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Hike #44 – Woodland Lake, Turkey Track Trail to foot trail along Walnut Creek to Big Springs (Option 2)

Lush vegetation and many flowers grow along the creek
Lush vegetation and many flowers grow along the creek

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

  • Drive west on 260 for 2 miles and turn left at the traffic light on Woodland Road.
  • Drive 0.3 miles south to the dirt parking lot on the left for Big Spring Environmental area and park one car there.
  • Drive the second car back up Woodland Road to 260 and turn right, go past the post office on 260 for 0.3 miles and turn right (south) on Woodland Lake Road between the gas station and the large flag pole.
  • Drive 0.2 miles and as the road bends south, turn right into the Woodland Lake Recreation Area.
  • Drive to the end of the road and park in the parking lot.

Trail: The trail is all dirt, wide in places and narrow and rough with rocks in others.

Trailhead and Directions: When you park, the lake will be to the south. The Turkey Track trail is on your right (north). Walk this trail for 0.43 miles and find the narrow signed “Foot Use Only” trail on the left. Follow this narrow trail down to the margin of Walnut Creek. Walk to the right along the creek for about 0.8 miles until you come to the wooden bridge. With the two-car option, cross the bridge and walk to the right 100 yards and then up the hill on the Turkey Track Trail. Walk up the hill and follow the Turkey Track Trail until you see three wooden signs. Turn right towards Big Spring. This intersection is 1.42 miles from the beginning of your walk. Follow this trail until you come to another intersection telling you to go right towards Big Springs. At the next intersection, you are on the Big Spring Trail. You can go left towards the pond and then back to your car or go right and go directly to your car. For details on the Big Spring trail, see that page on this web site. See the Woodland Lake Area Map.

Access: Hikers only on the creek side trail. No handicapped access.

Distance: The total from the lake to the Big Springs parking lot is about 2.1 miles.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate where the narrow walk-only trail drops down to the creek and again where it goes up through rocks on the other end.

Features: The trail passes through a mature Ponderosa Pine forest that has been thinned in the past. On the “foot travel only” trail, look for Claret Cup Cactus in spring, Creeping Barberry, Brickellia, and Torrey’s Craglily. The trail parallels Walnut Creek with lots of Coyote Willow, rushes, sedges, cattails, and many flowers like Golden Pea, Monkey Flower, Salt-spring Checkerbloom, Spotted Joe Pye Weed, False Hellebore, Arizona Mule Ears, gumweeds, Indian Hemp, Watercress, Nodding Groundsel, and many others.

Purple Martins, Violet-green Swallows, Red-faced Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Red-backed Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, House Wrens, Hairy and Acorn Woodpeckers are common along the creek. Grace’s and Yellow-rumped warblers, jays, Plumbeous Vireos, Juncos, and Chipping Sparrows are in the open pine forest.

Connections: The Turkey Track Trail of the Woodland Lake Recreation Area, the Big Springs Environmental Area, and the White Mountain Nature Center trails are connected. See the Woodland Lake Area map below.

Woodland Lake, Turkey Track Trail to foot trail along Walnut Creek to Big Springs
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