- 123 miles (197 km)
- Allow 4 hours.
- There are no fees along the road itself.
The White Mountain Scenic Road begins southeast of Pinetop-Lakeside in Hon-Dah, an Apache word meaning "welcome" or "be my guest." The tribe adopted the term to symbolize their new plan to open up the reservation to visitors. The White Mountain Scenic Road heads east along State 260, offering an enriching experience.
Hawley Lake offers boat rentals, camping and fishing to those with permits. Ice fishing is a popular activity at the lake. Going east, there are dense clumps of ponderosa pine, and Engelmann spruce trees stand on either side of the road; and depending on the time of year, there are sunflowers with their petals gleaming. The four seasons provide equally beautiful landscapes in the White Mountains. In winter the branches of pine and spruce sag under powdered snow, while in the spring, streams swell with melting snow. In summertime, the mountains provide a cool haven from the desert heat, and in fall the trees burst into vibrant gold and red.
To the southeast looms the second tallest peak in Arizona, the 11,590 foot-tall Mount Baldy or Dzil Ligai. Mount Baldy remains sacred to the Apaches, and climbers may not ascend the summit without permission from the tribe. A few miles east the road passes the 24-acre A-1 Lake, which was named after the White Mountain Apache Chief, Alchesay. Going south you?ll find Sunrise Lake. The road sweeps through meadows with round, forested hills in the distance. The meadows offer an excellent place to watch for wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk when the large populations of elk are on the move. The White Mountains boast some of the largest elk in North America. Most journeys through the White Mountain backcountry offer at least a glimpse of the gigantic creatures.
Points of Interest Along The Way
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (AZ)
The Sitgreaves National Forest was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850s.