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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SIPE WHITE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE AREA


SIPE WHITE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE AREA
View from the High Point Trail

After barely escaping the ravages of the 2011 Wallow Fire, Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area lives on as a family-friendly nature discovery destination.  Just over 5 miles of groomed hiking trails take visitors through the property's diverse landscape of wetlands, high-elevation pinion-juniper woodlands and rolling grasslands. A good way to get an overview of area’s conservation efforts is to hike the 1-mile High Point Trail, which loops up to the site's zenith.  Here, a 20x spotting scope provides enhanced vision for critter peeping and gasping at the hulking dome of 10,912-foot Escudilla Mountain.  In addition to its animal-haven benefits and "selfie"-worthy viewpoints, the site is also home to Rudd Creek Pueblo, an abandoned 13th-century village. Archeological digs have uncovered a plethora of artifacts and tantalizing insight to the culture and technologies of the ancestral Pueblo people who lived here for nearly 75 years. Interpretive signs along the route explain some of the research and samples of intricately painted pottery and hunting tools found at the pueblo are on display in the visitor center.  Sadly, the preserve’s Old Nelson Homestead succumbed to the fire, but the meadow-swaddled trail leading to the charred foundation is open for exploration.

Escudilla Mountain on the horizon

LENGTH:
High Point Trail: 1-mile loop (moderate)
Rudd Creek Loop: 3 miles (easy)
Homestead Trail: 1.5 miles (easy)
Trinity Trail: 300 yards (barrier-free)
ELEVATION: 7625’ – 7836’


GETTING THERE:
From Eagar, travel 2 miles south on US191/180 to the signed turn off on the right at milepost 405.  Follow the maintained dirt access road five miles to the parking area.  The road is sedan-friendly, however there is one section that floods during period of heavy rain. The property has a visitor center with restrooms, water, picnic tables, educational displays and friendly site hosts. The center is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from mid-May through mid-October.  In-season hunting is allowed on the property. No fees.

INFO: Arizona Game & Fish Department,

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