The Greer Lakes—Bunch, River, and Tunnel reservoirs—are popular spots, and all three hold brown and rainbow trout. On River Reservoir, try the shallows at the south end. On Tunnel Reservoir, you can often do well from shore, especially if you’re fly-fishing, though there is a boat launch. However, Big Lake, south of Greer, has the best fishing reputation here. Fishing is also good on Sunrise Lake; be sure to get a Fort Apache Indian Reservation fishing license ($7 per day for adults, available at the Sunrise General Store) in addition to the state fishing license the other lakes require.
Hiking & Mountain Biking
Come summer, the ski slopes and cross-country ski trails at Sunrise Park Resort become mountain-biking trails and, when combined with the nearby Pole Knoll trail system (14 miles west of Springerville/Eagar on Ariz. 260), provide mountain bikers with 35 miles of trails of varying degrees of difficulty. In the summer, mountain bikers can get an all-day Sunrise lift pass for $37. A single lift ride to the top of the mountain is $19 for adults and $13 for seniors, active military, and children 12 and under. Sunrise Park also boasts a zip line, climbing wall, 300-foot slide, and other fun things to do.
This area offers some of the finest mountain hiking in Arizona, including Mount Baldy. Lying on the edge of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, the peak is sacred to the Apaches; non-Apaches are not allowed to go to the summit. The West Baldy Trail, the most popular and scenic route, begins 6 miles south of Sunrise Park Resort ski area (off the gravel extension of Ariz. 273) and follows the West Fork of the Little Colorado River. This 16.7-mile (out and back) trail climbs roughly 2,000 feet and is moderately strenuous, although the high elevation often leaves lowland hikers gasping for breath. From Greer, the East Fork Trail and West Fork Trail also ascend Mount Baldy.
The Sprucedale Ranch (www.sprucedaleranch.com; tel. 928/333-4984), a working spread located in the mountains above Greer, offers short (2-hour) and day-long rides with a seasoned wrangler. If you’re ambitious to lead a cowboy life, you can even join the vaqueros in May and October for authentic horse drives to and from winter and summer pastures and, in October, a cattle roundup.
Located just off Ariz. 260 on Ariz. 273, the Sunrise Park Resort ski area (www.sunriseskipark.com; tel. 800/772-7669 or 928/735-7669) is the largest and most popular ski and snowboarding area in Arizona. Operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, it usually opens in November, although thaws and long stretches without snow can make winters a bit unreliable. There are some good advanced runs, but beginner and intermediate skiers will really be in heaven. The ski area encompasses three mountains, including 11,000-foot-tall Apache Peak. A ski school offers a variety of lessons. Lift tickets cost $68 for adults, $56 for teens, and $39 for kids 12 and under. Ski rentals are available here and at numerous shops in Pinetop-Lakeside. The ski area’s Sunrise Park Hotel offers motor-lodge-style rooms from $59 to $269; call tel. 800/772-7669 for reservations.
More than 13 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails wind their way through forests of ponderosa pines and across high snow-covered meadows at Sunrise. These trails begin at the Sunrise General Store (tel. 928/735-7669, ext. 2180), located at the turnoff for the downhill area. All-day trail passes are $12 ($20 on weekends), and rental equipment is available. When there is enough snow, there are also good opportunities for cross-country skiing within Greer itself—at 8,500 feet, the alpine scenery in this area is quiet and serene.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.