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Your guide to Pinetop-Lakeside
People have been drawn to the sister cities of Pinetop and Lakeside, Arizona, since the 1880s, when Mormon pioneers first settled in the area. A century later the two communities officially merged as Pinetop-Lakeside, a popular getaway destination known for its abundance of outdoor activities. The cities are nestled at the foot of the White Mountains, where they border the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Pinetop-Lakeside is a popular spot for the vacation homes of desert-dwelling Arizonians, yet there are plenty of lakeside cabins up for grabs for tourists. True to its namesake, the area is surrounded by thick pine forests and 50-odd alpine lakes, perfect for the unbeatable combination of waterfront recreation and fresh mountain air.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Pinetop-Lakeside?
Pinetop-Lakeside uniquely experiences all four seasons thanks to a Mediterranean dry-summer subtropical climate. During the summer months, there’s plenty of sunshine, and temperatures are comfortably hot — typically in the high 70s and low 80s Fahrenheit during the day and dropping to the mid-50s at night. From fall through winter, temperatures steadily begin to drop, often falling below freezing at night, and the area sees increasing clouds. By November, Pinetop-Lakeside is primed for its snowy season, which typically brings 8–10 inches each month through spring. Still, temperatures are tolerable during winter days, averaging in the 40s and 50s.
What are the top things to do in Pinetop-Lakeside?
Woodland Lake Park
Equidistant from the communities of Pinetop and Lakeside is this pretty little park, where a horseshoe-shaped route circles a reservoir. The area is also pet-friendly, with playgrounds and volleyball courts as well as the requisite features of this lake community: a fishing pier and a boat launch.
Ice Cave Trail
Among the more than two dozen trails in the White Mountain Trail System, Ice Cave Trail (#608) is popular for hiking due to its relatively easy trek and pretty views criss-crossing Porter Creek. The main attraction is a lava tube about midway into this 7-mile loop, and the trailhead is only a 10-minute drive north of town.
Fort Apache Historic Park and Kinishba Ruins
For a change of scenery, plan a visit to Fort Apache, an easy 45-minute drive from town and home to an incredible collection of buildings and ruins dating to pre-Columbian Mogollon culture, which flourished in the 13th through 15th centuries AD. Located in the Fort Apache reservation, Kinishba Ruins are a National Historic Landmark comprising more than 400 rooms standing two and three stories high.