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

Current Conditions

Winter is quickly melting away and the Rim Lakes are thawing.  As of Thursday, April 7, 2016 THE RIM IS OPEN! All roads in the Rim Lakes Recreation Area are open; however, not all areas are fully accessible. Snow lingers on north facing slopes and some roads remain impassible. Please do not attempt to drive through or around large snow-drifts and be alert for fallen trees that may be across roads. While all major roads in the Rim Lakes Area have been cleared of downed trees, crews are still clearing trees on the minor roads.  All developed (fee) campgrounds will remain closed for a few more weeks as we gear up for the summer season.

When planning to visit the forest in early spring be prepared for snow or mud and carry extra clothing, food, blankets, and a cell phone. Let others know where you plan to travel and when you expect to be home. If you must travel on forest roads, four-wheel-drive is always recommended. For information on forest road conditions, call the Black Mesa Ranger District.  The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is a source for road information across the state and their web address is

 website may not be fully up-to-date


Closures in effect on the Black Mesa Ranger District

  • All Developed Campgrounds are closed for the winter and are scheduled to reopen April 29, 2016
  • Forest Road 171 between the Al Fulton Picnic Area and the Young Road is closed due to the Fulton Timber Project. This closure includes the 171 designated dispersed camping area. 
  • 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.
  • Willow Springs Lake access may be periodically closed until Fall 2017 due to the Sinkhole Timber Project. Forest Roads 148 (access to Sardine Point) may 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 more than 400 campsites. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. 

Fuelwood cutting information

Fuelwood permits are available for purchase from the Black Mesa Ranger District for the Winter 2016 season. Limited species and cutting areas are available.  Please call the Black Mesa Ranger District for more information or click here.


Campground Host Opportunities

There are opportunities for Dispersed Campground Hosts on The Black Mesa Ranger District for the 2016 season. Generally hosts are asked to be available for the entire recreation season from Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you are interested in being a host for the 2016 season, please contact Jeremiah Muzzy at the Black Mesa Ranger District at (928)535-7300.