Black Mesa Ranger District


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.

The forest is open for camping but many facilities are closed due to lack of access to cleaning supplies and proper PPE.  Visitors are reminded that the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is a pack-it-in / pack-it-out forest. Help us keep the forest open to visitors and reduce the risk to others during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Keep a clean campsite, respect the space of others, and take home all you bring in.

Never blindly trust directions given by a GPS - always double check road conditions along your route BEFORE traveling.

Website may not be fully up-to-date. Always call ahead for current conditions.


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, 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

Black Mesa Winter/Spring fuelwood permits available until April 15, 2020. Click Here for permit information.

Summer/Fall personal fuelwood permits will be available after the monsoons arrive. Please call the Black Mesa Ranger District for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for recreation and visitor services volunteers on the Black Mesa Ranger District.  Generally, volunteers are asked to be available for the entire recreation season from Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you are interested in being a volunteer for the 2020 season, please contact the Black Mesa Ranger District at (928)535-7300.

Office Information

District Ranger: Richard Madril

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


Key Contacts

  • Alpine Ranger District
    (928) 339-5000
  • Black Mesa Ranger District
    (928) 535-7300
  • Clifton Ranger District
    (928) 687-8600
  • Lakeside Ranger District 
    (928) 368-2100 
  • Springerville Ranger District
    (928) 333-6200