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Monday, June 29, 2015


Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Footbridge at the trailhead

For years, I have driven past this no-name dirt lot on State Route 260 halfway between Payson and Heber, never bothering to stop and find out why all the cars were parked there. Turns out, it's an access point for the 2.5-mile Sardine Trail #536 and a finger cove of Willow Springs Lake. Although it's employed mostly by fishermen; hikers and bikers also use this as an alternate trailhead. Hike or ride less than a mile east to join up with the 7.6-mile Willow Springs Bike Loop, or go 2.2 miles west to Sinkhole Campground and access to Rim Lakes area trails. Or, for a short walk, hike a few yards down to the footbridge and follow the path-of-use 0.2-mile to the lake. It's a handy spot to know about.
 From the State Route 87/260 junction in Payson, go 30.2 miles east on AZ260 to just before milepost 284 and FR148, turn left into the dirt lot marked by a "day use only" sign and a stone wall.

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