White Mountains Online

Three Forks to Diamond Rock #81


Arizona's White Mountains

Length: 4.7 miles

Rating: Easy

Use: Light

Season: May through October

Elevation: 8200' to 7900'

USGS Maps: Buffalo Crossing

Attractions: This is a fisherman's path rather than a developed trail, but it still makes for an excellent hike. For one thing, since it wanders back and forth across the river, you'll be more likely to take your time and enjoy the scenery as you hunt for the best places to cross. You'll probably get your feet wet anyway so wear your wading shoes.

Where this streamside trail will lead you is along the remote stretch of the Black River that lies between the point where FR 276 leaves the valley floor at Diamond Rock Campground and where FR 249 crosses the river upstream at Three Forks Crossing. Most people come here to fish in the out of the way places the trail leads to, where there is less competition from those who choose to do their fishing closer to camp.

Whether or not you come here to fish, there is more to do in this beautiful forest canyon than try to catch trout. The canyon floor is home to a bright green strip of streamside vegetation that strikes an eye-catching contrast with dark streamside rocks and deep forest shadows. Resident wildlife find the fertile habitat nourished by the stream to their liking too. And they seem a bit more ready to stand and let you watch them here where less people disturb them less frequently. If you walk quietly and keep an eye ahead on the forest edges, you may catch a glimpse of a mule deer, elk or even a black bear. Keep an eye on the trees for migrating songbirds drawn to the river's rich riparian community and watch for forest dwellers such as mountain chickadees and Stellers jays back in the ponderosas.

Access: From Alpine drive 1.5 miles north to FR 249 and turn west. Follow FR 249 10.6 miles to Three Forks. For access to the downstream end of this hike follow FR 249 about 5 miles from US 191 (formally US 666) to FR 276. Turn south and follow FR 276 for 6 miles to Diamond Rock Campground. The route heads upstream.

Notes: A nine-mile shuttle is required to avoid hiking back the same way you came.

Trail Log:

  • 0.0 Three Forks Crossing, trail heads downstream. Good fishing, great scenery, follow the river.
  • 4.7 Diamond Rock Campground.
White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Alpine District for providing this information!
For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Alpine Ranger District at 520.339.4384 or you may write us at P.O. Box 469 Alpine, Arizona 85920