PINETOP-LAKESIDE

The name well describes the pine forests and lakes at this site near the edge of the Mogollon Rim, some eight miles southeast of Show Low. In 1880, Mormon pioneers named their new community Fairview, but they renamed it Lakeside upon the completion of Rainbow Lake. Several smaller lakes have been added since, until the area now seems to consist as much of water as of land. Soldiers undertaking the long climb up the Mogollon Rim from Fort Apache in the 1870s often stopped to rest at a place they christened Pinetop; Mormon ranchers founded a settlement there in 1878. Lakeside (elev. 6,745 feet) on the north and Pinetop (elev. 7,279 feet) just to the southeast have incorporated as Pinetop-Lakeside, a major recreational center dotted with innumerable summer cabins and resorts. The year-round population of 8,000 jumps to 30,000 in summer.

Mogollon Rim Overlook and Nature Trail
An easy one-mile walk, wheelchair-accessible, offers great views of forested valleys and ridges. Signs describe the area's forests, medicinal plants, and history. The trailhead lies just west of AZ 260, three miles north of the Lakeside Ranger Station. Or, from Show Low, head south 5.5 miles on AZ 260 from Deuce of Clubs.

Big Springs Environmental Study Area
A pleasant half-mile nature trail winds through a variety of wildlife habitats. The easy trail offers interpretive signs, though it can be muddy after rain or snow. Turn south half a mile on Woodland Road from AZ 260, then look for the parking area on the left.

Rainbow Lake
This 80-acre reservoir in Lakeside just west of AZ 260 is stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout, and some smallmouth bass and catfish. You can fish from the shore near the dam or rent a boat; the lake has an eight-hp motor limit. Nearby Lakeside Campground ($10) is open May to Oct.; you can reserve sites at 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov.

Scott Reservoir
A slightly smaller fishing lake of 70 acres, Scott lies about three miles northeast of Pintop-Lakeside. Take Porter Mountain Road (turnoff is one block south of Lakeside Ranger Station) east and north 1.4 miles, turn east 0.6 mile, then right to the reservoir. It offers a boat ramp and a small campground with no drinking water or fee. Only electric motors are permitted.

Woodland Lake
This 18-acre lake has rainbow and brown trout and some largemouth bass, catfish, and green sunfish; electric boat motors are okay. Woodland Lake Park offers picnicking, several trails, a fishing pier, boat ramp, tennis courts, volleyball, softball, and playgrounds, but no camping. Groups can reserve ramadas with Pinetop-Lakeside Parks and Recreation (928/368-6700). Trails circle the lake (one mile) and go to other destinations. From White Mountain Boulevard/AZ 260, turn in about a half mile on Woodland Lake Road at the Chevron Station.

White Mountain Trail System
Eleven loops, many interconnected, wind through the forests in the Pinetop-Lakeside area. They total about 180 miles and are open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. In winter, cross-country skiers can glide down the paths. Drop by the Lakeside Ranger Station for maps and trail descriptions. The Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce also may have this material.

On to Pinetop-Lakeside Practicalities

On to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation