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Hike #23 – Lower Log Campground

Lower Log Campground
Lower Log Campground

Location: From the Pinetop Post Office on SR 260 (map):

  • Drive 4.7 miles east on 260 to the junction of SR 73 at the corner of the Hon-Dah Casino.
  • Turn right on 73 and drive south down the hill for 6.5 miles to Roberts Ranch Road on the left.
  • Turn in on the initially paved road that soon becomes gravel and dirt.
  • Drive 1.0 miles up the hill to a T. Turn right on the Lower Log Road and drive down the long hill, cross the bridge over the North Fork of the White River which is about 1 mile from the T. The road parallels the campground and river for about one half mile. You can park anywhere on the right between the road and river.

Trail: There is no designated trail but you can walk all along the river edge from the bridge west for about one-half mile when the trail beyond the last camping area ends and your way is blocked by a rock face. If you walk the road, it is a wide fairly rough dirt road with gravel and rock.

Trailhead and Directions: Again there is no trailhead as you can enter the walk along the river anywhere. If the campground is crowded and you want to enjoy a walk without going by campers with the dogs and children, you can walk the main road to the west. The road climbs a steep hill and then levels out, climbs and crosses drainages, and continues uphill for about two miles. There are several logging roads on the east side of the main road after the initial upgrade hike. You can walk any of these as they all seem to go a half mile or more and then die out. The roads on the right (west) side of the main road are usually signed No Entry, so don’t walk them.

Access: Hiking or bicycles only. No motorized vehicles, although you can drive your car up the main road, stop and hike anywhere. The campground is generally flat enough to permit wheelchair access to the river’s edge. Also the road could be negotiated by wheelchair, but it is rough. A day-use permit from the Apache Reservation is required to walk anywhere on their land.

Distance: The walk from one end of the campground to the other is about one-half mile so round trip would be one mile. You can walk west and up the main dirt road as far as you wish. We usually go about 1.5 miles and come back for a nice three-mile hike.

Difficulty: Easy walking around the campground and on the main road, but all logging roads on the left (south) of the campground and up the hill are moderately difficult just because there is a significant elevation gain.

Features: Birding can be good along the river especially when there are few or no campers. Ospreys nest on the north side. Occasional Great Blue Herons, Common Mergansers, Mallards, American Dipper, Spotted Sandpiper, and Belted Kingfishers are present. The trees support the usual forest birds like chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, juncos, jays, robin, bluebirds, Grace’s, Yellow-rumped, and Red-faced Warblers, and Painted Redstarts. We have heard and seen Common Nighthawks here as well.

There are large alder, Box Elder, and walnut trees along the river, and Smooth Sumac, Arizona Grape, Woodbine, and seasonal flowers as well. A walk up the road can be productive after the monsoons with Bergamot, Pony Beebalm, Pineywoods Geranium, White Prairie Clover, Narrow-leaf Cologania, Pygmy Bluet, Mexican Hat, and Black Medic being especially common. Larkspur, lupine, iris, Narrow-leaf Plantain, wild rose, New Mexico Locust, mullein, and other species can be found.

Connections: None.

Lower Log Campground
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