Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Quick Facts

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Arizona

(520) 333-4301

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests were administratively combined in 1974 and are now managed as one unit from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Springerville. The two million acre Forest encompasses magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

What makes this Forest so special? It's the water...lots of it...draining the high mountains and forming numerous lakes and streams...a fisherman's paradise in the arid Southwest.

The Apache-Sitgreaves has 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams - more than can be found in any other Southwestern National Forest. The White Mountains contain the headwaters of several Arizona rivers including the Black, the Little Colorado, and the San Francisco.

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors from the hot valleys of Phoenix or Tucson are the Mogollon Rim and the string of man-made lakes. From the Rim's 7600-foot elevation, vista points provide inspiring views of the low country to the south and west.

In the last century, the US Army established a series of forts in New Mexico and Arizona. To supply these forts and settlements, a military road was built linking Sante Fe, New Mexico and Camp Verde near Prescott. Part of this road, called the General Crook Trail, runs almost the length of the Sitgreaves and in many places follows the brink of the Rim.

The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses and the Blue Range Primitive Area make the Apache one of America's premier backcountry Forests. The Apache is also noted for its trout streams and high-elevation lakes and meadows.

Map of Apache-Sitgreaves Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 33.637222, -109.288056

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    Please contact the park for lake accessibility and conditions.

  • Bicycling

    Just looking at the Forest map should make it apparent that the opportunities to go mountain biking are almost limitless. Many of the roads that crisscross the Forests are made to order for these sturdy all-terrain bicycles that have evolved as a hybrid of the old balloon tired cruiser and the sleek ten-speed racer. There are jeep tracks, logging roads, and little used forest roads where motorized traffic is infrequent enough not to interfere with bike riding. The best way to find these unmarked bonanzas is to get a Forest map and start looking for the double dotted lines or unshaded double solid lines that indicate primitive roads or dirt roads. The next step is to pick out the ones which lead to places that look to be of interest to you. If you have the time and inclination, this way of approaching the situation is a bit like discovering the forest all over again and seeing it from a brand new perspective in the process.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Please contact the park for information on auto/motorcycle tours.

  • Camping

    The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offers fee campgrounds and non-fee campgrounds for visitors to stay at. Fee campgrounds typically offer more amenities than non-fee campgrounds such as trash services, potable water, and showers. Both Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests have multiple campgrounds.

  • Fishing

    The forest is also considered one of the top forests in the nation for fishing. The Apache-Sitgreaves contains over 450 miles of streams and nearly 2,000 surface acres of cold water lakes. Fish species include Arctic Grayling, Rainbow, German Brown, Brook, Apache, and Cutthroat trout. Bring your favorite fishing gear and try your luck. Be sure to check State Fishing Regulations before wetting your line.

  • Hiking

    Opportunities abound for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Trails within the wilderness and primitive areas are designed for hikers and horses. Trails outside these areas can include a broad spectrum of users.

    The Forest has four National Recreation Trails: Eagle, Blue Ridge, Escudilla, and General George Crook. Additionally, many of the forest trails are part of the White Mountain Trail System which is managed in partnership with the Pinetop-Lakeside TRACKS volunteers. The Forest does offer several barrier free trails, including; Mogollon Rim Interpretative Trail and Pintail Lake Wetland.

  • Historic Sites

    Park has a histroy ranging from

  • Horseback Riding

    Contact park for more information on the paths perfect for horseback.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is available; please contact the park for information on licenses and restrictions. The forest is home to most big game animals, such as antelope, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and turkey.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Please contact the forest for information on OHV use. All off-highway vehicles must obtain an up-to-date OHV Decal.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is encouraged in park.

  • RVing

    RVing is permitted in certain areas in which the park offers fee campgrounds and non-fee campgrounds for visitors to stay at.

  • Winter Sports

    The high country on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest receives ample snow each year for various types of snow play. During most winters, skiing and snowmobiling can first occur around Christmas but sometimes the snow simply doesn't show up until January. Popular winter activities include snowmobiling, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and ice fishing.

    There are four areas that are recommended for cross country skiing although there are endless other routes that could be selected: Hannagan Meadow south of Alpine, Williams Valley west of Alpine, Pole Knoll and Greer west of Springerville, and Forest Lakes west of Heber.

    Some of the finest downhill skiing in the entire Southwest can be found at Sunrise Park Ski Area between Eagar and Pinetop-Lakeside. Sunrise is a modern facility and can provide the visitor with everything from lodging to baby-sitting.

    Snowshoeing opportunities exist throughout the Forest but can be particularly fun when combined with ice fishing at Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, or Luna lakes. It will take snowmobiles to access the other good ice fishing lakes such as Big Lake, Crescent Lake, Chevelon Canyon Lake, and Bear Canyon Lake. Ice fishing is most convenient at Nelson Reservoir since its accessible by automobile.

    There is an area in Williams Valley west of Alpine that is very popular for tubing. This site offer opportunities to sled, tobaggon, or tube down the slope. Additionally, forest users often venture out to their own favorite locations.

Seasonality/Weather

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests provides a four season recreational experience with settings ranging from low elevation desert to high elevation mixed conifer stands. A word of caution, because of the dramatic differences in elevation across the Forest, there are chances for sudden storms and changes in weather.

Season of use varies depending on elevation and exposure. You can expect cool nights in the higher elevations even during the summer. Periodic thunderstorms are also common during July and August. Snow may completely cover some trails and access points through the month of May at higher elevations.

Directions

Driving

From Flagstaff, take I40 east to Holbrook, south on US 180 to US 191 and continue approximately 30 miles to Springerville.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(520) 333-4301

Links