Best Hikes in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (AZ)

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Overview

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is actually a combination of 2 national forests, administered as one. There are over 2 million acres of this mountain country forest spread out across central-eastern Arizona, all the way to the New Mexico border. Located about 2.5 hours northeast of Phoenix, it provides a great destination with its high elevation and cool breezes for those looking for relief on hot summer days.

Although it is administered as 1 national forest, Apache-Sitgreaves is a combination of 2 forests and many wilderness areas within. The northwestern Sitgreaves National Forest’s main attraction is the Mogollon Rim which runs 200+ miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico. The southeastern Apache National Forest has its own elevated highlights in Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, often referred to as the White Mountains of Arizona. There are 4 wilderness areas: Mount Baldy, Escudilla, Bear Wallow, and the Blue Range Primitive Area. Below are some of the best hikes in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests but there are plenty of others that you can enjoy!

Nearest Metro AreaPhoenix, AZ
Area Size2,761,386 acres
EstablishedJuly 1, 1908
Hiking Trails999 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

(*** = best hikes in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest)

Buena Vista Trail – 9.0 miles Loop

Moderately difficult loop close to Show Low with a good chance to see the area’s wildlife.

Country Club Trail*** – 3.5 miles Loop

Easy, flat loop with the option to take a side trail up the steeper Pat Mullen Mountain for more views.

Los Burros Trail – 13.0 mile Loop

Perfect trail for those venturing from Phoenix for a longer day hike in the cooler elevated mountains. The trail is shaded for the most part and hikers have the option of going on a side trip to Lake Mountain Lookout.

Mogollon Rim Interpretive Trail*** – 0.9 miles Loop
A view of Mogollon Rim, Photo by Monica D. Spencer

Busy trail considering the popularity of the Mogollon Rim. The loop is self guided, flat, and good for all skill levels.

Panorama Trail – 8.0 miles Loop

Moderately difficult loop with good views and a rocky downhill if taken clockwise.

See Canyon Trail – 6.1 miles Out & Back

Beautiful, creekside hike down the Mogollon Rim that passes through See Canyon.

Springs Trail*** – 3.8 miles Loop

Easy loop good for all skill levels near Thompson Creek.

West Baldy Trail*** – 13.8 miles Out & back or One-way
West Baldy Trail
West Baldy Trail, Photo by Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

Moderately difficult trail that winds through meadows and forested area near the Little Colorado. It then begins to steepen on switchbacks before it merges with the East Baldy Trail below Mt. Thomas. The summit of Mt. Baldy is off limits as it is on the Apache Reservation.

Woods Canyon Lake Loop*** – 2.7 miles Loop
Woods Canyon Lake Arizona, Photo by Richard N Horne

One of the more beautiful trails and best hikes in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests that circumnavigates Woods Canyon Lake.

Featured Image: FS-APACHE-SITGREAVES-LSC, Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture

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