White Mountains Online

Pole Knoll Recreation Area


Arizona's White Mountains

Elevation: About 9,000 feet at the trailhead.

Season: All year. The trails are used for cross country skiing in the winter.

Use: Moderate

Length: Variable. The shortest loop is slightly more than 1 mile, the longest is 6 miles. The entire complex of trails and roads runs for almost 30 miles.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate.

Access: Pole Knoll is located to the south of AZ 260, about 14 miles west of Springerville/Eagar.

Attractions and Considerations: The Pole Knoll Recreation area is primarily known as a cross-country ski area, but the trails accommodate other activities through the rest of the year.

Most of the trails are old roads. Some are closed to vehicular traffic, others are not. Closed roads are signed. This is the only developed trail system on the Springerville Ranger District with a varied use mix. That is, hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, motorized vehicles, may all find themselves on the same trail. With this mixture of users, it is essential that each person respect the rights of others.

There are two trailheads; the main one is located just off AZ 260 and provides parking for up to 20 vehicles. In addition to parking, outhouses (during the winter months) and an information board are set up. The secondary trailhead is located off AZ 373, north of Greer. Parking is available for 6 to 8 vehicles and an information board is there. No overnight camping is allowed in the parking areas.

The trails are signed with Nordic ski symbols. You might not think these will be very helpful in the middle of July, but what goes for skiing often goes for walking and even riding a bicycle as well.

  • A Green circle means an easy trail.
  • A blue square indicates a moderately difficult trail.
  • A black diamond advertises the most difficult Pole Knoll has to offer.

Description: Pole Knoll is very typical of the knolls that grace the White Mountains. The north side is heavily timbered with spruce, fir and aspen. The west and south aspects are mainly bunch-grass, with some mixed conifers toward the top. The east side of the knoll is a mixture of ponderosa pine, spruce, fir, aspen and even a few hardy oak trees.

Trails and roads provide access to most sections of the knoll. Motor vehicles are limited as to where they can go, but for those using muscle-power or horses, the only limiting factors are energy and daylight. The trail system covers all terrain found on the knoll. Vehicles are prohibited from the fragile grass slopes and also the recently built trails in the forested areas. Please obey all road closure signs, there are enough roads without making new ones.

Each trail has been given a name. The trails originating from the Pole Knoll side are descriptive names and the names of birds and animals. The trails originating from below, near Greer, have been given numbered designations. Pamphlets describing the trails are available at the sign-in register at each of the trailheads. Please return the pamphlet when you are through so that others might use it.

The Pole Knoll area offers fantastic views of the White Mountains, both in the distance and close up. Keep your eyes to the ground and you may see wildflowers, mushrooms and animal tracks. Look up and you can see Sunrise Lake, Sunrise Peak and Mt. Baldy stretched out to the southwest, Green's Peak to the north and the Little Colorado Basin to the East.

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For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Springerville Ranger District at 928.333.4372 or you may write us at 309 S. Mountain Avenue, Springerville, Arizona 85938
Page Design & Graphics by White Mountains Online. Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved. White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Springerville District for providing this information!