Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Springerville Ranger District
Portions of this area were impacted by the 2011 Wallow Fire. While parts of the forest did burn, most is still intact, and wildlife viewing opportunities are not diminished.
The South Fork of the Little Colorado River has attracted several rare migrant birds over the years. The campground at the end of the road is a good place to look for birds, as is the seven-mile South Fork Trail.
The primary trailhead is located in the campground on the west side of the creek. The lower trail, at 7,500-feet elevation, follows the river for 3.5 miles, through stands of cottonwood, pine, aspen and oak.
The trail climbs to 9,000 feet, providing spectacular views on the upper bench, and eventually ending at another trailhead located at Mexican Hay Lake.
Grace’s, red-faced and yellow-rumped warblers; plumbeous vireo; great blue heron; western tanager and sapsuckers are found in the campground and along the trail. Northern pygmy-owl occasionally can be heard.
Montezuma quail are resident, but are difficult to see. Look for American dipper along the river. Clark’s nutcracker and golden-crowned kinglet can be found in the winter. Beaver, porcupine, elk, Coues white-tailed and mule deer, chipmunks, and a variety of tree and ground squirrels can be seen here as well.
There is private property interspersed with the public land in the South Fork area; please respect it and do not trespass.
Habitat: Aquatic, river riparian, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer
Seasons: All year. Primarily spring, summer and fall.
Location: From the traffic light in Eagar, proceed west on State Highway 260 about 5.5 miles to milepost 390.7; then turn left (south) onto the road heading into South Fork. Follow the signs to the South Fork Campground.
Access: Sunrise to sunset. Parking is at designated sites only.
Near: Eagar or Springerville
What You Might See
- Ponderosa pine birds
- Riparian birds
- Pronghorn antelope
- Mule deer
- Coues whitedailed deer
- Medium-sized mammals
- Small mammals