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Name: Black River Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on one vote)
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Semi-maintained dirt road)
Time: 2 - 4 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 9.6 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +53 / -1513 ft / +1460 ft (one way)
Type: Through Trail Avg Elevation: 8500 ft
Best time to go: summer, fall, spring Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: September, 2004
Short Description: A semi-maintained dirt road through some beautiful pine forests that leads to a picturesque river
Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Black River Fishy Flies; Black River Overlook; Swimming Hole Look-out
References / Contact Information: Buffalo Crossing; Arizona White Mountains History; White Mountains of Arizona
Points of interest: Nice drive through some pretty forest; fishing along the East Fork of the Black River; Buffalo Crossing Campground.
Special Considerations: This trail is usually closed in the winter and can be muddy in the rainy season.
How to get there: The trail starts near Big Lake in the White Mountains. There are many different ways to Big Lake. I usually go through Sunrise, but you can come down 261 from Eager (mostly paved, but longer). Continue on the dirt road after the Big Lake Campground turnoff. After about 3/4 of a mile, take a right on FR249E toward Indian Springs. The turnoff on FR24 is about 3/4 of a mile on the left (after Indian Springs trailhead). Click here for directions.

Trail Description

NOTE: This trail has been closed due to the Wallow Fire. Please check with Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest for more information. This trail is provided for informational purposes only. This fire was a SAD day for Arizona.

This is a nice scenic drive through some gorgeous pine forests. The trail takes you to the East Fork of the Black River. Not a huge river by other state's standards, but it's pretty. The Forest Service stocks the river with trout in the summer, so if fishing's your thing, this is a great place for you. There's also a few campgrounds in the area if you'd like to throw up a tent (or you can try some dispersed camping). This road allows you to see some of the beauty of the White Mountains.

General Information and History

The White Mountains are rich in Indian and pioneer history. The area was inhabited by ancestors of the Hopi and possibly Peublo Indians. Miners, loggers and ranches came to this area because of its pentiful natural rescources. There are many historical sites and museums in the area you can visit.

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The Trail

Note: Some topo maps have different Forest Road numbers in the area. I've attempted to call out the ones I believe are accurate, but some may not match what is on Forest Service maps, some topo maps and actual road markers. Use GPS waypoints and directions to follow the route.

The trail starts at the intersection of FR249E and FR24 (Waypoint 001). Head south on FR24. After about 1/2 a mile, you'll pass a road the lead to some Cinder Pits on the right (Waypoint 001A). Keep going straight.

Keep on FR24, past FR24B on the left (Waypoint 002) and FR8943 (Waypoint 003) on right. After 3.5 from Waypoint 001, keep straight on FR24 at the trail on the left (Waypoint 004).

At Waypoint 005, stay on FR24. FR25J heads off to the right. Some maps (including Google) have this reversed. Just keep on the main road and you'll be okay.

Keep heading down the road as it begins to come down to the East Fork of the Black River. Make your way past Waypoints 006, 007 and 008. When you reach Waypoint 009, you're at Buffalo Crossing.

I don't think you're going to see any Buffalo here, but it's a great area to camp, hike, fish or just enjoy the cool pine scented forest and babbling river.

Once you're finished, you can go back the way you came, or head out to the north on FR276, then a right on FR249 to HW 191 up to Springerville.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun and be safe!

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