Please note, this is an old thread I'm posting on. If people want newer info about where to hike in eastern White Mountains since the Wallow Fire, I've been traveling the roads and hiking various trails, and will continue to do so throughout the summer. Most places are open now but there are still some closed areas, including Fish Creek/Fish Bench, Milligan Valley, West Fork (of the Black) and other areas. Here is a map and list as of April 2013: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 415280.pdf
I have done a bit of hiking in fire areas which have opened up. You will find Indian Spring Trail #627 to be so different as to be unrecognizable, but the views are better. Down along the Black River the fire seems to have been only a little bit spotty. South Fork Trail #97 is open with some areas burned, others not burned. There is no longer a lake at Mexican Hay. (Some of that has to do with a water rights diversion, it being sent to Greer instead of Mexican Hay.)
A couple weekends ago I drove FR 26 (Beaver Creek Road) to 24, then north on 24 to Buffalo Crossing. Then up the East Fork (276) of the Black River to Williams Valley. Took that road (249) to Big Lake, and then back down SR 261, taking a detour onto FR 409. Despite the fact that over 500,000 acres burned, there is a lot of forest remaining. The fire did not blanket the entire area, but instead hopped around a lot.
FR 24 south of the intersection with FR 26 was closed, and I believe it is still closed. I was told they just can't keep it open due to unstable hillsides--too many landslides. This means that access to the Bear Creek Trail to the Black River is not accessible by vehicle. It doesn't mean you can't hike the Mainstem of the Black. Fish Creek Trail #60 will be closed for a long time, I've been told, but you can walk along the river and hike UP it, which I intend to do at some point.
I'll post up a triplog "scenic drive" with photos as well.
If you are traveling to the eastern White Mountains, please don't hesitate to contact me, and I'll try to point you in the right direction. I wouldn't mind doing some hiking with some HAZzers this summer as well. I hike every Sunday, almost.