White Mountains Online

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Snowmobile Information


Arizona's White Mountains

| Designated Areas | Off Limits | Tours & rentals | Safety |

With the arrival of winter, all those Alpine District roads you came to know and love through the summer take on a fresh new face. And in the process they offer forest visitors a whole new set of recreation opportunities. Snowmobiling through this winter wonderland gives you a chance to get to know your favorite forest haunts all over again. In many cases, you'll be surprised to find that, in their winter set of clothes, you'll barely recognize areas that you thought were as familiar as, well, your own back yard.

On the Alpine District, interest in snowmobiling focuses on two main locations. One of these near Williams Valley six miles northwest of Alpine, is a broad, wide-open meadow set aside strictly for snowmobiling. The other is centered around the Hannagan Meadow Lodge, 22 miles south of Alpine, where there is a network of snowed-in forest roads marked with orange diamonds for snowmobile use. In addition to these designated areas you won't want to overlook all those other forest roads in the Alpine high country which have been transformed by the area's snowpack into miles of opportunities for winter riding fun.

Designated areas: At Williams Valley, six miles northwest of Alpine, the District has set aside an area for snowmobiling just east and north of the valley's cross country ski trails. From this big meadow play area, roads head out in the direction of the scenic drainages of the east and west forks of the Black River, and the Big Lake area on the Springerville Ranger District. Those interested in longer day tours and overnight expeditions will find that the large remote areas accessed by these roads present a unique opportunity and challenge.

At Hannagan Meadow snow-covered forest roads lead into the Black River area via routes along Fish Creek and Bear Creek drainages. Hannangan Meadow Lodge has maintained several miles of trails in this area which take you to some of the most beautiful scenery in the White Mountains.

Off Limits: Cross country ski trails, wilderness areas and the Blue Primitive area are off limits to snowmobiles. This includes only a small percent of the area on the Alpine District where it snows. The majority of the rest of the district is open to snowmobiling, and riders are asked to observe a tread lightly-ethic no matter where they venture. For one thing, you should avoid areas where snow pack is thin, where crossing these areas would cause damage to plants and soils and may result in their being closed to snowmobiles.

Snow Conditions: Much of the snowmobiling on the Alpine District is done on areas above 9000'; high enough that, in good snow years, you can ride from the first of December to late March. Snow at lower elevations burns off some areas between storms, so you should check on conditions before planing a trip.

Tours and Rentals: If you don't own a snowmobile, there are usually businesses in the Alpine/Hannagan Meadow Area that offer guided tours under permit by the forest service. Contact the District Office at (928) 339-4384 for current information.

For Safety's Sake: It's a long cold walk to a repair shop from just about any place on the Alpine District. To avoid taking that walk you'll want to carry a few essential items with you on your snowmobile outing. Recommended items include: a spare drive belt, spark plug and tools for installation, snowshoes or skis, waterproof matches, tarp/tent, water, food, a topo map of the area you're riding in and extra clothing. Always remember to tell somebody where you've gone and when you plan to return.

For current information on trail conditions, please contact the Alpine Ranger District: P.O. Box 469, Alpine AZ 85920, (928) 339-4384. For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Alpine Ranger District.