WS Lake Trail - # 54

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

The WS Lake Trail (# 54) is 8.8 miles long. It begins at Jct Trail # 43 and ends at Bear Spring.

The trail is open for hiking and horse use, but like all Wilderness and Primitive Area trails, all types of motorized and mechanized travel are prohibited.

Notes:
This trail should not be confused with the WS Mountain Trail #43, located primarily within the neighboring Blue Range Wilderness Area in New Mexico. This trail is still #43, but is called the Franz Spring Trail from the New Mexico border to its terminus at WS Lake.

Bear Spring is the only reliable water source along this trail.

Water is available for stock at WS Lake except during dry periods

Access: this trail is only accessible via other backcountry trails.

Attractions: Over eleven miles of great views in a remote setting characterize this high country trail. WS Lake Trail branches off the Franz Spring Trail and serves as a connector between a number of other trails in the remote eastern reaches of the Blue Range Mountains. It also serves as the main access route to the summit of Bear Mountain and the lookout tower located there. There is on road or trailhead access directly to this trial.

      Much of the route of the WS Lake Trail winds along the edge of the Mogollon Rim(pronounced: muggy-own), a 1,000 to 2,000 foot escarpment that cuts across three quarters of Northern Arizona, as well as part of western New Mexico. This high escarpment offers expansive overlooks to the south, climaxing in a 360-degree panorama at the 8,550 foot summit of Bear Mountain.
       Most of the trail is rated as moderate, although the climb to the top of Bear Mountain is a steep one, with a mile of switchbacks and 750 feet of elevation gain. The view is well worth the climb and there are plenty of places along the way to rest and enjoy it.
       Another interesting aspect to this trail is that it is one of the few in the eastern reaches of the Blue where you’ll see aspen trees and mixed conifers. Mostly, however, it passes through habitat more typical of this drier half of the Blue Range Mountains, with ponderosa pines and Gambel oaks serving as the predominant trailside tree species. Beyond the summit of Bear Mountain the trail leads through a high desert area of pinyon-juniper and scrub oak woodlands interspersed with cactus and yucca to Bear Spring. This reliable water source was developed for use by the Bear Mountain lookout, but the tower is no longer in use for fire monitoring activities. It marks the end of the trail, 3 miles beyond the summit of Bear Mountain. Bear Spring is the only reliable water source along the entire WS Lake Trail. WS Lake itself is actually a small stock tank located in the middle of a 5-acre dry lakebed. It offers seasonal water for riding animals and livestock.

Trail Log:

0.0          Junction with Franz Spring Trail at WS Lake.

1.0     High point of the trail, atop WS Mountain.

1.8     Good views to the southwest.

2.8     Junction with Cow Flat Trail #55.

3.3     High point on Fire Ridge.

5.3     Intersection with Bear Valley Trail #41.

5.6     Intersection with Largo Trail #39

6.2     Intersection with Sawmill Trail #39.

6.5     Intersection with side trail to Bear Mountain lookout.

7.9     Switchbacks descend into Bear Canyon.

8.9     Trail terminus at Bear Springs.

At a Glance

Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: April - November
Restrictions:   No mechanized vehicles (including mountain bikes) are permitted in the Blue Range Primitive Area.
Closest Towns: Alpine, AZ
Water: Only reliable source is at Bear Springs, the terminus of the trail.
Information Center: Alpine Ranger Distict - (928) 339-5000

General Information

Directions:

 

Access: this trail is only accessible via other backcountry trails.

Backcountry Access: The eastern terminus of the WS Lake Trail is located at it’s junction with the Franz Spring Trail #43 and the Bonanza Bill Trail #23 Near WS Lake. Other trails that provide access to this trail are the Largo Trail #51, the Little Blue Trail #41, the Sawmill Trail #39, and the Cow Flat Trail #55. For further information please see the guides for these trails.


General Notes:

 

This trail should not be confused with the WS Mountain Trail #43, located primarily within the neighboring Blue Range Wilderness Area in New Mexico. This trail is still #43, but is called the Franz Spring Trail from the New Mexico border to its terminus at WS Lake. 


Activities


Hiking

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Horse Riding

Areas & Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
8.9 miles

  Elevation : 
7,460 - 8,500

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/asnf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=45209&actid=104