If you’re looking for a nice, long hike with beautiful scenery on the Mogollon Rim, set foot on the trail from Willow Springs Trailhead near the Sinkhole Campground. Even though there’s no significant elevation gain, the view at the endpoint might take your breath away.
Willow Springs Trail is nice and flat, but it’s also a long one. It takes you through a forest of ponderosa pines and aspen trees that are working hard to fill in acres of land that suffered damage from a wildfire some time ago.
Of course, you can cut the hike short and turn around anytime you’d like, but the distance to take in the prized view of Chevelon Canyon is about 8 miles, round trip.
Views like these are the reward for your efforts
- Length: 4 miles one way, 8 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Moderate due to length and rocky terrain; the trail is very flat
- Highlights: Spectacular views of Chevelon Canyon after you traverse a ponderosa pine forest with aspens and unexpected pools of water
- Precautions: Rocky surface calls for sturdy shoes, 7500-foot elevation means limited oxygen
- Trailhead: Willow Springs (adjacent to Sinkhole Campground)
- Pass/permit required: None
Note: 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers
Video: What you’ll experience on this hike
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Pro tip: Don’t get lost
At first glance, this trail seems pretty hard to get lost on. For the most part, it’s a very easy-to-follow trail with few directional choices to make. The first eight-tenths of a mile is a mild, packed-dirt single track. It’s where the trail merges with Road 235 Trail that you might have trouble deciding where to go. On the way out, you’ll hang a right onto a trail made by foresters’ vehicles.
On the way back to the trailhead be very careful to not pass the turnoff pointed out below. It comes at about mile 7 of the 8-mile round-trip hike.