White Mountains Online

Big Lake Lookout Trail


Arizona's White Mountains

Elevation: About 9,100 feet at the trailhead to 9,415 at the base of the tower.

Season: April through November, depending on snowpack.

Use: Heavy from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Moderate at other times.

Length: 2 miles round trip.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Access: The trailhead can be accessed from Loop D in Rainbow campground or the Indian Springs trailhead located off Forest Road 249E.

Description: This is a short but sometime arduous hike, as it is a steady uphill climb from the trailhead to the tower. Aspen, spruce and Douglas-fir are the most common trees on this hike. Look for mushrooms poking up from the forest floor after the summer rains. Once your arrive at your destination, pause a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view. If the tower is not staffed, great vistas are available from the hill or the stairs of the tower.

Attractions and Considerations: This is a steep and narrow trail and is not recommended for mountain bikes. The Big Lake Lookout Tower was constructed in 1933 and remodeled in 1967. The tower is 30 ft. tall and has a 12 ft. square observation area. This tower is generally staffed from May through July. The primary duty the lookout is to detect forest fires. Visitors are welcome, but not if their visit will interfere with the lookout's job. Do not climb the tower when there is lightning nearby.

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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
White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Springerville District for providing this information!
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