Apache-Sitgreaves

The Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests, administered as one National Forest, encompass over two million acres of magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona.

On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions are the Mogollon Rim and the string of man-made lakes. From the Rim's 7600-foot elevation, vista points provide inspiring views of the low country to the south and west. The Mogollon Rim (pronounced: muggy-own) extends two hundred miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico.

The Apache National Forest ranges in elevation from 3,500 feet to nearly 11,500 feet and is named for the tribes that settled in this area. The area from Mount Baldy east to Escudilla Mountain is often referred to as the White Mountains of Arizona. From the edge of the Mogollon Rim south of Hannagan Meadow the land drops precipitously into the high desert around Clifton.

The Wilderness Areas (Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow) and the Blue Range Primitive Area make the Apache one of America's premier backcountry Forests. The Apache is also noted for its trout streams and high-elevation lakes and meadows.

The Apache-Sitgreaves has 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams -- more than can be found in any other Southwestern National Forest. The White Mountains contain the headwaters of several Arizona rivers including the Black, the Little Colorado, and the San Francisco.

The forest is also considered one of the top forests in the nation for fishing. The Apache-Sitgreaves contains over 450 miles of streams and nearly 2,000 surface acres of cold water lakes. Fish species include Arctic Grayling, Rainbow, German Brown, Brook, Apache, and Cutthroat trout.

Finding a scenic drive on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is as easy as pointing to any spot on the Forest map and taking a drive.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offer almost 1,000 miles of trails across a variety of terrain. These trails are built to different standards depending upon who is the intended user and the difficulty level. Recreation opportunities abound for horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and hiking.

The Forest has four National Recreation Trails: Eagle, Blue Ridge, Escudilla, and General George Crook. The Forest does offer several barrier-free trails, including; Mogollon Rim Interpretative Trail and Pintail Lake Wetland.

The Apache-Sitgreaves provides habitat for over 400 species of wildlife. The forest is home to most big game animals, such as antelope, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and turkey, as well as a variety of songbirds, waterfowl, small mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. A lucky wildlife viewer may catch sight of a mountain lion, a black bear, or the newly re-introduced Mexican gray wolf.

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in the area.

The Forest has a fascinating heritage with many archeological resources. On the Forest, prehistoric site types range from the remains of hunting and plant collecting areas to large pueblos with enclosed plazas, much like those seen today at Hopi and Zuni. Rock shelter and cave sites are found in the steeper canyons of the Mogollon Rim and along the Blue River. Rock art, both painted pictographs and carved or etched petroglyphs, are scattered throughout the Forests.

Most of the rock art dates between 900 and 600 years ago. An example of the painted style of about 900 years ago can be seen along the Black Canyon Auto Tour. An example of petroglyphs from about 800 years ago can be seen at Blue Crossing Campground.

Apache-Sitgreaves statistics

State(s):
Arizona

Nearest large Urban Area:
Phoenix

Notes & Conditions:
Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Permits, passes, fees:
Maps:
Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.

First-timer's adventure:
Journey through time on the Black Canyon Auto Tour. For centuries, people have been drawn to Black Canyon for its water and abundant wildlife. This self-guided auto tour will take you through this beautiful canyon with stops at several historic and prehistoric sites.

The road that winds through the canyon was an original route from the deserts below the Mogollon Rim country to settlements on top of the plateau.

The black rocks of the canyon, the canyon's namesake, have witnessed the history of five cultures. Today, travelers can trace the history of the people that have inhabited Black Canyon. Pictographs mark the time of the Mogollon Indians, the first settlers of the canyon, and grave sites give testimony to the ruthless vengeance that lashed across the Mogollon Rim country during the Pleasant Valley Feud.

The best time of year to take this historic journey is May through October as winter road conditions can make portions of this route inaccessible. Prior to starting your tour stop by the Black Mesa Ranger Station or Mogollon Rim Visitor Information Station (open seasonally) to pick up a copy of the latest brochure.

Contact Info:
P.O. Box 640
Springerville, AZ 85938

Voice: (928) 333-4301
Fax: 928-333-5966
TTY: (928) 333-6292

Forest Service website >>

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Share a specific hike, paddle, bike, or other activity in this forest.

November 27 2007 8:08 AM | Bob Dyson said…

My wife and I enjoyed the short, 1-mile hike to the Black River on the Bear Creek Trail located on the Alpine Ranger District. The hike is easy and the Black River is a wonderful destination in which to picnic or fish.


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