Old forts and casinos aside, it’s the outdoors (and the cool weather) that really draws people here. Fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are among the most popular activities.
If you’re up here to catch the big one, you can try for native Apache trout, as well as stocked rainbows, browns, and brookies. This is also the southernmost spot in the United States where you can fish for arctic graylings, at Lee Valley Lake (Arizona’s highest lake, at 9,420 feet) and a few other spots. Right in the Pinetop-Lakeside area, try Woodland Lake, in Woodland Lake Park, toward the east end of Pinetop and just south of Ariz. 260, or Show Low Lake, east of Lakeside and north of Ariz. 260. On the nearby Fort Apache Indian Reservation, there’s good fishing in Hawley Lake, which is east of Pinetop-Lakeside and south of Ariz. 260. If you plan to fish here or at any other lake on Apache land, be sure to get a reservation fishing license ($9 per day). Licenses are available at Hon-Dah Ski & Outdoor Sport, at Ariz. 260 and Ariz. 73 (tel. 928/369-7669) or online via the White Mountain Apache Tribe (http://wmatoutdoors.org).
Several area golf courses are open to the public, including Pinetop Lakes Golf & Country Club, 4643 Buck Springs Rd., Pinetop (www.pinetoplakesgolf.com; tel. 928/369-4531), considered one of the best executive courses in the state and only $25 for 18 holes; Silver Creek Golf Club, 2051 Silver Lake Blvd., Show Low (www.silvercreekgolfclub.com; tel. 928/537-2744), with fees of $37 to $56 for 18 holes; and the Bison Golf & Country Club, 1 N. Bison Preserve Dr., Show Low (www.bisongolf.net; tel. 928/537-4564), which costs $47 to $60 for 18 holes.
Hiking & Mountain Biking
Meandering through the forests surrounding Pinetop-Lakeside are the 180 miles of trails of the White Mountains Trail System. Many of these trails are easily accessible (in fact, some are right in town) and are open to both hikers and mountain bikers. The trails at Pinetop’s Woodland Lake Park, just off Ariz. 260 near the east end of Pinetop, run 6 miles, including a paved path around the lake. For a panoramic vista of the Mogollon Rim, hike the short, flat Mogollon Rim Interpretive Trail off Ariz. 260 on the west side of Lakeside. For another short but pleasant stroll, check out the Big Springs Environmental Study Area, on Woodland Road in Lakeside. This quiet little preserve encompasses a small meadow through which flows a spring-fed stream. There is often good bird-watching here. You can spot more birds at Woodland Lake Park, mentioned above, and at Jacques Marsh, 2 miles north of Ariz. 260 on Porter Mountain Road in Lakeside. For more information on area trails, contact the Lakeside Ranger District, 2022 W. White Mountain Blvd., Lakeside (www.fs.usda.gov/asnf; tel. 928/368-2100), on Ariz. 260 in Lakeside, or the Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce.
Between mid-May and the end of October, you can saddle up at Porter Mountain Stables, 1497 Flag Hollow Rd. (www.portermtnstables.com; tel. 928/368-5306), which charges $35 for adults ($33 for children) for a 1-hour ride, $54 for adults ($51 for children) for a 2-hour ride. Half-day, all-day, and sunset rides are also offered.
About 50 miles south of Show Low, U.S. 60 crosses a bridge over the narrow and scenic canyon of the Salt River. This stretch of the river is a favorite of whitewater rafters, and several companies offer rafting trips of varying lengths if water levels permit. (In 2018, the rafting season was cancelled because of insufficient flow.) Try Arizona Rafting (https://saltriverraftingarizona.com; tel. 800/231-7238), Canyon Rio Rafting (www.canyonrio.com; tel. 800/272-3353), or Mild to Wild Rafting (www.mild2wildrafting.com; tel. 800/567-6745).
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.