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Short Nature Hikes

General Information

This list of hikes is meant for those who wish to take short hikes and observe wildlife, flowers, and scenery rather than longer strenuous hikes. The White Mountains northeast of Phoenix provide an extensive trail system for hikers of all persuasions maintained by a volunteer organization "TRACKS." Each trail has been mapped and the maps with directions can be accessed online on the TRACKS website or obtained at the U.S. Forest Service information station on State Route (SR) 260 just west of the Porter Mountain Road intersection in Lakeside.

Hiking Blue Diamand Marker
Blue Diamond

Most of those hikes are 10 miles long or longer but many provide short cuts or loops that those of us wishing a short hike can use. Many of these are in the following list. All of the mapped Tracks hikes are posted with blue diamonds nailed to trees along the way. Every quarter mile or so is a white diamond with a code printed on it. If you need emergency assistance, call 911 and give them the code on the nearest white diamond and they will know your position.

Many good hikes are on Apache Indian Reservation lands for which a permit is required. You can drive the reservation roads, but if you want to get out and walk, fish, picnic, camp, boat, or do anything other than drive through, you must have a permit. Annual permits currently run $100, but day permits vary around $10 depending on what you plan to do. You can purchase a permit at the reservation sporting goods store on SR 260, 3.5 miles east of the Pinetop Post Office just across the reservation boundary.

Be sure to wear good hiking boots, carry water, binoculars, camera, and the map and directions to the trail you will hike. Carry a cell phone, but not all carriers will connect in the remote areas of many trails, especially on the Apache reservation. Tell your family or friend where you are going and when you plan to return so they can find you in case you do not materialize on time. Do not leave valuables in your car, or if you do, place them out of sight of anyone looking into the windows. While we have not had any problems with break-ins in the White Mountains, there is always a first time.

Most of the time, the trails are dry and easy walking, but after rains and especially in the monsoon season, many of the dirt trails will be muddy. The volcanic mud is clay that clings tenaciously to your shoes making each step more difficult. Horses using the trails in wet weather create sizeable impressions making the trail very difficult walking when the clay hardens.

After taking one of the hikes, please let me know if there are errors in the description or map, and if you saw birds, plants, or animals that should be mentioned. Contact form.

All hikes are located from the Pinetop Post Office on SR 260. The Post Office is on the northeast side of the road, in the straight stretch next to Jerry Bob’s restaurant about a mile west of the last traffic light at Penrod Lane where Charlie Clark’s is located, as you go east out of town towards the Hon-Dah casino. view map.

Area Maps

The general location of all hikes are shown on the three maps below. All hikes are numbered on the maps and correspond with the List of Short Hikes below the maps.

Hikes West of Show Low

Hikes within Pinetop/Lakeside

Hikes East of Pinetop/Lakeside

List of Short Hikes

One Car Hikes

Most of the hikes assume that you are using a single car and you will hike out and return to your car either on a loop or by the way you walked out. A few of the hikes require that you have two cars and will give directions where to park the car at the end of your hike (see Two Car Hikes below).

As the description and map of each trail is added to the web site, the name will change color and serve as a link to that page. The distance in miles of each hike is given unless there is an option to go as far as you wish – and that is stated.

Hike #Hike NameDistance
1Black CanyonAs far as you wish
2FR 221 off Pinedale RoadSeveral options, or as far as you wish
3Capps Ranch Several options, as far as you wish
4aJuniper Ridge – Two Gate Loop3.56 miles
4bJuniper Ridge – Lower Loop1.75 miles
5637 Shortcut3.03 miles
6Bison Crossing – Paved empty subdivision, good in wet weather1.4 miles
7Pintail Lake1.2 miles loop, or as far as you wish
8Show Low Trail Loop1.1 miles
9Rim TrailAbout 1 mile
10BIA 65J - on the Apache ReservationAs far as you wish
11BIA 69 to Faught Ridge RoadAs far as you wish
12Amos Trailer Park – on the Apache Reservation2.0 miles
14Billy Creek Loop1.8 miles
16Springs Trail 633 Loop3.73 Miles
20Bootleg Lake – on the Apache ReservationAs far as you wish
21Williams Creek Fish HatcheryAs far as you wish
22North Fork White River - on the Apache Reservation1.7 miles
23Lower Log Campground - on the Apache ReservationAs far as you wish
24Diamond Creek Tank - on the Apache Reservation3.0 miles
25Paradise Creek Loop – on the Apache Reservation1.9 miles
26Horseshoe Cienega Lake Loop - on the Apache Reservation2.7 miles
27BIA 59 Paradise Creek Road – on the Apache ReservationAs far as you wish
28Sunrise Lake North ShoreAs far as you wish
29Old Baldy Trail 94As far as you wish
30West Fork Black River Loop2.95 miles
31FR 117 to Carnero Lake & Greens Peak1.6 miles
32Railroad Trail Loop3.1 miles
33Pole Knoll, three optionsFrom 1.5 to 2.48 miles or more
34Greer Butler Nature Trail Loop1.42 miles
35South Fork Little Colorado RiverAs far as you wish
36White Mountain Grasslands1.9 miles
37Wenima Wildlife Area Loop1.6 miles
38Becker Lake Loop1.2 miles
39River Trail Springerville 2.0 miles round trip
40Scott ReservoirAs far as you wish
41Sunrise Campground - on the Apache Reservation As far as you wish
42Big Spring & White Mountain Nature Center1.2 miles
43Jacques MarshAs far as you wish
44Walnut Creek Loop Option 12.5 miles
44Woodland Lake Loop1.02 miles
45Panorama Trail Southeast3.0 miles or as far as you wish
46Joe Tank RoadAs far as you wish
47Forest Road (FR) 187As far as you wish

Two Car Hikes

Using two cars gives you an advantage in seeing new country throughout the hike and not having to retrace your steps. Ask a friend who has a car to come along with you and enjoy the area’s wildlife and scenery!

Hike #Hike NameDistance
5Chihuahua Connector to Trailhead 6372.6 or 2.2 miles (2 options)
13Springer Mt to Billy CreekAbout 2.2 miles
15Blue Ridge, from FR 187 to below Arizona Game and Fish2.54 miles
17Trail 633 Trailhead to below Arizona Game and Fish2.18 miles
18Corral on 187 to Trailhead 632 over the hill2.0 miles
19Corral on 187 to Trailhead 6332.0 miles
44Walnut Creek to Big Spring Option 22.11 miles


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