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Pinetop-Lakeside is an incorporated community located in the scenic
White Mountains of Arizona. Founded in the early 1880s by Mormon pioneers, Lakeside derived its name from the area’s lakes, and Pinetop derived its name from the
nickname of a saloonkeeper who served the Fort Apache soldiers.
The two communities incorporated as one town in 1984.
Pinetop-Lakeside, at an elevation of 7,200 feet, is known for its
extensive tourism and recreational activities, proximity to the
world’s largest stand of ponderosa pine, and for an outstanding
quality of life. From Phoenix, U.S. 60 through the scenic Salt
River Canyon or state Highway 260 through Payson will lead to
Pinetop-Lakeside is a part of the dynamic economic development
of Arizona. It offers many resources: pollution-free air, plentiful
clean water, forest products, abundant recreational activities,
access to major metropolitan areas, a refreshing four-season climate,
and a well-planned rural business atmosphere to serve the
needs of the people in its region.
The economy of Pinetop-Lakeside is heavily oriented toward
trade and services for tourists and recreation-seekers, as well as
residents. A winter sports complex, Sunrise Ski Resort, located
30 miles east of Pinetop-Lakeside on the White Mountain
Apache Indian Reservation attracts skiers from around the
southwest as well as internationally with its well developed
slopes and facilities. Pinetop-Lakeside provides much of the available
lodging and local businesses have taken advantage of this
Manufacturing in Navajo County is based largely on forest products.
Raw materials for this industry are provided by the world’s
the largest stand of ponderosa pine.
Pinetop-Lakeside is surrounded by the natural beauty of the
The White Mountains, the Apache/Sitgreaves National Forest and the
White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. Hiking, biking and
horseback riding are popular recreational activities on the over
180 miles of developed multi-use trails, which are part of the
White Mountain Trail system. The area was ranked third best trail town in 1996 by the American Hiking Association. Hunting and
fishing are also popular recreational activities, and picnic and
camping facilities are provided throughout the area. The reservation
alone has more than 300 miles of streams and 26 major
lakes. (A special use permit is needed on the reservation.)
Rainbow, brown and brook trout are the primary fish caught in
the numerous public, and one private, fishing lakes in this area.
Pinetop-Lakeside is noted for its golf courses and Woodland
Lake Park with its excellent recreational facilities. Cross-country
skiing, sledding, snowmobile and ice fishing can be enjoyed
during the winter. Immediately south of Pinetop-Lakeside is the
Mogollon Rim. The Rim is a steep escarpment ranging from
1,000 to 2,000 feet in height, which separates Arizona’s northern
plateau region from the lower deserts of central and southern
Arts and Music Festival June
Annual Native American Art Festival July
Annual White Mountain Bluegrass Festival August
White Mountain Apache Tribal Fair and Rodeo September
Annual Pinetop-Lakeside Fall Festival
Woodland Holiday Lighting Festival December
In 1886, the Mormons came to the area. They decided this was the ideal place to build a sawmill and to establish their settlement. Ranching in the White Mountains also proved to be beneficial. Sheep and cattle raising surrounded the community.
At first, the town was named Penrod. Bill Penrod was an early settler. But the soldiers from Fort Apache, who came to the salon regularly, kept calling the place Pinetop. The name Pinetop referred to the tall stature of the saloon keeper named Walt Rigney. After awhile, the name Pinetop stuck.
Later, tourists discovered the area and tourism became the source of income for many in the community. Since there are so many outdoor activities to choose from in and around town, Pinetop soon became the place to go to for a weekend.
The town of Lakeside was located so close to Pinetop that eventually the two merged into one. Even the two town’s names combined into one named Pinetop-Lakeside. The two towns incorporated together in 1984. Today the community is a resort town.