Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by Ralph Maughan

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

Leave a review Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by Ralph Maughan Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by USDA Forest Service Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by USDA Forest Service Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by USDA Forest Service Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by USDA Forest Service

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, administered as one national forest, encompass over two million acres of magnificent mountain country just outside Graham County

Photo by Ralph Maughan
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Contact Information

Clifton Ranger District
397240 AZ 75
Duncan, AZ 85534


Clifton District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Photo by USDA Forest Service
Photo by USDA Forest Service

More about Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests


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 Apache-Sitgreaves has 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams - more than can be found in any other Southwestern National Forest.

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors 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. The Rim (pronounced: muggy-own) extends two hundred miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico.

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 area from Mount Baldy east to Escudilla Mountain is often referred to as the White Mountains of Arizona.

People come from hundreds of miles away just to cruise the highways and byways of Apache-Sitgreaves National 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.

Highway 260 between Eagar and Pinetop-Lakeside features high-elevation meadows, streams and lakes. 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.

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.

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 it’s 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.

Click for even more information about the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.


Hiking and Walking Trails

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests has the following hiking and walking trails available to the public. Click the trail to learn more about it, it's length, difficulty rating and how to access it.

AD Bar Trail #14 , Bear Spring Trail #19 , Bear Valley Trail #55 , Big Tree Trail #314 , Cave Canyon Trail #10 , Chitty Trail #37 , Coalson Trail #85/Forest Road 475 , Crabtree Trail #22 , East Eagle Trail #33 , Frye Trail #12 , H.L. Canyon Trail #11 , Hagan Corral Trail #31 , Hickey Springs Trail #311 , Highline Trail #47 , Horse Canyon Trail #36 , Hot Air Spur Trail #91 , Hot Air Trail #15 , Lengthy Trail #89 , Little Blue Creek Trail #41 , McBride Mesa Trail #26 , Painted Bluff Trail #13 , Pleasant Valley Trail #84 , Raspberry Trail #35 , Red Mountain Trail #25 , Robinson Mesa Trail #27 , Salthouse Trail #18 , Sheep Saddle Trail #16 , Spur Cross Trail #8 , Squirrel Trail #34 , Strayhorse Canyon Trail #20 , War Finance Trail #9 , Warren Canyon Trail #48 , Wildbunch Trail #7

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AD Bar Trail #14

This trail offers a variety of terrain and vegetation. As you leave the Ponderosa Pines near the top you enter the Pinyon Pine and Juniper zone. Other types of vegetation include narrow leaf cottonwood, alder, Arizona black walnut, Gambel oak, wild grape, mesquite, acacia, and cactus.

Length: 12 miles

Rating: Moderate

Access: Take Highway 191 north of Clifton 41 miles. Parking is on the west side of the highway but the trailhead is on the east side.


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