Summary: This trail takes you to the summit of Escudilla Mountain, a huge ancient volcano and the third highest mountain in Arizona. The trail starts out from Terry Flat at 9600 feet and climbs 1276 feet to a 45 ft tall lookout tower in just over three miles - the 10,912 foot summit lies a half mile to the north and is 36 feet higher, but trees there completely block the views. Along the way to the summit you will pass through Aspen forests, open grassy meadows, and old growth stands of fir and Englemann spruce. At the summit the view is spectacular, especially if seen from the cab of the lookout tower. Escudilla Mountains trail is such an outstanding trail that it has been given the status of a National Recreational Trail by Congress.
Trailhead: From Alpine, follow US 191 north approximately 5.5 miles. On the right hand side of the road, between Mileposts 420 and 421, is a Forest Service sign marking FS Road 56. Follow FS 56 east for about 5 miles to the parking lot and trailhead for Escudilla Mountain Trail #308. (Lat:33.93333 Lon:-109.11667)
Trail Guides for Escudilla Mountain Trail #308:
by Bruce Grubbs and Stewart Aitchision (The Globe Pequot Press)
Exploring Arizonas Wild Areas
by Scott S. Warren (The Mountaineers)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: USDA Forest Service, Alpine Ranger District 520.339.4384
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Rob Brinkerhoff, who has posted 33 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by possum on 11/7/2011
Back in Sept. '95, I had a lovely morning with a lovely woman on this fine trail, just as the aspens were starting to turn. Had the mountain to ourselves, save for some llama packers. The aspens themselves were the product of a wildfire decades earlier, but the Wallow fire broke my heart.
Reviewed by CB on 7/3/2011
Have been up this trail numerous times. Used to be such an awesome place, too bad we will never see it again thanks to careless campers not putting out their fires...
Reviewed by Susan on 3/16/2011
In the 1990's I often car camped here, coming overnight from my solar cabin near Show Low, to the West. I'd bring picnics and snacks. One time, I'd camp on the west edge of pines on a ledge overlooking the middle of the old volcano. The next time I'd camp on the eastern edge, where the elk trail came up from the pines and junipers, below. Both places yielded lots of elk. The hike to the lookout was for birds and native plants. The following morning, I'd complete the circle drive around the old volcano rim and go home. Lovely times, lovely memories! Now I cam in the Blue Ridge Mts., NC.
Reviewed by sjs on 5/18/2006
Some woman left a pretty vulgar comment in the trail register--a careless, irresponsible act. The aspen groves and meadows were wonderful. We (from Southern California)were there a week prior to the seasonal opening of the lookout tower. Had we adequately queried the ranger station staff, we would have learned where the true summit is, and so missed "bagging" it. Also, for some reason we were led to believe that Escudilla is the 2nd highest in AZ, which we only later learned is incorrect. A wonderful hike!
Reviewed by mer on 10/7/2005
Hiked this trail oct '04. Trees were spectacular. Timing important for seeing leaves. Trail covered with yellow aspen and vistas gorgeous. Add to your trails to hike. Hope we'll be this lucky this year. Short hike, but 1276' grade in 3.1 mi.
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Keys: Arizona Hiking, Arizona Trails, Arizona Hikes, Apache County Hiking, Apache County Trails, Apache County Hikes