General Forest Information

The Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests were administratively combined in 1974 and are now managed as one unit from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Springerville. The two million acre Forest encompasses a magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

What makes this Forest so special? It's the water...lots of it...draining the high mountains and forming numerous lakes and streams...a fisherman's paradise in the arid Southwest. 

The Apache-Sitgreaves has 24 lakes and reservoirs and more than 450 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, Little Colorado, and the San Francisco. 

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850s. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors from the hot valleys of Phoenix or Tucson 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.

In the last century, the US Army established a series of forts in New Mexico and Arizona. To supply these forts and settlements, a military road was built linking Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Camp Verde near Prescott. Part of this road, called the General Crook Trail, runs almost the length of the Sitgreaves and in many places follows the brink of the Rim.

The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses 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 management concerns on the Apache-Sitgreaves include the health and restoration of the watersheds, sustaining Forest's ecosystems, improving customer service in our recreation areas, reducing the dangers associated with wildfire in the urban interface, and maintaining the National Forest road system to desired standards.

Developed Camping

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offer 48 developed campgrounds that provide a spectrum of development levels from the most highly developed at Fool Hollow at Show Low to a number of primitive sites scattered across the Forest. We call campgrounds "developed" when they have at least a few amenities such as parking pads, picnic tables, grills, and a restroom. More highly developed sites may also include showers, ramadas, electricity, sewer, and water. These sites can accommodate up to 1350 families at one time or about 1.6 million people throughout the camping season. Please refer to the tabular listing of these Developed Camping Locations or find them on a map.

There are some things that you may find helpful in planning your trip to the Forests. We have a 14-day stay policy which means that we welcome you to stay for up to 14 consecutive days and then we ask you to leave the Forest for another 16 days before your return. This policy allows all campers to be able to use any campsite without someone "Homesteading" at one favorite spot. We also ask you to keep all pets on a leash when camped in the Forest. This allows other people to walk through the campground without feeling threatened and ensures that the wildlife in the Forests is not chased or harassed. There is a prohibition against loud noises or behavior after 10:00 pm and before 6:00 am for obvious reasons and the use of ATC's or motorbikes is restricted within campgrounds. Also, the discharge of firearms or any implement capable of causing injury or death is not allowed in or near a campground. Some campgrounds have specific regulations designed to help our visitors have a pleasant stay with us so inquire at the campground for any additional information.

Many of our more highly developed sites are operated by a concessionaire under a contract with the Forest Service. We adopted this manner of recreation area management because at the existing budget levels the Forest Service could not provide the high level of service or customer satisfaction that is desired. Almost all of the concession-operated areas are included in the national reservation system (Toll-Free @ 1-877-444-6777) for your convenience. Also beginning in the Spring of 1999, you'll be able to make reservations via the internet @ · RESERVEUSA.COM

If after locating your desired campground on the map and reviewing the information listed in the table provided you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the appropriate Ranger District Office.

Wilderness And Primitive Areas

Thanks to the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984, some of the most beautiful country in the Southwest has been preserved for future generations. There are over 200,000 acres of wilderness and primitive areas within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Travel is restricted to foot or horseback and mechanized equipment is prohibited. An individual with a disability requiring the use of a wheelchair may use the wheelchair, however.

In 1540, when the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came to the area we now know as southeastern Arizona, his journal writer described it as a huge trackless wilderness. When mountain man James Ohio Pattie visited the Blue Range trapping beaver in 1825, he marveled at the number of clear running streams, the lush vegetation of the canyons, and the plentiful wildlife he found in this pristine land.

In 1933 the Secretary of Agriculture proclaimed the Blue Range should be managed for primitive uses to maintain the wildness of that area. Its 173,762 acres are indeed wild and it is the last designated Primitive Area in the United States. What's the difference between a Primitive Area and a Wilderness? Well, a wilderness must be designated by the Congress of the United States but a primitive area is the highest classification that the Forest Service can give an area through the Secretary of Agriculture. The Blue Range remains one of Arizona's untouched and little known jewels. This is a land of rugged mountains, steep canyons, and stark ridges that is at the same time remote and accessible through an extensive trail system. A new map of the Blue Range Primitive Area is available at local Forest Service offices.

In 1970 the Mount Baldy Primitive Area became a part of the national wilderness system. Its 7,079 acres lie on the eastern slope of Mount Baldy and are the headwaters for the Black River and the Little Colorado River. Two trails pass through the Wilderness to a point near the top of Mount Baldy. The trails do not access the very top of the mountain since it is on land owned by the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Tribe does not allow access because the mountain is considered sacred to them. This is a high-elevation experience with elevations ranging from 9,000 feet to 11,550 feet so hikers should plan accordingly. The vast majority of people in the Wilderness are day users and maps are available at local Forest Service offices.

The 11,080 acre Bear Wallow Wilderness boasts some of the largest acreages of virgin ponderosa pine forest in the Southwest. Beautiful Bear Wallow Creek flows year-round providing suitable habitat for the threatened Apache trout. The name of the stream and wilderness came from early explorers who were impressed by the number of well-used wallows frequented by the sizeable population of black bears.

The 5200 acres in the Escudilla Wilderness sit atop Arizona's third-highest peak, the 10,912 feet Escudilla Mountain. It is home to several pristine, high elevation meadows that are comprised of relatively rare plant associations. Large stands of aspen, both inside the wilderness and on other areas of the mountain, make this a fabulous place to visit in the fall. The 3.3-mile Escudilla Trail is well worth the climb for day trips to the fire tower and its outstanding vistas.

Dispersed Camping 

Visitors to the Forests who prefer not to camp in developed sites or who desire more privacy should consider the limitless opportunities available throughout the 2 million acres on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Primitive camping, backpacking, and recreational vehicle-style camps can be found in many locations across the Forests and its only a matter of the camper selecting the desired site.

When locating a possible campsite it is most helpful to have an Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests map to help you navigate. Maps are available at all ranger district offices at a cost of $4.00 per paper map or $5.00 per plastic-coated map, a real bargain compared to being lost in the forest! Maps may also be purchased at various outdoor supply stores in Phoenix and Tucson and at local chambers of commerce.

By definition, dispersed campsites have no facilities so you will need to provide for your own sanitation and potable water needs and you will need to pack out all trash. During the normally dry and warm months of May, June, and early July the Forests may be in "campfire and smoking restrictions" or portions of the Forests may be closed to entry due to the extreme fire hazard. Since dispersed sites have no facilities such as fireplaces, often "smoking and campfire restrictions" will mean that the camper cannot have a campfire at all, and smokers can only smoke inside a building or a vehicle. How will you know when restrictions are in place? You can call ahead to the ranger district office nearest to where you wish to camp or you can simply watch for the road signs in the Forests for fire information.

The usual rules apply to dispersed campers: you are welcome to camp up to 14 consecutive days on the Forests and then you will need to move off of the Forests for 16 days before you can camp here again. This rule is intended to keep some of the more popular sites from being occupied by one person/group for an extended time and to prevent "homesteading." 

Campsite selection: Basically campers may select any spot to camp that is not signed as closed to such activity. There are a few areas in which visitors are asked to only camp in designated sites such as near Big Lake, Greer, or the Rim area lakes but there are signs indicating that so please follow those directions. 

We've listed some of the more popular dispersed campsites on the attached list so for a brief description of where to camp, CLICK HERE.

For those of you who REALLY don't want to be camped with lots of other folks then locate these popular sites on your map and then head the other direction. Explore the backroads at your leisure and find those places which appeal to you. When you are about to break camp and head for home, please "no trace" your campsite so that nobody could tell that you've been camped there. That means breaking up the fireplace and scattering the rocks and taking the COLD ashes and scattering them in the forest. The key here is that the ashes are absolutely cold - no hint of warmth at all. This will help ensure that your favorite campsite will be there for you next time you visit. 

Trails

Hiking as a means of recreation enjoyment is a modern-day development. Walking used to be the primary mode of transportation for the majority of people in this country, and trails were designed to get from one place to another. These early-day trails often went straight uphill because a straight line was the quickest way between two points.

Today trails are built to provide a variety of users a chance to experience the unique settings that are offered in a forest environment. It's the journey as much as the destination that counts. 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.

Opportunities abound for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Trails within the wilderness and primitive areas are designed for hikers and horses. Trails outside these areas can include a broad spectrum of users.

The Forest has four National Recreation Trails: Eagle, Blue Ridge, Escudilla, and General George Crook. Additionally, many of the forest trails are part of the White Mountain Trail System which is managed in partnership with the Pinetop-Lakeside TRACKS volunteers. The Forest does offer several barrier-free trails, including; Mogollon Rim Interpretative Trail and Pintail Lake Wetland.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests provides a four-season recreational experience with settings ranging from low elevation desert to high elevation mixed conifer stands. A word of caution, because of the dramatic differences in elevation across the Forest, there are chances for sudden storms and changes in weather.

Season of use varies depending on elevation and exposure. You can expect cool nights in the higher elevations even during the summer. Periodic thunderstorms are also common during July and August. Snow may completely cover some trails and access points through the month of May at higher elevations.

Please contact the closest District Office for the latest trail conditions.

Locating A Trail

The nearly 1,000 miles of trails of Apache-Sitgreaves offer a variety of opportunities and challenges. One of the first challenges is to select an appropriate trail for you.

The Forest can be divided into six geographic zones that represent typical user patterns.

The Chevelon/Heber District is the westernmost geographical zone and is accessed via State Highway 260. This zone contains the Rim Lake Recreation Area, Black Canyon Lake, Chevelon Canyon, and hundreds of thousands of acres of relatively gentle rolling hills.

The Lakeside District is located near the communities of Show Low, Lakeside/Pinetop, McNary, and Pinedale, Arizona. This zone contains the White Mountain Trail System and is accessed via State Highways 70 and 260 and US Highway 60.

The Springerville District is located near the communities of Springerville, Eager, and Greer, Arizona. This zone contains the Big Lake Recreation Area and Mt. Baldy Wilderness. This area can be accessed through US Highways 60 and 180, State Highway 260, and State Route 273.

The Alpine District contains Escudilla and Bear Springs wildernesses, a portion of the Blue Range Primitive Area, and the East and West Forks of the Black River. This geographical zone is accessed via US Highways 180 and 191.

The Clifton District is the southernmost geographic zone and is located near the communities of Clifton, Morenci, and Safford Arizona. The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway bisects this zone. The Clifton District contains a portion of the Blue Range Primitive Area.

The Blue Range Primitive Area is located on portions of the Alpine and Clifton districts. The primitive area is adjacent to the Blue Range Wilderness in New Mexico which is administered by the Gila National Forest. The primitive area is open to hiking, horseback riding, and other non-motorized, non-mechanical modes of travel.

Scenic Drives

Finding a scenic drive on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is as easy as pointing to any spot on the Forest map and taking a drive. People come from hundreds of miles away just to cruise the highways and byways of this Forest but we've picked out a few routes that provide good access, outstanding scenery and variety, and even some adventure. Let's start with the paved roads:

The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway (Highway 191) from Springerville to Clifton is an exciting 120-mile journey surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of Arizona. You will follow a route near Coronado's path as he searched for the "Seven Cities of Cibola" over 450 years ago and will literally travel from "palms to pines" in a few breathtaking hours. Wildflowers abound brightened by summer monsoon rains. Spectacular yellow and golds greet you as aspen and oak mark the beginning of fall. The quiet white of winter greets the adventurous winter recreationist.

Highway 260 between Eagar and Pinetop-Lakeside features high-elevation meadows and streams and lakes both on the Forest and on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. You get outstanding views of Sunrise Ski Area and the old sawmill at McNary.

Highway 260 between the top of the Mogollon Rim near Woods Canyon lake turnoff and Heber features an extensive stand of ponderosa pine and tremendous change in temperature compared to the Phoenix area. People flock to this area to get cool in the summer and to play in the snow in the winter.

Highway 261 between Eagar and Big Lake offers quick and easy access to the Big Lake area and also provides an excellent vista of the Round Valley of Springerville and Eagar. The road skirts Mexican Hay Lake and traverses the high elevation meadows in which snowmobilers love to play.

Gravel roads which are highly scenic include: 

The White Mountain Scenic Byway from Alpine on Forest Road (FR) 249 to Big Lake and then proceed on state highway 273 past the Sunrise Ski Area to Highway 260. The Escudilla Mountain/Terry Flat drive is between Alpine and Nutrioso. Take Forest Road 56, which is about 6 miles north of Alpine on Highway 191, and drive near the top of Arizona's 3rd highest peak.

The Woods Canyon Lake loop is 58 miles long but its also long on scenic beauty, especially the vista opportunities. From Woods Canyon Lake take Forest Road 300 13 miles to Forest Road 115 and proceed to Ohaco Lookout, where you'll take Forest Road 56 ; take Forest Road 56 to its junction with Forest Road 225 and proceed on Forest Road 225 to its junction with Forest Road 34; take Forest Road 34 to the junction with Forest Road 100 where you'll turn left; proceed on Forest Road 100 until it joins Forest Road 169, where you'll turn right; take Forest Road 169 until it joins Forest Road 300; turn left on Forest Road 300 and take it back to your starting point at Woods Canyon Lake.

 

Accessible Recreational Opportunities

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offers an array of recreation opportunities to the visitor. It is our continuing goal to make these recreational opportunities accessible to persons with disabilities. Although some of these areas already have wheelchair-accessible sites, restrooms, fishing docks, and trails, we are continuing to make more sites accessible.

The Apache-Sitgreaves uses the universal design approach to site accessibility which takes into consideration the various physical capabilities of our visitors. We invite you to visit and discover the wonders of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Current accessible sites are listed below. It is important to note that not all locations/facilities are 100% accessible. We are continually adding newly accessible sites, please call ahead for more information.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests present interpretative programs during the summer at several of the campgrounds. If you need accessibility please call ahead to 520-333-4301 (Voice) 520-333-6292 (TTY).

Accessible Recreation Sites

Fool Hollow Campground 

Horse Springs Campground 

Blue Crossing Campground 

KP Cienega Campground 

Stray Horse Campground 

Honeymoon Campground 

Alpine Divide Campground 

Canyon Point Campground 

Accessible Fishing and Boating Stations

These sites have accessible boat ramps, parking areas, restrooms, and courtesy docks: Willow Springs Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, Big Lake, Crescent Lake, Luna Lake, Horse Springs Fishing Section. 

Accessible Visitors Centers

These visitors centers are accessible: Rim Visitor Center, Big Lake Visitor Center 

Accessible Vistas and Overlooks

The following vistas and overlooks are accessible: Red Mountain Overlook, Blue Vista, Chase Creek Overlook, Rim Vista Trail, Rim Visitor Center. 

Accessible Trails 

These trails are accessible: Meadow Trail, Rim Trail, Rim Vista Trail, Fool Hollow Lake. 

Accessible Day Use Areas

The following Day Use Areas are accessible: Sheep Saddle, H.L. Saddle, Sardine Saddle Picnic Areas, Crescent Lake, and Luna Lake. 

Wildlife & Fisheries

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. There are opportunities throughout the forest for photographers, casual observers, hunters, and anglers.

A leisurely drive in the twilight may yield wonderful rewards as it is during the evening twilight and early morning hours that wildlife within the forest are most active and can be seen almost anywhere if you look hard enough. Deer and elk come out to feed in the early morning and evening, watch for them at the forest's edge or in meadows.

A lucky wildlife viewer may catch sight of a mountain lion, a black bear, or the newly re-introduced Mexican gray wolf. Sightings of these large predators are rare occurrences and should be viewed as something truly special, not merely because of the scarcity of these animals but also because of their secretive nature.

If seeing an osprey hover over a clear mountain lake or hearing a mountain chickadee's cheery song is your idea of a great outdoor experience, then the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is for you. The forest contains a wide variety of birds and can provide you with many memorable moments. In addition to a good pair of binoculars, you'll probably want to stop by the local district office and pick up the "Birds of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest: A Checklist"

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. Bring your favorite fishing gear and try your luck. Be sure to check State Fishing Regulations before wetting your line.

Heritage Resources

A Heritage to Tell

The Apache-Sitgreaves Heritage Team's role is to protect, preserve, and interpret the Forests' archeological resources. Our goal is to meet the Secretary of Interior's challenge "to provide opportunities to appreciate past craftsmanship, understand past ways of life, and better comprehend people's adaptations to changing natural, physical, and social environments during prehistoric and historic times".

As protectors of archeological resources, we work with other Forest personnel, volunteers, and contractors to identify prehistoric and historic remains, and to ensure that they are not damaged by project activities. Members of the Arizona Site Steward program assist us in monitoring resources that are determined eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

In partnership with the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Virginia, we study sites that contain information that will answer questions about people's adaptations to change, and about changes that have occurred in Forest landscapes over the past 12,000 years or so. These efforts are assisted by the invaluable contribution of thousands of hours of volunteer time through the Passport in Time Program.

So - what is the history of human use of the Forests? Our earliest evidence suggests use by big-game hunters during the Paleo-Indian Period nearly 12,000 years ago. But this evidence is clouded by people's habits of collecting and reusing things they find along the way. Our most recent discovery of a projectile point from this early time period was at a pueblo site that dates to 800 years ago. We don't think the point was a family heirloom passed down for 8000 or 9000 years, but who knows?

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. Rockshelter 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 Indians continued to use the Forest after the prehistoric people, known as Mogollon, moved on. They were here in 1825 when fur trappers moved along the Black River in search of beaver. They were here in 1870 when Fort Apache was established to help resolve conflicts between the native people and the earliest Anglo settlers. The Crook Trail, located on the Chevelon-Heber District, is a reminder of the military period.

The large mining operations of the Morenci area began after the passage of the 1872 Mining Law. Ranchers, farmers, and loggers moved in quickly to fill the needs of the miners and the military. Logging railroads were established on the Forests beginning in 1917. Reminders of the logging railroad era are included in the White Mountain Trail System on the Lakeside District and the Apache Railway Rails-to-Trails project on the Springerville District.

The craftsmanship of early settlers, and of the later Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), is preserved throughout the Forests. Some of the work of the CCC, recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, can be seen at our Pinedale and Water Canyon Work Centers, at a number of lookout locations, and at campgrounds at Juan Miller, and the Blue and Black Rivers.

What does it tell us? By taking this quick trip through time, it becomes apparent that the Forests are rich in the resources that contribute to the tapestry of the landscape familiar to most Americans as the Southwest. Those resources contain a wealth of information about how people have used the land for nearly 12000 years - how it has been manipulated to meet needs; what natural resources have been depleted, enhanced or are unchanged; when changes occurred; and where change can be documented. The question that is harder to answer is why because personal and societal values are not preserved in the archeological record. Maybe the closest we can get to answering the "why" is by listening to our American Indian neighbors who are equally concerned about our efforts to protect, preserve, and interpret our shared heritage.

Winter Activities

It is true! Arizona does get snow! The high country on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest receives ample snow each year for various types of snow play. The only question is when that snow arrives. During most winters, skiing and snowmobiling can first occur around Christmas but sometimes the snow simply doesn't show up until January. Popular winter activities include snowmobiling, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and ice fishing.

Although there are few designated snowmobile trails, roads that are inaccessible to other vehicles at this time of year offer many miles of ready-made trails. One recommended snowmobile route, however, is from the Sunrise Park Ski Area to Big Lake along State Route 273, which is not plowed in the winter.

There are four areas that are recommended for cross-country skiing although there are endless other routes that could be selected: Hannagan Meadow south of Alpine, Williams Valley west of Alpine, Pole Knoll, and Greer west of Springerville, and Forest Lakes west of Heber.

Some of the finest downhill skiing in the entire Southwest can be found at Sunrise Park Ski Area between Eagar and Pinetop-Lakeside. Sunrise is a modern facility and can provide the visitor with everything from lodging to baby-sitting.

Snowshoeing opportunities exist throughout the Forest but can be particularly fun when combined with ice fishing at Woods Canyon, Willow Springs, or Luna lakes. It will take snowmobiles to access the other good ice fishing lakes such as Big Lake, Crescent Lake, Chevelon Canyon Lake, and Bear Canyon Lake. Ice fishing is most convenient at Nelson Reservoir since its accessible by automobile.

There is an area in Williams Valley west of Alpine that is very popular for tubing. This site offer opportunity to sled, toboggan, or tube down the slope. Additionally, forest users often venture out to their own favorite locations.

Road and driving conditions can be hazardous in the winter so please be prepared. We recommend that all vehicles, even 4-wheel drives, have a set of tire chains. Bring extra food, water, warm clothes, and tell somebody where you are going so that searchers can more easily find you should you become stranded.

We hope you enjoy your winter visit with us!

 

Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests

The Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests are comprised of over two million acres of magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

What makes this Forest so special? Its the water...lots of it...draining the high mountains and forming numerous lakes and streams...a fisherman's paradise in the arid Southwest. 

The Apache-Sitgreaves has 24 lakes, reservoirs, and more than 450 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, Little Colorado, and the San Francisco. 

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850s. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors from the hot valleys of Phoenix or Tucson 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.

In the last century, the US Army established a series of forts in New Mexico and Arizona. To supply these forts and settlements, a military road was built linking New Mexico and Camp Verde near Prescott. Part of this road, called the General Crook Trail, runs almost the length of the Sitgreaves and in many places follows the brink of the Rim.

The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses 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 National Forests has 48 developed campgrounds that provide development levels from the most highly developed at Fool Hollow at Show Low to a number of primitive sites scattered across the Forest. Campgrounds are "developed" when they have at least a few amenities such as parking pads, picnic tables, grills, and a restroom. More highly developed sites may also include showers, ramadas, electricity, sewer, and water. These sites can accommodate up to 1350 families at one time or about 1.6 million people throughout the camping season. Please refer to the tabular listing of these Developed Camping Locations or find them on a map.

There is a 14-day stay policy which means that you can stay for up to 14 consecutive days and then we ask you to leave the Forest for another 16 days. Please remember to keep all pets on a leash when camped on the Forest. This allows other people to walk through the campground without feeling threatened and ensures that the wildlife on the Forests is not chased or harassed. 

Hiking as a means of recreation enjoyment is a modern-day development. Walking used to be the primary mode of transportation for the majority of people in this country, and trails were designed to get from one place to another. These early-day trails often went straight uphill because a straight line was the quickest way between two points.

Today trails are built to provide a variety of users a chance to experience the unique settings that are offered in a forest environment. It's the journey as much as the destination that counts. 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.

Opportunities abound for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Trails within the wilderness and primitive areas are designed for hikers and horses. Trails outside these areas can include a broad spectrum of users.

The nearly 1,000 miles of trails of Apache-Sitgreaves offer a variety of opportunities and challenges. One of the first challenges is to select an appropriate trail for you.

Gathering Forest Products & Fuelwood

The gathering of forest products has long been a tradition on National Forest lands. Native Americans and early settlers were dependent upon the products that are now found on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for their livelihood. Previous generations remember gathering as a necessity. Today, however, it is enjoyed mostly as a recreation activity, generally partaken with other outdoor activities. 

Fuelwood permits, followed by Christmas Tree permits, are the most frequently issued permits on the Forest. The fuelwood cutting season is generally July 15th through December 31st and several types of permits are available. Each district administers their own program and may have different policies so be sure to read your permit and accompanying information sheet before venturing out into the forest. 

The Basics

Here are a few fuelwoods cutting tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience:

· Be sure you understand your permit. 

· Never cut alone.

· Scatter branches and other debris.

· Cut in only designated or specified areas.  

· Help keep your forests clean, PACK TRASH OUT.

· Leave gates as you found them.

· Do not drive off-road if the ground is soft or wet.

· Always carry your permit with you. 

· Remember all permits expire on December 31st unless specified otherwise on the permit. 

In addition to fuelwood, there are a variety of other products that can be gathered on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Please check with the local district office for information on permits on products from Christmas trees and mistletoe to products like pine nuts and latillas.

Other Forest Service Links

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are just two of the national forests that exists in the United States and Puerto Rico. You may gain information on any other forest by connecting to the Washington Office Home Page. If you are interested on forests in Southwestern Region you can contact the regional home page Region 3 Home Page.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

Its called God's Country... lakes... mountains... The Mogollon Rim made famous by Zane Grey... The White Mountains... made green by ponderosa pine, gentled by cold waters flowing to the valleys below and far beyond. It is a physically challenging and rewarding recreational landscape. A place of spiritual renewal... and more....

Springerville, AZ . . . The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests will impose smoking and campfire restrictions starting on Tuesday, May 25, 1999 at 8:00 am.

Fire Management Officer John Thompson said that burning conditions on the Forests, as measured by moisture levels in woody fuels, are what we would normally see in late June. " We're drier than normal and still experiencing windy days, so we hope to decrease the risk of human-caused wildfires and provide for the safety of our visitors by going to restrictions at this time," Thompson said.

The Forests had several human-caused fires start last weekend which exhibited extreme fire behavior. "Apparently some campfires were left unattended and the wind scattered embers and caused the fire to spread to surrounding trees and grass," Thompson said. " The fires spread quickly and that's why we are very concerned with the safety of our visitors." 

The restrictions on campfires mean that campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds or where signs specifically allow campfires in that area. Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters are allowed. Smoking is allowed only in developed campgrounds and recreation sites, and inside a building or vehicle. "Although there most likely will be areas of the Forests closed in June due to high fire danger, we are hopeful that most of the Forests will remain open," Thompson said. "All of the campgrounds on the Apache-Sitgreaves are open and there is an abundance of dispersed recreation opportunities as well so we encourage our visitors to come enjoy their National Forests," he added.

FIRE AND SMOKING RESTRICTIONS

Alpine, AZ . . . Due to existing conditions on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, campfires, charcoal use and smoking restrictions have been imposed on the National Forest Land. These restrictions are necessary in an effort to prevent human-caused wildfires from destroying your forests. 

On the Alpine Ranger District, campfires within established fire rings and charcoal grills will be permitted at: Alpine Divide Campground, Hannagan Campground, the East Fork Campgrounds including Buffalo Crossing, Horsesprings, Deer Creek, Raccoon, Aspen and Diamond Rock, Luna Lake Campground and West Fork Campground. Smoking is permitted only in these designated campgrounds or within an enclosed vehicle or building.

Cooking or heating devices using kerosene, propane, gasoline or butane will be permitted at the developed campgrounds at Blue Crossing, Upper Blue and KP Cienega and your dispersed campsite elsewhere on the Alpine District. Such devices will also be permitted in the Blue Range Primitive Area, the Escudilla and Bear Wallow Wilderness areas.

The Alpine Ranger District thanks you for your cooperation in keeping Forest Lands safe from wildfires.

Information concerning the fire and smoking restrictions on the Alpine Ranger District can be obtained by calling (520) 339-4384.

FOREST CAMPGROUNDS OPEN

Springerville, AZ . . . All campgrounds on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are now open and accessible. Forest Service crews and the contractor in the concessionaire-operated campgrounds have been busy readying the recreation sites for operation. The blustery spring weather had delayed the opening in some sites. Before a campground is opened wind-damaged or hazardous trees must be removed, water systems checked out, trash containers placed, roads graded, and toilet buildings and other facilities cleaned.

Campers should realize that at the mid-level and lower elevations of the Forests the fire danger is high. There are fire restrictions in place at this time, forest users should be extremely careful with campfires and the use of cigarettes. Campfires should be drowned out and cool to the touch and cigarettes should never be thrown from a vehicle- not only is it littering but it can start a wildfire. In windy conditions, the Forest Service advises campers to refrain from building a campfire.

More detailed campground information is available by calling the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests at 520-333-4301 (Voice) or 520-333-6292 (TTY)