Black Mesa Ranger District




Office Information 

District Ranger: Christopher James

Phone Number: Voice: (928) 535-7300                     

Address: P.O.  Box 968 Overgaard, AZ 85933 (mailing)
                2748 East AZ 260 Overgaard, AZ 85933(physical)

Office hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday to Friday excluding Federal Holidays

 Open year-round visitors will find a responsive staff available to answer questions about the area, informative literature, and gifts and souvenirs relating to the forest, history, and geology of the Rim. Many educational items are available for sale through Arizona Natural History Association, a cooperating not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting public agencies with interpretation and educational programs and promoting general respect for the public lands in the Southwest.

Current Conditions

Fire restrictions on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests have been lifted as of Tuesday, July 08, 2014. Visitors are allowed to build and maintain a supervised campfire on the Black Mesa Ranger District. Visitors who choose to build a campfire are required to remain with the fire as long as it is active. Please keep campfires small and confined to existing fire rings. Be sure to clear all flammable material from the area around the fire ring, avoid building a fire under overhanging branches, and stack extra fuelwood away from the fire. Before building a fire, be sure you have enough water on hand to extinguish it. The average campfire requires approximately 5 gallons of water to properly extinguish. Even with the arrival of the monsoons, Arizona’s forests are inherently dry, and a wildfire can occur at any time of the year. Over 90 percent of wildfires are started by a careless human act.

A wide variety of dispersed camping opportunities are available across the district. No water or developed facilities are available in dispersed areas and campers are reminded the Apache-Sitgreaves is a ‘Pack-it-In, Pack-it-Out’ forest. We ask that visitors be considerate of others by maintaining a clean campsite during their stay and removing all evidence of their visit when departing. Leaving trash in the forest is illegal, unsightly, and can be deadly to wildlife.

For further information on forest conditions, call the Black Mesa Ranger District to inquire about road conditions. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is a source for road information across the state and their web address is

Closures in effect on the Black Mesa Ranger District

  • All developed (fee for use) campgrounds located on the Black Mesa Ranger District are now closed for the season. They will reopen on May 1, 2015. 
  • Woods Canyon Lake Store is now closed for the season. It will reopen as soon as the area is accessible in the spring of 2015.
  • Forest Road 171 between the Mogollon Rim Visitor's Center is currently closed due to the Fulton Timber Project. This closure includes the Al Fulton Picnic area and the 171 designated dispersed camping area. 
  • The Mogollon Rim Visitor's Center and parking lot is closed for the season, as well as the vault toilet located at the Visitor's Center at Milepost 282 on AZ Highway 260.
  • The General Crook Trail and all connecting and adjacent trails between the Mogollon Rim Visitor's Center and the Young Road are closed due to the Fulton Timber Project.
  • Forest Road 9512E is subject to closure due to the Fulton Timber Project. 
  • Willow Springs Lake access will be periodically closed beginning November 2014 due to the Sinkhole Timber Project. Forest Roads 148 (access to Sardine Point) and Forest Road 149 (paved access to Willow Springs Boat Launch, Day Use Area, and Sinkhole Campground) will be closed when active logging is occurring in the immediate area.


Area Description

 The Black Mesa Ranger District extends from Leonard Canyon, south of Winslow east to the communities of Clay Springs and Pinedale. The entire southern boundary of the district is defined by The Mogollon Rim, the southern edge of the great Colorado Plateau. This massive escarpment, created by a fault line, presents a nearly vertical drop as much as 2,000 feet to the forested hills and desert below. Many vantage points along The Rim offer remarkable viewing opportunities of the mountains and valleys to the south. The dramatic rise of the Mogollon Rim produces a sudden uplift to approaching storms resulting in a high incidence of lightning strikes during the summer, creating an active fire season from May to July.

Black Mesa’s elevations range from 4,500 feet in the northern Pinyon-juniper forests to 8,500 feet along the edge of The Rim where a dense mixed conifer forest thrives. The district encompasses approximately 616,000 acres of timber and has within its boundaries five high elevation lakes, numerous scenic canyons, 8 campgrounds offering about 400 campsites, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, OHV trails, non-motorized areas, several small communities and many developed inholdings.  The District hosts thousands of visitors year-round from the Phoenix metropolitan area, which is within 2 and 1/2 hours travel time.

The Black Mesa Ranger District is home to a variety of wildlife species, including several threatened, endangered, and sensitive species including The Mexican Spotted Owl, Northern Goshawk, American Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Little Colorado Spinedace, and Bebb’s Willow.  Wild game species include Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Javelina, mountain lion, Black Bear, and Wild Turkey.  The five lakes that dot The Rim are regularly stocked by Arizona Game and Fish and offer superb trout fishing opportunities throughout the warmer months.

Attractions and Events

The Black Mesa District has within its boundaries five high elevation lakes, numerous scenic canyons, and several campgrounds offering about 400 campsites. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. 

Fuelwood cutting information

The 2014 Summer/Fall Fuelwood season will end at midnight, December 31, 2014. All current permits will expire at that time. Please call the Black Mesa Ranger District for more information.


Campground Host Opportunities

There are opportunities for Dispersed Campground Hosts on The Black Mesa Ranger District for the 2015 season. If you are interested in being a host for the 2015 season, please contact the Black Mesa Ranger District at (928)535-7300