TRACKS—a local volunteer group—maintains more than 200 miles of trails for non-motorized use in and around Pinetop-Lakeside, of Arizona’s White Mountains.
200+ Miles of Non-Motorized Trails
The winding and aptly named Springs Trail intercepts
cool, natural springs at the feet the towering pines.
Photographer: Judi Bassett
Hiking the White Mountains Trail System
If on foot is how you enjoy the forests, the White Mountains Trail System has just the ticket. Centered primarily in the Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside area, there are more than 200 miles of trails at an average elevation of 7,000 ft. If you’re sea-level dweller, our thin air and heights will likely have you feeling breathless and thirsty.
The trail system has been carefully planned. Primary trails are loops, which vary in length and difficulty, and most trails are joined by connector trails, or have shortcuts, providing you a range of choices.
The White Mountains Trail System is for non-motorized use. You are likely to come across fellow hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and, in the snow, cross-country skiers and snowshoers—all sharing the forests’ beauty filled with immensely diverse wildlife.
The trails were originally built and continue to be maintained by a 350+ member volunteer organization—TRACKS—with approval of the US Forest Service. TRACKS works hard to ensure the trails are safe, even for casual hikers. The volunteers have installed white, reflective trail markers every quarter mile on all 200+ miles of trails, and each marker contains its GPS coordinates.
Whether you’re out for an after-dinner walk, or a serious hike, the White Mountains Trail System provides you an idyllic adventure and chance to enjoy our wildlife and beautiful forests.
For more information, visit: www.trackswhitemountains.org
Mountain Biking Single-Track Trails
You prefer two wheels over two feet? No problem! The White Mountains Trail System is made up of more than 200 miles of non-motorized, multi-use trails—mountain bikers of all skill levels come here to single-track trails and the natural beauty within the pines.
The TRACKS website has downloadable, topographical maps of the entire trail system, which will help you to plan your ride in an area suitable to your skill level. At an average elevation of 7,000 ft., the trails can be a challenge even for the locals. Before you head out, fill your water bottles and pack a first-aid kit and cell phone. The trails wind casually and not-so-casually through natural forest; jutting rocks and roots are common and so are the spills associated with most mountain biking excursions.
Most of the trails are well traveled, but if you’re riding alone and do meet the turf unexpectedly, look for a diamond-shaped trail marker. You’re never more than an eighth of a mile away and each one has a special code to provide GPS coordinates to emergency responders.
If you have a bit of competitive spirit, join us each fall for the Tour of the White Mountains when 700 riders discover the challenges of our single track at the foot of the pines in the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest.
For more information, visit: www.trackswhitemountains.org or www.epicrides.com/events/tour-of-the-white-mountains/event-guide/