Railroad Grade Trail #601

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The entire trail follows an historic railroad route offering gentle trail grades and beautiful scenery. Click here for a map.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open , with advisory TRAIL NOT CLEARED OF HAZARDS, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Usage: Light
Best Season: May - October
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet (1)
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Springerville Ranger District
(928) 333-6200
TTY: (928) 333-5397

General Information

Directions: From the Eagar stoplight, travel west on AZ Highway 260 for 15.7 miles. The trailhead is on the left.
General Notes:

This trail was reconstructed in partnership with Apache County and was funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Parking: Accommodates Trailers

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Day Hiking


The entire trail follows an historic railroad route offering gentle trail grades and beautiful scenery. Formerly the railroad hauled logs from various parts of the Apache National Forest and the White Mountain Apache Reservation and later hauled tourists from McNary on a tour of the White Mountains. It has been unused for 3 decades.

A unique feature of this trail is the trestle bridge that is 80 feet in length and is similar to the bridges used by the railroad at the turn of the century. It was reconstructed in 1998. The trail also features trailheads at 4 locations so that users have the option to enjoy the entire trail or portions thereof. Each of the trailheads has a toilet and a parking capacity for at least 10 vehicles. These trailheads are located at Railroad Cove at Big Lake, Lightning Ridge, Sheep Crossing, and Big Cienega.

Trail Log:

  • 0.0 Railroad Cove Trailhead
  • 3.5 Junction with Lightning Ridge Trailhead
  • 13.0 Junction with Sheep Crossing Trailhead and Mount Baldy Wilderness Trailhead 15.5 Trestle bridge
  • 21.0 Big Cienega Trailhead

USGS Maps: Big Lake North - 280NW

Elevation desc8,950 feet to 9,350 feet
Best Season: May - October
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding & Camping

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  Elevation : 
8,950 feet - 9,350 feet