White Mountains Online

White Mountain TrailSystem
Horseback Riding Tips


Arizona's White Mountains

Horseback riding, once a traditional mode of travel through backcountry terrain, has now become a recreational pastime for many people.

Any group of 75 or more need to apply for and receive in advance a group use permit. The permit is free to non-commercial groups. The permit system helps the Forest determine recreation use and locate groups in case of a fire emergency. All groups must provide their own toilet facilities.

Groups less than 75 should contact the District office and give the following information:

  • Name of the group
  • Area in which the group intends to ride
  • Number of people and horses in the group
  • Inquire as to special conditions of the intended riding area.

Local outfitters are available for groups that might desire special services for extended rides, or overnight camping and cookouts.

To encourage the implementation of proper horse handling, some horse use etiquette tips are included as follows:

  • Riding on trails and not short cutting will reduce erosion problems and unwanted paralleling of trails.
  • Refrain from riding in wet conditions or on muddy trails as the weight of the horses badly damages the trail.
  • Select camping areas off main trails to prevent overuse of an area and reduce congestion with stock and people.
  • Hay and grain for horses must be provided by each rider in order that no infringement be made on grazing rights of local cattle grazing permittees or wildlife.
  • Camping spots should be located a minimum of 200 yards from water sources to help prevent water contamination and allow for cattle and wildlife to come in for water.
  • When confining horses, do not tie them to live trees for extended periods of time. Us a pole or rope hitch rail and select a site where horses cannot trample tree roots or plants. Rocky ground is best.
  • Before breaking camp, be sure you have left your campsite in better condition than you found it. The Pack-it-in/Pack-it-out rule applies.
For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside Ranger District at 520.368.5111 or you may write us at 2022 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona 85935

Be sure to check with the Lakeside Ranger Station for current information on trail conditions!
White Mountains Online wishes to express our appreciation to the USDA Forest Service, Lakeside District for providing this information!