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

Uncommon precipitation and higher than normal humidity levels have combined to keep fire danger in check and have allowed us to avoid fire restrictions on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Although the forest did not enter into fire restrictions this summer it is imperative visitors act responsibly when dealing with fire. Visitors are allowed to build and maintain a supervised campfire on the forest. 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.

Conditions are subject to change without notice. This website may not be fully up-to-date. For further information on forest conditions and current fire restrictions, 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

Closures in effect on the Black Mesa Ranger District

  • Black Canyon Lake day use area, including the parking lot, restrooms, and boat ramp area, is closed while Arizona Game and Fish work on a facilities improvement project. This closure is expected to last until spring of 2016.
  • Bear Canyon Lake, Forest Road 89 and 89A is currently closed due to the Bear Timber Project. This closure is expected to last through Fall 2015. Forest Road 89 dispersed camping area is closed as well as lake access off of Forest Road 89A while timber crews are active in the area. (updated September, 2015)
  • Forest Road 171 between the Mogollon Rim Visitor's Center is  closed for the 2015 season due to the Fulton Timber Project. This closure includes the Al Fulton Picnic area and 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.
  • Forest Road 9512E is closed for the 2015 season due to the Fulton Timber Project. 
  • Willow Springs Lake access may be periodically closed beginning November 2014 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

The 2015 Summer/Fall fuelwood season began Monday, July 13, 2015.  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 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.