The Country Club trail in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, is a favorite hike in the White Mountain TRAX system. The 3.2-mile loop trail is great for all skill levels and is rated as easy. This is probably our favorite trail in the Pinetop-Lakeside area. We consider it one of the best trails because of it’s proximity to town, and it’s a reasonable length. Most hikers can finish this trail in about an hour. Horse riding and mountain biking are also allowed on the trail, so be aware of sharing the trail, especially in the summer months. During our hikes, we’ve seen smaller wildlife like birds and squirrels.
Country Club Trail Details
What makes the Country Club Trail such a great trail? Its diverse terrain. Starting from the trailhead going counter-clockwise, you begin in a ponderosa pine forest trail. Just after the Chipmunk Springs connector trail, you feel like you’ve entered a bit of a meadow. It’s common to see cattle grazing on the field grasses.
Trail map overview image from The Hiking Project:
As you pass through one of the forest service gates in the meadow at about 2 miles into your journey, you’re about to hit the most challenging part of the trail. At approximately two ¼ miles, you’ll run into the steepest ascent on the trail. I consider it a nice steady climb, and should get your blood pumping a little!
Then as you hiked up to and passed the Pat Mullen Moutain Spur trail, you start to feel like you’re descending a mountain trail.
Who can use the Country Club trail?
Hikers – Yes!
Kids – Yes!
Horseback riding – Yes!
Mountain biking – Yes!
Pets – Yes! Dogs should be on a leash.
It’s a loop trail, which way should we go?
We’ve gone both directions but prefer to go counter-clockwise or right from the trailhead parking. Going this direction gives you the only decent climb in elevation about 2/3rds through the hike. It’s not that hard but should get your blood pumping.
When is the Country Club Trail the busiest?
The summer months are the busiest on the trails in Pinetop-Lakeside. This is due to the influx of visitors from the flatlands of Phoenix and Tucson. On a recent visit in May 2020, we hiked the Country Club Trail before 7 a.m. on weekdays and saw one other person each day we walked.
Is the Country Club Trail good for dogs?
Yes! Just keep your dog on a leash and have fun!
Will the Country Club Trail be good for my kids?
Yes, any child over the age of 6 or 7 will love this trail!
Getting There / Directions
From Arizona State Highway 260, turn to head east on Buck Springs Road.
Drive .6 miles and turn left on Sky Hi Retreat Rd (Forest Rd 182 / Tomahawk Rd).
Drive approximately 2 miles – note you will be passing the Springs Trailhead on the left-hand side of the road.
Turn right on Forest Rd 187, which is also the entrance to Sierra Springs.
As you turn in, the trailhead parking is ahead on the right.
There is ample parking at the trailhead.