. Maximum group size is 12.

Schell Canyon #316

Distance:
.8 mile

How to get to the trailhead:
Drive south on HWY 191 approximately 29 miles to Forest Road 54. Head 5.9 miles west on FR 54 to a fork in the road. Proceed through the gate along the right fork about 0.6 mile to the end of the road at the Rose Springs Trailhead. Ros Spring Trail begins 20 yards below the parking area at a signed gate in the fence. Follow this trail about 3 miles to the junction marked by a sign where Schell Canyon Trail branches off to the north.

Why we love this hike:
This hike provides marvelous woodland scenery early on followed by delightful views of the Mogollon Rim and some streamside hiking.

Los Caballos #638

Distance:
15.5 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
From the Show Low Post Office on Highway 60 (Deuce of Clubs Drive), travel west on Arizona 260 for 3.9 miles, turn left on FR 136 (Joe Tank Road). The trailhead is on the right after 0.6 miles and is accessible without four-wheel drive.

Why we love this hike:
Los Caballos Trail travels through burned and unburned forest and includes a number of steep grades. This trail offers an interesting look at the ecology that follows a forest fire.

Lookout Connector #640A

Distance:
4 miles

How to get to the trailhead:
The trail is accessible from the connected trails or off Wildcat Road south of Timberland Acres subdivision in Linden.

Why we love this hike:
This trail is named for the Juniper Ridge Lookout tower; the highest point on the connector at 6998 feet in elevation.

Show Low Chamber of Commerce President's Club Members

Show Low Chamber of Commerce