Outdoor Recreation

Hiking Throughout The White Mountains

weather-backHiking throughout The White Mountains is a year-round experience. From the rugged terrain of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to the White Mountains Trail System, there are trails for all levels and ages. The White Mountains Trail System is a series of 25 to 30 interconnecting, multi-use trail loops ranging from the community of Vernon on the eastern edge and stretching to the community of Clay Springs in the west. The system includes urban trails in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, the City of Show Low and the Wagon Wheel area. Currently five delightful parks are being connected to the System: Fools Hollow Lake, Woodland Lake Park, Big Springs Environmental Study Area and Billy Creek.

The excellent Trail System has been nationally ranked as one of the nation’s premier hiking destinations. The region is attracting hikers of all ages and abilities and is quickly becoming a burgeoning tourism draw as well. Most trails are also inhabited by watchable wildlife, including elk, bear, mountain lion, antelope, deer, javelina, turkey, quail, as well as rabbit. Depending on the season, waterfowl are also found throughout the abundant lakes and streams.

One of the unique features of the Trail System is the Trail Loop concept. Traditionally, most trails go from point A to point B, requiring a return trip over the same terrain. The Trail System loop goes from point A and returns to point A. Loops are also joined by connector trails, making longer traverses possible. Loops vary in size, allowing a pleasant evening walk, a day-hike with a stop at selected picnic-type areas, a multi-day horseback trail ride, an adventurous back-pack trip, or a scenic mountain bike tour. During winter, selected areas are open to cross-country skiing.

Recreational Mountain Biking

mountain bikingOne of the fastest growing recreation activities, mountain biking in the White Mountains is a huge draw. The region is primarily forest, with some high desert elevations. Throughout the White Mountains TrailSystem, as well as the miles of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Service roads, mountain bike enthusiasts can travel for great distances without interference from motorized vehicles. With the high altitude, triathletes are discovering the White Mountains region as a prime training location. It has been estimated that within the TrailSystem and connecting trails, a bike rider can travel for more than 120 miles without interruption.

ATV/UTV Riding

The White Mountain Open Trails Association (WMOTA) is a family oriented group of adult ATV/UTV riders. The club is a socially oriented organization with the purpose of promoting safety, conservation, and the education of fellow members and the public on protecting our land and the future of the sport. Off-highway enthusiasts are invited to enjoy the beautiful White Mountain country while preserving the integrity of the landscape by riding trails designated for this purpose.

WMOTA has catalogued numerous trails in Arizona and throughout the western United States. Club members will have access to all of these trails and be invited to monthly rides and camping outings. More information and membership applications may be obtained at: www.wmota.org

Four Seasons of Hunting

The White Mountains are known for their abundant stock of wildlife. In accordance with Arizona Department of Game and Wildlife resource management, game hunts are planned and monitored throughout the year. The primary game stock is elk and the area has become legendary for world-class hunting. Bear, mountain lion, antelope, deer, javelina, turkey, quail, rabbit and waterfowl are also found in this area. The White Mountains offer virtual year-round hunting experiences and are quite varied. In addition to the Arizona state controlled hunting, the White Mountain Apache Tribe organizes game draws as well.

Golf in the White Mountains

golfWhen the desert summers heat up and golfing fanatics find their tee-times limited, the White Mountains offer full days of cool fun. The region is a magnet for golfers from throughout the southwest and boasts summer temperatures in the low 80’s. There are currently ten verdant courses that will challenge all levels of duffers. Although most courses are closed during the winter, they reopen in spring with full slates of classes, driving ranges, tournaments and scrambles. Golfing in the region is becoming very popular with younger players and families as well.

History and Heritage

Madonna of the Trail

The Madonna of the Trail is one of twelve statues built across the country in the 1930s to honor the spirit of the pioneer woman. The 12-foot cast sculptures are monument sized and a popular draw for American art history buffs. One of these rare sculptures was placed in Springerville on Main Street.

Show Low Historical Society Museum

From household items to tools of the common settler, this local museum documents life in Arizona. The collection houses items dating from the 1870s to the 1940s. Of special interest are the Whipple Ruins and a wood beam excavated in 1927.

Pioneer Home Tours

Snowflake has more than 45 historic homes listed on the National Historic Homes Registry. These homes were handcrafted and built in Arizona when the state was in its infancy, and in some cases, still a territory. Guided tours are available throughout the year, with more frequency in the summer.

Apache County Historical Museum

museumLocated in St. Johns, the Apache County Historical Museum offers a glimpse into the history of the area. The museum traces the inhabitants of the region, beginning with dinosaurs who called the banks of the Little Colorado River home. Ancient primitive cultures who made their homes here are also featured. There is information about the Spanish Explorer Coronado, who with his expedition, crossed the river near St. Johns in 1540. Some of the descendants of the Conquistadors ultimately settled here. Later, in the 1880s pioneer families arrived from the East and re-settled the area calling it St. Johns.

Little House Museum

Located west of Springerville, the museum features an authentic presentation of ranching, outlaw, and pioneer history. A truly unique museum nestled in the majestic canyon walls of the Little Colorado River, The Little House Museum houses a collection of local history including, historical photos and mementos marking the passage of time and style of life in Arizona. The newly restored Husley House offers visitors a close look into a way of life long lost. The museum is an authentic presentation of ranching, outlaw, and pioneer history. A truly unique museum nestled in the majestic canyon walls of the Little Colorado River, The Little House Museum features a collection of local history including, historical photos and mementos marking the passage of time and style of life. Revisit a way of life in the newly restored Husley House.

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