The Best Hikes in Apache - Sitgreaves National Forest

3,026 Triplog Reviews in the Apache - Sitgreaves National Forest
Most recent of 1,046 deeper Triplog Reviews
12.83 mi • 2,547 ft aeg
Started from the Fish Hatchery TH and hiked across on the Highline Trail, then up on the steep but enjoyable Horton Springs Trail, then headed out to the Turkey Creek area. Located an old hunters platform complete with ladder. Hiked down the creek a bit then climbed out, using some old FR's to make our way to the General Crook Trail, and then down on the Babe.

Along the way we saw some turkey and one very large elk.

Great day.
5.09 mi • 907 ft aeg
This is a pretty trail if a bit exposed to the sun given past fires taking out the giant trees. There is a few small sections through the forest, but mainly in the sun with the remains of burnt large trees nearby. Interestingly, even through the trail is technically right next the the creek, you rarely see it as the trail is higher than the creek bed, and also the creek is mostly hidden by brushy shrubs for most of the hike.

Lots of wildflowers on this hike! Maybe they like all that sun! :) all colors of the rainbow!

We saw maybe 4 groups of people while hiking, so not super congested. A couple were hiking out just as we were going to cross the creek. They told us to cross further down which ended up not being good information. There is a sign where to cross the creek. We took the trail back, and we crossed this way very easily without getting our feet wet. On the way out, per the advice of the couple, we kept going and didn't find a great place to cross. And now the trail is gone as it is on the other side of the creek. We followed a game trail creekside until eventually we found an easy spot to cross. Then we headed up the hill to get back on the trail. A few steps more and we were through the gate on the mesa top. We were just doing a quick out and back, so we took some time to enjoy a snack on some logs and rocks, and then we headed back, staying on the trail easily the entire time. Much easier, as expected.

On the way back we ran into a lone mountain biker (lots of downed trees for him to drag his Bike over!) and 2 other small groups of hikers. The time passed quickly, and we were back at the car in short order!

A nice trail for wildflowers, if not otherwise super exciting. There is one waterfall early on that looks to be man made.

Wildflowers
Lots of wildflowers, but tapering down already.
11.15 mi • 1,354 ft aeg
Parked at Sheeps Crossing and headed down to the water. The trail was relatively easy to follow, but rather wet and muddy given all the recent rains. This is a beautiful section of trail very close to the river. Didn't see any people until after the first fish dam waterfall at 2 miles in. The waterfalls are delightful! As is the hike alongside the creek. Past the waterfalls, we started to see more and more people and lots of dogs. The trail was also even more muddy due to heavy traffic. The trail was somewhat rocky between the waterfalls and the Greer trailhead.

From the government Springs TH in Greer, we walked up to the East Fork trailhead and crossed the river which is quite wide at that point. We did manage to rock hop across. The trail then heads up. It is wide and well maintained with lots of signs at junctions. In contrast to 95A which is overrun with people, we saw no one on East Fork. Upon reaching the the top, we jumped one gate as we were unable to open it. The trail continues on flat across the mesa top. When we hit the four wheel drive road, my hiking buddy was pretty much done hiking :(, so we opted to take the 4WD road (as marked on the topo) to shave off some distance as it intersected with the trail later on. There is a game camera strapped to the tree at the Junction of the trail and the 4WD road. We continued on enjoying the solitude and beautiful cool weather. We hit another gate shortly before our intersection back with the east fork trail. We hopped this gate, too, as it was inoperable. We then met with our first set of MANY cows. All the cows are currently on this trail. :(. I don't mind a few cows, but really, the trail from here on out was overrun with them, which was disappointing. :/. On the 4WD road almost back to the trail, We passed a bunch of cows and a mean looking bull, but we walked by without incident. The cows and calves moved out of our way and over towards the bull. I was done walking on the old road, and I was happy to see the trail again. It is nicer on a single track, of course. Sadly, we went a short distance on the trail before coming across a massive amount of cows. About 50 or more. A few too many for me to feel comfortable walking through. :/. They were right in the area where there is a spring. The spring is unnamed on the map, but it is the spring between developed spring and spruce spring. Given the cow infestation, we sadly detoured off the trail again and back to the 4WD road. It was nearly cow free, but every so often, there would be 15 cows or so, in groups. We did see our only people since the government Springs trail head here, 3 mountain bikers on the road. We continued on hoping to jump back on the trail at the next intersection, but it was not to be.

At the next intersection of trail and 4WD, the trail goes down into the meadow. And... Wait for it... Hundreds of cows!! Alas, we decided to not wade through the cattle, and instead continued on the 4WD road towards the Winn Campground. This is not a 4WD road usable to the public, we did pass a gate to keep cars out of the wilderness closer to road to the Winn Campground. Eventually we dumped out on the road (going to Winn CG) and headed out to connect with the railroad trail. The railroad trail was simply a connector between sheeps crossing/95A trail and the east fork trail/97. The railroad trail is very underwhelming. It is mostly right next to the road. One good thing - no more cows, ha!!

Right next to sheeps crossing we cut out two meanders by taking the road back to the car, as my hiking buddy was beyond done at this point. :/

I enjoyed 95A and would do it again despite the mud, rocks, and congestion. East fork I would do again(and stay on the trail the entire time!!) if I could be sure the area wasn't overrun by cattle. The cows really took a lot out of the experience! :(. Oh, well! It is never a bad day when you are out hiking!! The area is beautiful with meadows and forests, and the weather was amazing, if a bit hot on the afternoon (85F!). The railroad connector trail is seriously boring, and I would avoid it in the future!

Wildflowers
Lots of wildflowers still, but starting to wane.
16.16 mi • 2,433 ft aeg
Been thinking about running this loop since starting marathon training, and everything worked out perfectly. Started from the east TH a few mins before the sunrise, temp was below 50, kept my long-sleeve shirt on for much of the morning. Turned on Crossover right away, lots of dew and muddy sections in the grassy fields. Annoyed a pair of hunters scoping out elk. West Fork trail was really enjoyable, the steady climb and open views under the still-early sun was fantastic. When the trail entered the forest and the grade steepened I slowed to a walk... I might have been able to keep up a slow job, but the altitude was starting to mess with me. Trail junction meant all downhill, so I opened up the throttle and cruised down East Fork. There was one section along here with 10-20 deadfall obstacles, everything else was perfect. Think I want to move to Greer now.
7.69 mi • 526 ft aeg
Wanted to check off something a little on the shorter side, and a walk along a creek sounded fun, so headed down to Thompson TH. Thompson Trail was nice, and very, very wet. Got distracted by raspberries a few times. Just 2.5 miles to West Fork trail, so it went by pretty quickly.

Decided to add on the 628A/630 loop, since it was on my map. Started up 628A, it was a bit hard to find the path along the short stretch of the Black River, but once in the side drainage (flowing, like everything right now), it was straightforward.

Couldn't find where I was supposed to turn west, so I headed up to a feature that looked logical, and where the line on my GPS was showing. Found the trail there, but it quickly headed into a burn scar. I was following what was definitely a path of sorts, but it faded into a meadow, so I headed upslope towards where the line on my map was. There I found a road grade (or the old RR grade?), and route finding was not an issue the rest of the way. The burned area had some very nice raspberry picking.

The rest of the way was uneventful, but featured many distractions in the form of more tasty-looking raspberries. Only saw one person out there, although there were three extra vehicles at the trailhead when I got there.
6.12 mi • 2,027 ft aeg
Original plan was to do a full loop on KP and Steeple. Figured ~15 miles or so. Was expecting some rough trail, but right off the bat, as I headed down North Fork KP, it was locust city. Expected the stuff right by the TH to be trimmed...

It was really pretty down there, but with all the locust, it was slow going. Took probably at least an hour to get to the KP trail junction. After the junction there was a nice clear stretch, but after a couple of creek crossings, it got messy again. Decided I didn't want to be out there for ~7 hours (the purpose of this trip was to have fun) so I headed back up.

About a half mile into the return, I saw what appeared to be game trails, and got the crazy idea to bushwack out of the canyon up to Steeple Trail. The biggest concern was that I'd get to something impassible and have to go back down, but the game trails made me feel OK about it. Over half way up, I came across who I think is the trail steward on this route - a black bear. Ol' Dmitri didn't want to pose for a photo, unfortunately, and was off right away. There were certainly stretches of this 1 mile, 1,600 foot off-trail climb in which I regretted my decision, but the feeling when I got to the top made it worthwhile.

Wanted to do some raspberry grazing, but some storms were rolling in, so I decided to call it a day and head up to Molly B's in Greer for lunch.
6.97 mi • 1,130 ft aeg
This verbiage is a test to see if my commentary escapes an HAZ black hole this time.

Things seem to be working now so I'll try again.

I was on my way to Colorado so I decided to check this lookout off of my list while I was on my way. I could have done a near drive-up, but I wanted a bit of a hike, so I started from the Los Burros Campground and made my way over to Lake Mountain.

I went up the mountain on the forest road that goes to the summit, and came back down on the Four Springs Spur Trail and the Four Springs Trail, which took me back to the Los Burros Trail.

These were all nice trails to hike on, so I am glad that I did this hike. There were some wildflowers blooming on much of the Los Burros Trail, which was an added bonus.

The lookout is closed for the season, so I was unable to get up in the tower -- the locked gate and fence topped with razor wire discouraged me from climbing up the tower.

Route Scout did not miss a beat today, so I was able to record a good GPS track.



Wildflowers
There was a decent display of wildflowers along the Los Burros Trail.
5.6 mi • 498 ft aeg
Springer Mountain LO
I have been meaning to hike up to the lookout tower on Springer Mountain, and I finally got a round toit.

I started from the Billy Creek TH, which is only 0.3 miles off of 260 in Pinetop. I took the Billy Creek Connector Trail for 1/2 mile or so to the Blue Ridge Trail. Then I took the Blue Ridge Trail to the forest road that goes up to Springer Mountain.

I walked up the road to the lookout, but the lookout was closed for lunch. The weather was threatening, so I didn't want to wait around so I headed back down the road. As luck would have it, Jane the lookout was walking up the road as I was going down. I asked her if it would be OK if I went up the lookout and she said sure. When I got to the lookout it came a heavy rain, so I hung up there a bit and chatted with Jane until the rain stopped. This is her 30th year to be in the lookout. She said that the lookout will close for the season in early September, so it was good timing to go up there when I did.

The Blue Ridge Trail was really muddy in most places. It sees a lot of horse traffic which doesn't help matters.

Route Scout "straightlined" on me twice, both times after taking a photo.
3.5 mi • 500 ft aeg
Not exactly Thompson Trail, but in the general vicinity, starting from a different location along the West Fork of the Black River. Logged 1.75m one way. Double it. Beautiful day after several days of rain. The ground was saturated everywhere. Streams running where streams don't normally run including along roadways and sometimes right down the center of the road.
14.44 mi • 2,329 ft aeg
Incredible day on Baldy that had me thinking at one point on West Baldy, 'Why not just sell everything and live at the trailhead in a van?'
Best scenic hikes in glacier nation...
Best scenic hikes in glacier national park

I stayed with my son and his girlfriend at an AirBnB in Eager the night before. I woke up at about 5:30 and made it to the West Baldy Trailhead at sunrise. There was one other truck in the parking lot. The day started misty and cold at 45 degrees. A common theme for the day was really mushy, wet trails.

As I made my way up towards the overlook, I couldn't help to notice the most gigantic firs I have seen since leaving Oregon. This for me was one of the highlights of the day. At the lookout, I caught up to the truck owner who was the only other person I ran into on West Baldy.

Heading down East Baldy I started running into a couple of people here and there. I think I saw 4 people total in the forested section. By the time we reached the meadows there were twice that, up to within a couple of miles from the trailhead.

The plan was for my son and his girlfriend to get a later start and meet me somewhere on lower East Baldy. Hiking with then slowed me down some, but I so rarely get a chance to hike with my boy so I really treasured the slower steps.

Tyler shuttled me back to my truck in time to get back to the house and pack up. We stopped in Show Low at The House which has great burgers and homemade potato chips!!

I am probably not going van life anytime soon, but I will definitely be back in the White's soon!
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