A Great Selection of Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities
Come to Pinetop-Lakeside for the beautiful weather, but stay to enjoy all the wonderful family activities our community and local businesses have to offer.
Big Springs Environmental Study Area
Big Springs has been developed as an outdoor study area and recreation site for use by local schools, the community and visitors to the White Mountains. 40 acres have been preserved in a natural state by the concerned residents of Pinetop-Lakeside in order to promote an environmental education program for students in the White Mountains. Big Springs Environmental Study Area helps all who visit become aware of and appreciate the rich natural history of the White Mountains.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge School District, and town of Pinetop-Lakeside have worked together as partners to make Big Springs a quality natural area that invites the visitor to relax, learn, and enjoy.
Woodland Lake Park
The 580-acre park is a point of pride for the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside. The park boasts tennis courts, volleyball courts, softball fields, hiking trails and equestrian trails. A trail winds around Woodland Lake, which is a cornerstone of community gatherings. Walkers, joggers, nature lovers and families can be seen each day enjoying the sights of the stunning park. Throughout the year, bird-watchers marvel at the variety of fowl that call the park home during migration. Woodland Lake is large enough for non-motorized boats and fishing from the Woodland Lake dock or shore. Young children are huge fans of the playground, which features swings and a play area under the pines. Picnic ramadas with charcoal grills can also be reserved through the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside Parks and Recreation Department.
The White Mountains are known for their abundant stock of wildlife. In accordance with Arizona Department of Game and Wildlife resource management, game hunts are planned and monitored throughout the year. The primary game stock is elk and the area has become legendary for world-class hunting. Bear, mountain lion, antelope, deer, javelina, turkey, quail, rabbit and waterfowl are also found in this area. The White Mountains offer virtual year-round hunting experiences and are quite varied. In addition to the Arizona state-controlled hunting, the White Mountain Apache Tribe organizes game draws as well.
Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, this 1,200-acre park encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It is fed by snowmelt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, the second and third highest mountains in Arizona. Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico. Rattlesnake Pointe Pueblo Trail, Peninsula Petroglyph Trail and the Ultimate Petroglyph Trail are popular venues that lead visitors through the paths of ancient tribal life.
As one of the fastest-growing recreation activities, mountain biking in the White Mountains is a huge draw. The region is primarily forest, with some high desert elevations. Throughout the White Mountains Trail System, as well as the miles of Forest Service roads, mountain bike enthusiasts can travel for great distances without interference from motorized vehicles. With the high altitude, triathletes are discovering the White Mountains region as a prime training location. It has been estimated that within the Trail System and connecting trails, a bike rider can travel for more than 120 miles without interruption.
Hiking the White Mountains Trail System
The White Mountains Trail System is a series of nearly 30 interconnecting, multi-use, trail loops ranging from the community of Vernon on the eastern edge and stretching to the community of Clay Springs in the west. The system includes urban trails in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, the City of Show Low and the Wagon Wheel area. There are nearly 200 miles of trails making this system one of the nation’s most unique and extensive programs in the United States.
One of the unique features of the Trail System is the Trail Loop. Traditionally, most trails go from point A to point B, requiring a return trip over the same terrain. The Trail System loop goes from point A and returns to point A. Loops are also joined by connector trails, making longer traverses possible. Loops vary in size allowing a pleasant evening walk, a day hike with a stop at selected picnic-type areas, a multi-day horseback trail ride, an adventurous backpack trip, or a scenic mountain bike tour. During winter, selected areas offer cross-country skiing.
Sunrise Park Resort, owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, is a huge draw to the region. In fact, the ski area is often ranked as one of the West’s best ski locations. The park boasts 65 ski runs, snowboarding area, children’s ski-wee as well as cross country skiing. The ski park offers dining, classes, group activities as well as ski experiences for all levels. When the winter snows melt, the mountains reveal abundant wildflowers and tall pines. The chairlifts are open during summer and fall months for tourists to delight in a stunning sightseeing trip from above.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe also owns and operates the Sunrise Park Lodge. The 100 room hotel offers skiers the opportunity to remain on the property during their winter visit. During the summer and fall months, this same property becomes a welcome home to fishers and hunters.
The White Mountains are a fisherman’s paradise. In fact, several state fishing records have been set in many of the area’s pristine freshwater lakes and streams. Trout are the most prevalent species, with rainbow, brown and brook trout the most abundant. The White Mountain Apache trout is found on the West Fork of the Black River, one of the few areas in Arizona and the only place in the country where these trout exist. Truly talented, or perhaps the lucky, may find themselves hooking some large and small-mouth bass, catfish and even sunfish.
From the experienced to novice, anglers will enjoy whispering pine and fir forests dotted with dramatic aspens. Throughout the year, fishing never stops. Late spring, summer and fall angling is popular across the region. Winter ice fishing varies from lake to streams and is not for the faint of heart. Boats are generally restricted to electric motors or canoes. However, many state fishing records have been caught from shore. In fact, a nine-year-old boy landed a six-pound Apache trout at Hurricane Lake using a worm and his trusted fishing pole. This youngster’s catch has held the record since it was set in 1995.
Make sure to observe all regulations and to learn more about Arizona fishing licenses visit www.azgfd.com. The White Mountain Apache Tribe requires licenses for fishing on tribal land.