Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, located in Arizona, is a stunning outdoor paradise with vast expanses of forests, towering mountains, and abundant wildlife. Its diverse landscapes make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including horseback riders. With multiple trails to explore, we've rounded up some of the best horse trails at Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
1. Blue Ridge Trail:
If you're looking for an immersive horseback riding experience, the Blue Ridge Trail is a must-ride. This trail is approximately nine miles long and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding forests and meadows. The trail is well-maintained and provides a variety of terrain, including gentle slopes and level stretches. As you traverse the Blue Ridge Trail, you'll come across several creek crossings, making it an excellent choice for riders seeking some refreshing waterway interactions along the way.
2. Black Mesa Loop Trail:
For those seeking a longer adventure, the Black Mesa Loop Trail is perfect. With a total length of approximately twelve miles, this trail boasts stunning panoramic views of lush landscapes and the nearby mountains. The Black Mesa Loop Trail takes riders through picturesque pine forests and expansive meadows, allowing them to experience the diverse beauty of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Along the way, you might encounter an array of wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species.
3. Bear Wallow Wilderness Trails:
The Bear Wallow Wilderness, encompassing over 11,000 acres, is an equestrian's dream. This wilderness area offers several trails that meander through pristine forests, verdant meadows, and babbling brooks. While exploring the Bear Wallow Wilderness, riders might stumble upon hidden wildflowers and breathtaking waterfalls, providing a truly enchanting experience. Some of the notable trails within the Bear Wallow Wilderness include the Divide Trail and Cow Flat Trail, each offering their own unique charms.
4. Los Burros Trail:
For riders seeking a trail with historical significance, the Los Burros Trail is an excellent choice. Once used by settlers and miners in the late 1800s, this trail winds through the scenic Mogollon Rim region. This trail is classified as moderately difficult and is approximately 13 miles long. As you ride, you'll be rewarded with unforgettable views of cliffs, canyons, and the expansive Mogollon Plateau. Keep an eye out for remnants of old mining activity that still dot the landscape, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the ride.
5. Escudilla National Recreation Trail:
Spanning over 2,000 acres, the Escudilla National Recreation Trail is a natural gem within Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. This trail is around 5.5 miles long and takes riders through dense forests of spruce, fir, and aspen trees. The highlight of this trail is its stunning vistas from the top of Escudilla Mountain, one of Arizona's highest peaks. Riders will also have the opportunity to view the remains of the historic Escudilla Fire Lookout Tower, which adds a touch of history to the journey.
When planning your next horseback riding adventure, don't overlook the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. With its diverse range of trails, from gentle treks for beginners to more challenging routes for experienced riders, this national forest offers something for everyone. So saddle up, take in the stunning scenery, and embark on an unforgettable equestrian expedition in the heart of Arizona's natural wonders.