A famous mountainous terrain white mountains Arizona or White mountains AZ is a mountain range that sits in the east of the state, bordering with New Mexico. It runs from the west of the Arizona Transition zone – Mogollon Rim, with Rim ending in New Mexico.
White Mountains Az also contribute to the Colorado Plateau high country of Northern Arizona, the Navajo Nation, and the remaining Plateau in eastern Utah and parts of Mexico and Colorado. Various communities inhabiting the surrounding areas include Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, Greer, McNary, Eagar, and Springerville.
White Mountains Az is dotted with mountain lakes and streams and lakes owing to which camping and fishing are ubiquitous activities there. Mount Baldy is the highest summit with an altitude of 11,400 feet. Little Colorado and Salt river flush the mountains north and south, respectively. Sufficient snow the most year allows numerous sports like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing at Sunrise Ski Area.
1. Make the White Mountains AZ Scenic drive
Along this drive, one can witness multiple colors of the high country making multiple stretches of road spectacular. It encompasses a broad region that takes in the Mogollon Rim communities of Pine and Strawberry in the West.
The highlight is the 40-mile drive between the Hon-Dah Resort Casino in Pinetop and Springerville on Highway 260. To spice it up, take a detour to Highway 273, towards the Big Lake and the area’s Ski resort, Sunrise Park Resort.
On this trail, you’ll surpass vivid meadows with ponderosa pines adding life to it along with Douglas firs.
Visiting the meadows in the fall provides you with the foremost fulfilling experience, as you witness them be changing colors from bright green to subtle yellows and peaks of trees lined in shades and hues of brown and golden.
One can comfortably spend 3 to 4 hours driving along the route and hunting for picture-perfect spots!
2. Exploring White Mountains AZ
Hiking and Biking
In White mountains, AZ, hiking and mountain biking are year-round activities. Trails ranging from the White Mountains trail system to the Apache- Sitgreaves National Forest remote trails provide pathways for all ages and abilities.
This trail system stretches from east to west in the White Mountains AZ and comprises over 200 miles of interconnecting, multi-use trail loops. Specific trails that connect to the parks in the area are Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, and Wagon wheel.
The spectacular trail in the White Mountains AZ system is full of life. While hiking here, you can find wildlife, including antelope, deer, turkey, elk, bear, and mountain lion.
One striking feature of this white mountain AZ trail is that it takes longer hikes possible as the trails are interconnected in loops by connector trails. This feature allows this trail to welcome mountain bikers and horseback riders alongside hikers.
3. Hunting and Fishing
Abundant and diverse wildlife in the White Mountains AZ facilitates Game hunts throughout the year. The Arizona Game and Fish Department mainly manages the hunting, and White Mountain Apache Tribe also organizes hunts.
With over 50 lakes and streams, White Mountains AZ is rightly called the fisherman’s heaven. The most abundant species here is trout. A wide range of trout is found here, with Apache Trout being the unique one.
Apache Trout is found native only in the headwater streams high in the White Mountains AZ. Other available species are namely large and smallmouth bass as well as catfish and sunfish. In the Show Low Lake and Fool Hollow Lake, Walleye are also found.
You can be sure of catching breathtaking views even if you don’t catch fish there. There is a spectacular backdrop of pine and fir forests dotted with aspen trees.
The most important tip is to ensure that you have a valid Arizona fishing license before you venture out. One can purchase the license online at www.azgfd.gov or from any other local approved dealer.
4. Must-Try Local Beer at the Pine
AZ breweries know their stuff when it comes to ideal beverages for poolside sipping and camping companionship. This city offers specially curated beers for dessert sipping to night parties to scorching heat.
Different menus for breweries and pubs are standard here, with the latest additions to their menu being Spellbinder, Pumpkin Porter, and Pedal Pounder.
If you’re an alcoholic, try visiting the White Mountains AZ during Arizona Beer Week, and you’ll be awestruck by the fantastic variety of beer they have to offer!
Click here for more details.
5. Fossil Creek Creamery
If you feel like pausing life from the big city, Fossil Creek Creamery is for you. This working ranch is nestled in the tall pines of the Rim and is a perfect gateway to ancient times. Delicious and healthy artisan goat’s milk cheeses and fudge are sold here.
Owners John and Joyce have been raising goats and llamas here for quite some years now. They offer treks to the visitors over weekends with prior reservations where people can also have the opportunity to pet and milk the goats. While at Fossil Creek, one can also sample the cheeses and the fudge.
One can also stash other small farm products such jams, jellies, sauces, and portions of pasta, all of which have been meticulously designed to complement the cheeses made there. The spreadable cheese is infused with unique complex flavors such as lavender-pepper or strawberry-jalapeño.
The store also has something for those who aren’t fans of the unique dairy taste. Goat milk fudges are available in chocolate and peanut butter. They also prepare goat milk soaps and creams with coconut, jojoba, and almond oil as their key ingredients.
6. Casa Malpais Ruins
This place is situated between volcanic badlands near Springerville. This site will interest you if you love exploring ancient sites, then this site is for you. It features an astronomical observatory, a wonderful kiva built of volcanic rock, and a stairway of natural stones, leading you to heaven.
Tours from here depart thrice daily from Tuesday to Saturday, provided the weather is supportive. One can call ahead of time and book a spot on tour.
You will also visit a museum on this tour which displays beautiful artifacts excavated from the 13th century.
7. The Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin
Located on the western edge of the mountain range, The Zane Grey cabin is a replica of Grey’s original built-in 1920 (situated on the Mogollon Rim near Kohl’s Ranch), destroyed in the 1990 Dude Fire. Its construction was completed in 2006.
Limestone blocks were salvaged from the original structure, with which the chimney of the present form has been made. Morris Chair and a lapboard used by Grey, a set of his first edition novels, are included in the period furnishings.
The museum is nothing short of a quick dip into the past. Alongside Grey Displays, the museum also displays a collection of regional artifacts.
The Rim Country Museum and the Zane Grey cabin have been situated in Payson’s Green Valley Park, which changes from lush green to golden in the fall. The walk around the park is a wonderful fall outing spot as three picturesque ponds surround it.
8. Sunrise Park Resort
Situated in the heart of the magnificent White Mountains AZ, Sunrise Park Resort is a one-stop shop for winter recreation.
Three mountains offer the finest skiing in the Western US. Sixty-five trails allow adventure for skiers of all levels. Snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and a special children’s “ski-wee” area are catered to in three different areas.
During the summer, one can enjoy outdoor adventures such as zip-line tours, downhill mountain biking, nature hikes, turning slides, airbag jump, archery course, scenic lift rides, disc golf, water sports, and horseback tours.
Owned by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, this 96-room hotel provides comfortable lodging in summers and winters. Located near Sunrise Lake, it offers great dining, an indoor pool, a lounge, and a game room.
9. Dine-In Show Low
If you go to White Mountains AZ and skip visiting the Show Low, you’re making a mistake!
With about 12,000 inhabitants, Show Low is the area’s largest city and spot with the broadest range of accommodations to offer.
Renowned as Gateway to White Mountains, Show Low, and neighboring Pinetop offers different cafes, restaurants, and local eateries according to whichever meal you want to have. The ambiance of the restaurants at night is sparked by live music on select evenings.
The Arizona tourism website states a fascinating story behind the name “Show Low.” After a long night with no clear winner, one [player] decided to let the cards decide his fate with the phrase, “One wins if one shows low!” the Arizona Tourism website quotes.
With a wealth of recreational opportunities ranging from camping, fishing, and hiking to immersing in the cultures of the native communities and neighboring Native American tribal lands, white mountains AZ has something inbox for every family member.
I hope this article, along with this one, has enriched you with all you need to know before planning your itinerary for your trip! Enjoy all that this magnificent place has to offer.