|Escudilla Mountain - Terry Flat Loop|
This 15-mile driving route along the eastern edge of the White Mountains loops around the high meadows of Escudilla Mountain, the third highest peak in Arizona at 10,877 feet. There are old-growth stands of Engleman spruce, aspen, and Douglas and white fir in the nearby Escudilla Wilderness Area....
Water Canyon - Big Lake Loop Drive
|Description: This 45-mile scenic driving loop passes through high-elevation grassland, ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forest, and wetland and river riparian habitats. There are excellent views of subalpine grasslands along the entire route; lake and marsh vistas at Salt House Marsh, Big Lake, Crescent Lake and Mexican Hay Lake; and a scenic overlook of Great Basin grasslands to the north at Point of the Mountain rest stop. This is an easy drive with many pull-outs and facilities along the way.|
Wildlife to Watch: Large mammals are easily seen from vehicles, especially at sunrise or sunset, during most times of year. These can include elk, mule deer, pronghorn, coyote, long-tailed weasel, and golden mantled ground squirrel. Abert’s and red squirrel are common. Birds of prey include bald eagle, turkey vulture, osprey, American kestrel, northern goshawk, red-tailed, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawk. Summer residents include the violet-green swallow, black phoebe, and plumbeous vireo. In marsh areas, look for great blue heron, belted kingfisher, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, and a variety of waterfowl. Bird species in grassland habitats include western and mountain bluebirds, horned lark, eastern and western meadowlarks, vesper and savannah sparrows, northern harrier, and an occasional golden eagle. Mixed-conifer and spruce-fir forest birds include red crossbill, pine siskin, red-breasted nuthatch, American three-toed woodpecker, western tanager, golden- and ruby-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warbler, Clark’s nutcracker, and the very local gray jay. Look in aspen stands for Williamson’s and red-naped sapsucker and blue grouse. Pine grosbeak are occasionally seen around the Big Lake area.
Special Tips: A Forest Service visitor center at the Big Lake Recreation Area is open during summer months; located approximately 1 mile south of Forest Road 113 on FR 113A. It offers complete, accessible facilities and free interpretive programs. Inquire at the Springerville Ranger District for date, time, and topic.
Other Activities: No trails associated with auto loop; however, there are numerous hiking trials in area.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Size: 45-mile driving loop
Closest Town: Eagar
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: