Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Biking Overview
Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests Biking Highlights
- Hannagan Meadow Loop weaves through five miles of beautiful high country at elevations of 8,900 to 9,300 feet just west of the Coronado Trail Highway. You can start from Hannagan Campground or Hannagan Meadow Lodge.
- Luna Lake, four miles east of Alpine near the New Mexico border, has a campground and two mountain biking loops. The length of the upper loop is eight miles, and that of the lower loop is 2.5 miles. You'll ride in meadows and ponderosa pine forests.
- Terry Flat Loop encircles a meadow on a pleasant six-mile ride near the base of Escudilla Mountain, northeast of Alpine. You'll have many views of the mountain while riding the dirt roads.
- Railroad Trail connects the Big Lake area northwest of Alpine with AZ 260 at Milepost 379 to the north. Big Lake has other rides as well, such as the 7.5-mile Indian Springs Trail loop.
- The 7.6-mile Willow Springs Loop takes you through a wildlife habitat northeast of Willow Springs Lake atop the Mogollon Rim. Turn north for a half-mile on Forest Road 237 from AZ 260, twenty-two miles southwest of Heber.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has many mountain biking opportunities. All of the logging roads are open to biking, though you gotta be careful about running into logging trucks chugging in from around the bend. (You won't even have a chance to say "Oops, didn't see that one!")
If you don't mind sharing the trail with hikers and the occasional horse, biking becomes a more relaxing proposition. Perhaps some of the best runs are the several excellent trails available in the Alpine Ranger District. The White Mountain Trail System also offers scores of possibilities. Indian Springs and West Fork trails are no slouchers either. If you want to sneak in some wildlife viewing, check out Willow Springs Horsetrap Wildlife Habitat Area in the Heber Ranger District.
Willow Springs Horsetrap Wildlife Habitat Area
This area is closed to motorized vehicle use in order to provide a "quiet" area for wildlife. Elk and deer are often observed, especially in the summer. In October, the leaves of aspen and oak trees change to a golden yellow. Trails are located on old logging roads and are not marked. A ride to the edge of Chevelon Canyon ends in a beautiful view of the canyon. Riding the loop trail provides a view of Willow Springs Lake.
Elevation: 7,600 feet
Access: West of Heber on Highway 260 approximately 22 miles. Turn north on Forest Road 237. Travel one-half mile to Forest Road 236; a closure gate is across this road.
Restrictions: Overnight camping is not allowed within one-fourth mile of Willow Springs Lake. Smoking and campfire restrictions may be in effect during the summer months.
There are no facilities or potable water. Summer thunderstorms occur from July through September. Roads can become muddy during this time.
Seasons: May through October
Nearby Services: Telephone, gas, and food available in Forest Lakes, three miles east of the 237 Road and Highway 260 junction.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication