Willow Springs Loop Trail is a 7.9 mile loop trail located near Forest Lakes, AZ that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.
Really cool trail. About 1/3 is a recently used (first third if going counter-clockwise) but not used very often forest road, then 1/3 is that same road, but more deteriorated, and 1/3 single biking/hiking trail. Only really rocky through about 1/3 or more, and never too difficult. Great view of Willow Springs at the northernmost tip at a small rock dam. You can cross to the other side of the lake here and circle it, but the trail veers left and stays only on the East coast. You could easily pack a snack or lunch, cross over and do some fishing, then just bike back to the trailhead without even doing the loop. The only people I saw were on that side fishing, and some fishers in a boat.
There are a couple spots along the East coast of the springs where it is difficult to tell which way to go. Just look really hard at each possible way, and you will finally see one of the brown bike trail diamond signs. Going counter-clockwise down at the Southeastern tip of the Springs, if you hit 260, you went too far. You can go left and ride on 260 for 100 yards or so and turn on to the first forest road on the left, and you will immediately see the bike trail signs again. Or, you can backtrack from 260 about 100 yards, then cross a big swath of tree cuttings to get to that same forest road. Go right and up near 260 you will see the trail signs. The big area where they cut down the trees is probably where the bike trail signs that I missed, used to be.
It's basically a nice woodsy walk around Willow Springs Lake. We weren't even sure if we were on an official trail at first as you have to walk around a fence and hop over the cement side of a dam, then walk over the grassed over top of the dam before you see a sign declaring it a bike trail. I think it would be difficult hauling a bike over that part personally, but it's a nice walking trail. Nice and flat for a large part of it. We just stay on the edge of the lake and there are some nice spots for stopping for a picnic, doing a little yoga, and just enjoying the fresh pine air, beautiful lake views and birds. We didn't even come near getting all the way around. I think you would have to be a backpacker and plan on camping out (not sure if it's allowed) for that as we walked for a few hours and could still see across the lake where we parked. It does eventually get a bit less flat and even the further around you get. Ultimately, I was 5 months pregnant the last time I went here and it was not strenuous at a lax pace.