|Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area|
This must-see wildlife area offers excellent wildlife viewing and photography, as well as a stunning vista of Arizona’s third-highest mountain, Escudilla Mountain, and dramatic examples of petroglyphs. In mid-September, the north slope of Escudilla, 5 miles away, is covered in yellow and gold as...
|Description: The Mogollon Rim stretches across east-central Arizona, and the Coronado Trail travels up to and across the Mogollon Rim. The road is officially designated a National, State, and Forest Service Scenic Byway. The road provides spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim, the Gila Wilderness, and the San Carlos Apache Reservation, ranges in elevation from 3,500 to over 9,000 feet and is 123 miles long.|
Visitors drive through high desert, pinyon-juniper woodlands, open grassland meadows, ponderosa pine, and mixed conifer forests to high alpine meadows. The variety of habitats and the remoteness of the landscape make for excellent wildlife viewing and a road not soon to be forgotten. There are interpretive displays on wildlife, the effects of fire, and topography along the roadway. The road passes by North America’s largest copper mine in Morenci, Arizona. The Red Mountain Interpretive Fire Display presents information on the use of wild and prescribed fires in the management of National Forest Lands. There are interpretive panels about Mexican gray wolf recovery at the Blue Vista Lookout.
Wildlife to Watch: Look for pronghorn in the open grassland around Springerville. Elk, Merriam’s turkey, and Abert’s and red squirrels can be seen in the forested areas around Alpine and Hannagan Meadow, which is also home to the reintroduced Mexican gray wolf. Active beaver dams are in the creeks along the highway. With the wide range of elevations and subsequent dramatic varied habitats along this route, over 200 breeding species of birds can be encountered. White-tailed deer are found in the lower, southern elevations. There is a very good possibility of seeing bighorn sheep in the Morenci Mine area.
Between Springerville and Alpine is Nelson Reservoir, an excellent site for viewing waterfowl and bald eagles during winter months and osprey during summer months.
Special Tips: The Coronado Trail has numerous sharp curves and is very steep, so drivers need to take extra caution when navigating its contours.
No trails associated with auto loop; however, numerous hiking trials in area.
Ownership: Arizona Department of Transportation
Size: 123 mile drive
Closest Town: Clifton or Eagar
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: