Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
The 7000-acre Mt. Baldy Wilderness is located on the Springerville Ranger District. It is a popular area and small in size so limits have been placed on the size of groups using the area. Hiking and riding groups should not exceed 12 persons and the maximum number in a group for overnight camping is six. A permit is not required to enter the wilderness. The summit of the mountain is on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and this area should not be entered without first contacting the tribal headquarters in Whiteriver.
Wilderness-type experiences can also be found in the Blue Range Primitive Area. It is approximately 30 times larger than the Mt. Baldy Wilderness but receives light use. Large areas of rugged country are found with numerous trails offering access.
The Escudilla Wilderness on the Alpine Ranger District was designated in 1984 and contains 5,200 acres. It lies atop Arizona's third highest peak. Escudilla Mountain and its 10,912-foot elevation provides marvelous vistas. It is home to several pristine high elevation meadows, which are comprised of relatively rare plant associations. Notable landmarks in or just outside the wilderness include Profanity Ridge, Terry Flat, Toolbox Draw, and the Punchbowl.
A trail takes visitors to Escudilla Lookout where they can absorb vistas many miles distant. Because of the relative scarcity of water and small size of this wilderness, day use is encouraged.
The newly established Bear Wallow Wilderness on the Alpine Ranger District boasts some of the largest acreage of virgin ponderosa pine in the Southwest. Only a few trails provide access into and within this area and only limited grazing of domestic livestock in the west half has kept this area unspoiled.
Beautiful Bear Wallow Creek flows throughout the year providing suitable habitat for the endangered Apache trout. Wildlife is abundant throughout the area. A majestic view from atop the Mogollon Rim is available to the hiker from the Rim Trail on the southern boundary of the wilderness.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication