|Silver Creek Hatchery & Wildlife Area|
The 840-acre wildlife area occupies an outstanding mid-elevation meadow, bisected by spring-fed Silver Creek. This facility is the state’s primary site for rearing the native Apache trout, which are then stocked in selected streams and lakes of the White Mountains.
Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area
|Description: 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 aspens. As the leaves turn, the elk are beginning their breeding season and their wailing bugle can be heard at early morning and dusk. The lucky visitor may even hear the howl of one of the many reintroduced Mexican gray wolves. Escudilla Mountain is often cited as the last known location of grizzly bear in Arizona. |
Four hiking trails through a variety of habitats, as well as a visitor center and a day-use picnic area, offer much to the visitor. Habitats include several reservoirs, a stream, wetlands, irrigated meadows and pastures, upland grasslands, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. A 50-room, prehistoric ruin that was occupied by ancestral Pueblo people beginning about 1225 AD can be seen on the Rudd Creek Trail. The rock outcroppings in the area provide several examples of Ancestral Puebloan petroglyphs.
Wildlife to Watch: The grasslands feature abundant elk and pronghorn, along with mule deer and coyote. Small mammals include porcupine, badger, Abert’s squirrel, golden-mantled and thirteen-lined ground squirrel, long-tailed weasel, cliff chipmunk, and striped skunk. Bat species include the cave myotis, long-eared myotis, long-legged myotis, occult little brown bat, Allen’s lappet browed bat, silver haired bat, and hoary bat. Rufous, broad-tailed, and calliope hummingbirds are common in July and August. The visitor center has hummingbird feeders, and numerous hummingbirds can be seen at close range.
The best birding location at Sipe is along Rudd Creek and in the orchard and tall trees around the visitor center. Songbirds include mountain and western bluebirds, spotted towhee, as well as northern flicker, western wood-peewee, Say’s phoebe, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, Virginia’s warbler, black-headed grosbeak, and Bullock’s oriole. Waterbirds include northern pintail, cinnamon teal, green winged teal, redhead, bufflehead, common merganser, mallard, American coot, American wigeon, gadwall, Canada goose, white-faced ibis, great blue heron, and pied-billed and eared grebes. Merriam’s turkey, Montezuma quail and band-tailed pigeon can also be found in the area. Reptiles and amphibians include prairie rattlesnake, Arizona black rattlesnake, terrestrial gartersnake, gophersnake, greater short-horned lizard, eastern collared lizard, many-lined skink, Arizona tree frog, western chorus frog, and tiger salamander.
Special Tips: Hunting occurs at site from late August to mid-December.
Other Activities: Four hiking trails of easy to moderate difficulty, each with interpretive signs. Trailheads for 3 of the 4 trails are adjacent to the parking areas.
Trinity Trail: 350 yards, universally accessible, leads to a wildlife-viewing point adjacent to Trinity Reservoir.
High Point Loop Trail: 1 mile, moderate difficulty, viewing points with benches, spotting scope for observing large mammals in the meadows below.
Rudd Creek Loop Trail: 3 miles, mostly flat terrain, several wildlife viewing points and benches.
Homestead Trail: 1.5 mile spur trail (3 total) over flat terrain to the Nelson cabin homestead.
Ownership: Arizona Game & Fish Department
Size: 1362 acres
Closest Town: Eagar
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: