Arizona's White Mountains
Opportunities within the Lakeside Ranger District for hikers range from outdoor education in geology, forest identification to bird watching. Wild animals, poisonous snakes, or plants have not been a major problem. Insects are not especially troublesome, but carrying insect repellent is advisable during the summer months. The newly-developed White Mountain Trail System offers excellent opportunities for hikes of every skill level. There are many miles of established trails ready for short brisk walks, long day hikes or even a overnight backpack trip. The trails are described in detail in the attached links.
The varying terrain of the Lakeside Ranger District ranges from the juniper flats and ridges on the north slopes of the district, rugged canyon bottoms in our drainage areas, to meadows, small streams, and occasional clearings in the upper elevations on the east end. There are many heavily forested volcanic mountains east of the Pinetop-Lakeside/Show Low area, but no rugged mountain peaks. The topography is generally moderate with little occasion for the lengthy steep grades or extreme exposure.
During the summer fire season there are often areas under fire restrictions. Check with the local ranger station to see if fire permits are needed. Many hikers use a type of backpacker stove when an open fire is needed. Please be extremely careful and use existing fire circles when possible. In either case, packing out nonburnable refuse is always a necessity. "Take only pictures, and leave only footprints."
For safety purposes, when hiking alone in the forest, someone should be notified as to approximate departure time, the general area or trail you intend to be hiking, and expected time of return. Good quality hiking shoes, long sleeves, long trousers, hats to prevent sunburn are advisable, and always carry extra water.
For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside Ranger District at 520.368.5111 or you may write us at 2022 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona 85935. Be sure to check with the Lakeside Ranger Station for current information on trail conditions!