register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

West Fork Trail #94 - Greer, AZ

no permit
263 20 0
Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Eagar S
3.5 of 5 by 6
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,300 feet
Elevation Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5
Kokopelli Seeds 9.33
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
9  2014-08-22 Tortoise_Hiker
29  2014-06-27
Mount Baldy Superloop
38  2014-05-24
Railroad Grade Trail #601
21  2013-07-13 Pivo
10  2013-04-28 azbackpackr
26  2013-01-02
White Mountains Winter 2013
20  2011-08-31
West Baldy Trail #94
15  2011-05-29 jochal
Page 1,  2,  3
Author BelladonnaTook
author avatar Guides 12
Routes 9
Photos 1,291
Trips 58 map ( 568 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Lakeside, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Sep, May, Aug, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:05am - 6:16pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Autumn Elk
by BelladonnaTook

Likely In-Season!
Let's get this out of the way first: The only connection between the West Fork Trail and the west fork of the Little Colorado River is their names. You will cross the Little Colorado in Greer on your way to the trailhead, but you will not see it again once you are on the trail. This is not a jaunt along a babbling mountain brook.

In fact, by itself, its not a very interesting hike at all. However, it can be combined with the East Fork Trail #95 via the Rail Road Grade, Mt. Baldy Crossover or various bushwhacks to form loops of ten to fifteen or more miles that are quite enjoyable. While the scenery is not spectacular, it is pleasant enough, and the degree of solitude is surprising for being so near a tourist destination. The route seems to attract more equestrians than hikers, and not many of those.

The trailhead is conveniently located: Take the first right (Osborne) after crossing the bridge entering Greer. Proceed ahead about a quarter mile, and it will be on your left as the road veers right. There's no real parking lot, and this is a residential neighborhood, so try as much as possible to park out of the traffic flow.

Beginning at 8,300 feet, the trail climbs moderately but steadily for 1.25 miles through recently thinned Ponderosa pine timber. It passes a small,pretty pond that seems out of place here but probably had some function a hundred years ago when Greer was a farming community. If you are to encounter any other hikers, it will most likely be in this area.

The path levels out at 8,900 feet in a narrow strip of forest between the canyon rim on the left (east) and Forest Road 87 on the right. The road remains close as the way continues mainly south, and traffic on it can be distracting, both noise and dust. Abandoning the trail and walking along the rim helps but does not provide a bonus of grand views into the canyon and beyond. About three quarters of a mile further along, the trail intersects a power line. Trees and brush have been removed under the line, and one can follow it down into town to the general vicinity of Greer Lodge.

Another mile, and the trail arrives at Potatoe Hollow spring. My first visit here several years ago, nothing indicated the trough of clear, cool water had a name; but quite a ways down the slope we spotted red paint on a board and went to investigate. It was the remains, in many pieces, of a sign which we reassembled and then read, "Potatoe Hollow". One of Dan Quale's CCC projects, we speculated. Last year a new sign appeared, and the spelling was the same, so Webster be damned, that must be the name of the place.

Beyond here the trail is approaching 9,200 feet, and aspens and firs appear among the pines. This section of the trail can be quite colorful in autumn. It is also an area where we frequently encounter elk. A mile south of Potatoe Hollow the path enters a long meadow that allows views toward Sunrise and Mt. Baldy before dipping into forest again.

Arrival at a final meadow indicates the end of the trail, at the West Baldy Trail parking lot, is at hand. In fact, the path seems to terminate right at the edge of the meadow, but widely spaced posts show the way across the tall grass. From here, the shortest route back to Greer (3 miles) and the trailhead (4 miles)is along the creek. To get there, proceed straight across the meadow to the fence, thence along the fence left to the big pine tree where there's a gate, through the gate veer left and down to the path to the creek.

If the intent is to link to the East Fork Trail, stay with the posts, then cross the road to the parking lot entrance. The Rail Road Trail intersects here and provides the shorter, treeless track. To reach the other option, the Crossover Trail, cross the parking lot to the Mt. Baldy trailhead, and proceed along that path a mile or so to the turnoff to East Baldy Trail and Phelps Cabin.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2005-07-15 BelladonnaTook
  • guide related image guide related image
    guide related

Apache - Sitgreaves FS Details
If you start from the Osborne trailhead, the trail follows a small creek, which is surrounded by aspen and ponderosa pine trees. The trail takes a gradual uphill grade to Badger Pond, also known as Trail Springs Tank. Wild roses and raspberry bushes grow near the tank, offering a treat to the eye as well as the palate from mid to late summer. Past the pond, the trail splits and merges again in less than a quarter of a mile. Here comes the most difficult part of the hike as the trail rises through steep and rocky ground. It is a short climb however and the trail soon levels out. You will notice that Forest Road 87 parallels the trail for a short stretch. After leveling off, the trail crosses two dead-end roads that come off Forest Road 87. Either one of these roads offer an excellent place to park as you begin your hike.

From this point to Sheeps Crossing, the West Fork Trail Image Map #2 trail is generally level, except where it makes a slight dip to Potato Hollow Spring. The spring is set in a cool stand of Douglas-fir trees and offers a perfect spot for a break. The trail continues through a checkerboard of forest and meadows. Deer are often seen browsing at the forest edge.

Just a quarter of a mile from Sheeps Crossing, the trail crosses the gravel portion of AZ 273. Cross this section of road with care, as people tend to drive very fast. The trail follows an old railroad bed and ends at a parking area on the ridge above Sheeps Crossing. From this parking area, the trail becomes the West Fork Trail into the Mt. Baldy Wilderness.

* Hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders are welcome, but not motorized vehicles.
* Please be considerate of other trail users.
* Mountain bikes are not allowed on the second leg of this trail, which is located in the Mt. Baldy Wilderness Area on the west side of Sheeps Crossing.
* Bring your own drinking water, as the water sources in the area are not treated.

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Mount Baldy Superloop
Day 1 - 5 miles

Started at the West Fork Trail TH in Greer a little after 3pm. A few minutes up the trail is Trail Spring Tank, a beautiful small pond. I saw two hikers walking around the edge. They would be the only people I saw that day.

The trail then goes through some forested areas and large meadows. And burned areas. Lots of blowdowns to climb over or walk around.

Potatoe Hollow Spring had a good flow. The spring and the earlier tank were the only water sources along here.

I stopped for the night on the edge of a large meadow about a half mile short of Sheep's Crossing. As I was boiling some water for dinner a bear walked by, maybe 100 feet away. This time I had my camera at hand and got a couple pictures and some video. It didn't seem too concerned that I was there, not even when I made some noise. A few minutes later, 5 or so turkeys walked past.

Day 2 - 10 miles

Crossed 273 and arrived at the West Baldy TH. One vehicle in the lot with a guy sitting in a lawn chair. We chatted a bit. He'd been out hiking with friends and got worn out from the altitude, returning to the car while the friends went further on the Crossover trail. I admitted I was concerned about the elevation. I've never hiked to 11000, much less backpacked. My plan was to try Baldy, but if it was too much, I'd come back down and take the crossover to make a shorter loop.

The trail soon follows closely along the West Fork Little Colorado. Very scenic. I like water features. I think this was my favorite section of the loop.

I met a pack train and a trail crew coming out. They did a great job. Only had to detour around one blowdown on the West and East Baldy trails, with lots of recently cut through blowdowns.

At the last drainage before the trail starts seriously climbing I stopped for lunch and to load up on water. I figured the next sure source wouldn't be until the East Fork Little Colorado. As I picked up to leave, two guys came huffing and puffing up the trail and passed me. Ten minutes later they passed me going back down. They didn't say anything.

I was huffing and puffing too, but I kept going. I was on the last stretch to the trail junction when something exploded out of the brush next to the trail. It was a Dusky Grouse (I think) hen squawking and carrying on like it had a broken wing. I took a couple quick pics and moved on. My heartrate slowly returned to it's normal pounding.

Made it to the trail junction. Yay! Highest I've ever hiked. It's all downhill from here. (I thought briefly about sneaking to the summit, but after hearing that it wasn't that difficult to actually get permission from the tribe, I decided no, I would do it right sometime.)

I headed down the East Baldy Trail. I checked out the airplane wreckage, and the unnamed spring near the saddle with Mount Thomas. Not big, but it was flowing. I could have filled up here.

Spent the night at the saddle below Mount Thomas.

Day 3 - 10.5 miles

The trail so far had been quite clean, but at my campsite and one a bit further down I found a fair amount of trash including a large glass bottle. Some people are disgusting. If you carry it up, you can carry it back down. I stuffed it in pack pockets and hung it off loops, figuring I'd haul it down to the Gabaldon campground. But they don't provide trash collection, so I ended up carrying it all the way to Greer.

I think this was my second favorite section. The trail is good, some nice forrested sections, and interesting rock formations. Some good views down towards Big Lake too. But I think I like the trail along the West Fork LC better.

I met several groups of hikers in the morning, all asking things like how far they had come, if it's steep all the way. I tried to be encouraging, but they'd only started up the steep bit.

Took the trail over to Gabaldon CG after grabbing some water from the creek. Crossed back over 273 and started on the East Fork Trail. It follows the same route as the 601 railroad grade trail for a bit over a mile. I've thought some about backpacking the 601 and the Overland trail as a longer trip. Now I'm not so sure. The 601 may be an easy grade, but the surface isn't that easy to walk on.

I saw a couple people in the distance walking out to the dam at Colter Reservoir, but they turned around and headed back on the 601 before I got there. The East Fork splits at the dam. I saw no people or even footprints after that until almost Greer. It seems this trail doesn't get much use.

Colter reservoir had some water, and was nice and green around, as was the EFLC below the dam. But after that, the most interesting thing was a billowing smoke cloud from what I found out later was the San Juan Fire. Shortly after crossing the EFLC, the trail enters cattle country. Dusty trails. Cows that insist on walking ahead of you down the trail, kicking up more choking clouds of dust. Or being agressive and threatening. Burned areas with so much blowdown you can't follow the trail. Others where there are so many cowpaths you don't know what trail you're on. I guess it's clear this was my least favorite section. I don't think I'd do it again except as part of loop or longer hike.

I stopped for the night on a meadow a bit past Dry Spring. Which was dry.

Day 4 - 5 miles

Woke to cows staring at me.

I wasn't in a hurry. Just a few miles in to Greer now. This part was hit hard by fire. There's a point where you can see down into the EFLC river valley, and Greer in the distance. It's all burnt sticks. I do believe in the goodness of fire, and that fire is natural. But not this devastation. On the upside, I guess there wasn't much of a clear view before all the trees burned. At least the last bit into Greer was in nice trees again.

A little log "bridge" over the West Fork and I was done.

Well, except for mile and a half of roadwalk to the West Fork trailhead and my car. Stopped at the Rendezvous diner for a cold soda. I reeked pretty bad, but they were polite and didn't hold their noses.
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
I met up with 3 women from Show Low and Overgaard, and was pleased to learn that one of them was a HAZzer, Sun_Hiker, (you'll recall, GPS Joe's friend and hiking pal).

Despite a minor health issue with one of the gals, we had a great time. The weather was fantastic. The Wallow Fire did burn a bit of this area, but it wasn't overwhelming. A view of snowy Mount Baldy graced the horizon for much of the hike. We hiked to Sheep's Crossing/West Baldy TH, and back to Greer again.

For a backpacking trip, Potato Hollow Spring offers a good source of water, but it is not on the list. I messed around with the function but it is slow, so I will try adding it later. You can start in Greer, and hike to Baldy, do the Baldy loop and come back down this same trail. (East Fork Trail burned heavily in the fire. I have not hiked it since. I will, though.)
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
White Mountains Winter 2013
White Mountains Winter 2013

I needed to feel some snow beneath my feet - so having heard from my neighbors Terry and Giselle about their New Year's trek to Sunrise Ski Park (check out => ), I thought a couple of days in the White Mountains would be "just the ticket". I couldn't take advantage of my Marriott Rewards or Priority Club Rewards booking a hotel since none of their hotels in the vicinity of the White Mountains are "pet friendly". Luckily the Best Western in Eagar AZ will accept dogs in the room, so we had our base camp.

Wednesday 1/2 - Arrived in the White Mountains late morning via Hwy 260 with our first stop near Sunrise Ski Park and FR112 and the Railroad Grade Trail #601 (see => ). Lots of snow fun on the slopes of the Railroad Grade. FR117 was unplowed so our afternoon plans to explore Green's Peak and the Four Knolls (see => ) were thwarted. Our back-up plan was to explore trails near the village of Greer. Mini-hikes on West Fork Trail #94 and Butler Canyon Trail #98 (see => and ) and exploring some real estate poking around the village. You can see the scarred forest and how close it came to torching all of Greer from last summer's Wallow Fire (see => ... r-arizona/ and ). We ended the day with a sunset hike of the G&F Grasslands (see => ). Grasslands lived up to the hype for surefire wildlife encounters as we met up with a herd of mule deer.

Thursday 1/3 - After a frigid night, arrived at the South Fork Trail #97 (see => ) trail head with my truck thermometer indicating 19degF (neglected to get photo evidence, but did capture the noon time temperature of 23degF). We hiked the 3 miles to the bridge with the dogs enjoying the snow. Once again scars from the Wallow Fire could be seen along the hiking route. Next up was Pole Knoll (see => ). Hiking was challenging post-holing your route beside the set track for cross country skiing. I was very impressed with the skiing conditions at Pole Knoll - makes me want to break out my skis! We Wrapped up our White Mountain tour with some photo ops at Horseshoe Cienega (see => ) and Los Burros (see => ). We had a late day dinner in Show Low and returned home via Hwy 60.
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
Mt. Baldy Wilderness Trails - August 2011

West Baldy Trail #94
West Fork Trail #94
East Baldy Trail #95
East Fork Trail #95

Thompson Trail #629 => status?

Having recently completed a business trip around the world in 7 days (Phoenix to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Delhi to Hong Kong to Shanghai to Singapore to Tokyo to Los Angeles to Phoenix), I booked a week off to recharge the batteries and spend some time with the wife and dogs.

With a request to escape the Valley heat for some cooler climes, I scouted up some of my favorite trails in the White Mountains. Escudilla, South Fork Trail #97, Indian Spring #627 all seem to have fallen victim to the 2011 Wallow Fire :( :( :(

It's been a few years since I've been to the Mt. Baldy Wilderness (check out => ) and I seem to recall that SR273 formed the western fire line. With the Mt. Baldy Wilderness being on the west side of the fire line, it should have been untouched by the Wallow Fire. A quick check of the weather forecast, Hi 72degF, Lo 52degF, 30% chance of T-storms and Lynn, Skippy, Chrissy, and me were off on our first trek in the new F-150...

There have been a few changes to the Mt. Baldy Wilderness since my last trek. No longer is SR273 a rough, washboard gravel road - it's now paved from the SR260 turn-off to the intersection with Big Lake Recreation Area campgrounds (check out => ). There's a new road bridge crossing the West Fork of the Little Colorado River, and 3 new paved parking lots at the West Fork Trail #94 trail head, beside the new bridge (Phelps Cabin TH?), and at the East Fork Trail #93 trail head. Even the access road to the Lee Valley Reservoir is paved now!

When we pulled into the West Baldy Trail #94/West Fork Trail #94 parking lot noon-ish, we'd seen scant evidence of the Wallow Fire :) With only one other vehicle in the ample parking lot, we were anticipating a true wilderness experience. The Shih Tzu and Springer Spaniel were excited about hitting the trail and set a blistering pace to the intersection of the Phelps Cabin Trail at the open meadow near the Wilderness Boundary. We had perfect conditions to relax and explore the banks of the West Fork of the Lower Colorado - spoke too soon...

Echoing claps of thunder punctuated the sounds of nature as dark clouds began rolling over Mount Baldy. A light rain began to fall as we trekked further along the trail. We're past the Wilderness Boundary sign and I can't help but notice the recent ATV double track paralleling the trail - what's up with that?

We enter a forested area right beside the Little Colorado River and decide to wait out the rain here. A couple of Fish & Game workers amble down the trail and stop to chat. They've been electroshocking trout and taking inventory upstream. Indicated they inventoried only a couple of dozen no bigger than 4 inches. As they depart, they say; "Break out the rain gear because it's going to rain the rest of the day". Not exactly what I wanted to hear...
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Most of the triplogs for this hike, the people did not do this hike at all! This hike starts right from Greer, from right behind the Rendezvous Diner and Molly's off of Osborne Rd., and goes to the West Fork Baldy Trail. It is about 6 miles one way. I think it was originally intended as a horse access trail to Baldy. The original write-up by Belladonna Took is correct, though. Once it gets to the Baldy area, it is NOT this trail anymore! So if you are doing only the Baldy Loop, please leave this one off your linked hikes!

Ok, now that I have vented...

I hiked up 4.8 miles one-way, and then retraced my steps, carrying my new multiday backpack, with 26 pounds in it, so got over 9 miles and 1000 feet. I saw a mother deer with triplets! And later on, some other deer, and a garter snake of some kind. And a Stellar's Jay.

Good views of Baldy, which I heard that someone has climbed last week, using snowshoes. He said crampons also necessary if you want to actually summit.

The aspens are greening up. Dan Quayle Spring ("Potatoe" Hollow Spring) is flowing very nicely.

If you want to backpack on this trail, it is best to go past "Potatoe" Hollow Spring, where the trail no longer is close to the road. There is a nice flat area about .2 mile beyond the spring (if you started the hike in Greer.)

Despite what other triplogs say (the ones that actually hiked THIS trail) I like this trail. There is never anyone on it. The trailhead is known mostly only to Greer residents, although of course, it is published in the FS booklet.

Locally, Trail Spring Pond is known as Badger Pond, and the trail is often referred to as Badger Pond Trail. "Potatoe" Hollow Spring is on the map only as "spring."

Starting a long backpacking trip in this area, one could start up this trail, do Baldy, then perhaps the RR grade on over to Indian Springs, then down W. Fork of the Black River to main fork, then to Fish Creek Trail and up and across into the Blue, and on down Foote Creek to the Blue River and cross it and up Lanphier and across into New Mexico and on to the Gila. Then, do the Gila. That would occupy a pleasant month and would be an nice little thru-hike...
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
East Fork of the Little Colorado
Mileage given is round trip. This was a very little hike up the actual East Fork of the Little Colorado, a non-official trail. It is very near the official trail of the same name (see linked hikes.) It seems that everyone who lives in Greer knows this trail because on a Tuesday we saw a whopping 8 other hikers! That's a lot of hikers for around here, especially on a Tuesday! It is absolutely gorgeous, while it lasts. It tends to die out and become pretty much bushwhacking, although I was told you can follow the drainage to the rim if you are persistent enough. I was with a group of retired ladies who hike on Tuesdays, and they weren't up for the scramble. But at least now I know it's there.

I can't tell you exactly how to get to it because we went through several people's back yards. You take the road to the Montlure Summer Camp and there is a link to this trail near the camp. I was told you can also start at the regular, official, East Fork Trailhead, near the end of 373, but don't go up the switchbacks, just cross the river and they say you can find it??? I will have to go check that out.

The official trail does not follow the creek but the unofficial one does. The unofficial trail just follows the East Fork, the east side of Amberon Point (see Big Lake topo map) whereas the "Official" trail switchbacks up the west side of Amberon Point, tops over the rim, goes to Marble Spring and East Baldy Trail. In addition to Big Lake topo you should use Greer topo.

I tried some different settings on my camera, and did use flash on a couple, as suggested. But it tended to give a washed out look, such as when I took photos of ferns on a log in the shade. Perhaps I should have changed the exposure setting as well??? Thanks for previous suggestions, y'all!

(Edit, post Wallow Fire, 2011. This trail will never be the same in my lifetime.)
West Fork Trail #94 - Greer
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Great day to do this hike--perfect weather. Road construction equipment, piles of large culverts, and other stuff attest to the road building at the Baldy trailhead. Saw an antelope on the way, out in one of the big meadows. We almost had the place to ourselves, too, saw a couple of people.

We returned the way we came.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Show Low take AZ 260 approximately 45 miles south/east through Pinetop-Lakeside and past Sunrise to AZ 373. Turn right and drive 5 miles to Greer. Take the first right (Osborne) after crossing the bridge over the Little Colorado River. About a quarter mile along, the trailhead is on the left.
help comment issue

end of page marker