Woodland Lake Outer Loop

EASY 4 reviews

Woodland Lake Outer Loop is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
278 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wildlife

muddy

snow

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Considered the "shining centerpiece" of the community, Woodland Lake Park is a beautiful slice of nature in the middle of town offering several short, interconnected trails and a small lake. Because it is a city park, it also offers picnic areas, a volleyball court, playground and boat dock, but these are near the lake/parking and not near the trails, so you really feel like you are far from civilization. The park is connected to the Big Springs Environmental Study area via the Hitching Post Loop Trail.

The paved, level Lake Loop Trail circles the pond and is about 1.1 miles, and from there, one can access multiple forested and meadow trails as well as a small riparian area. The entire outer loop is about 3.9 miles, but by using a combination of the inner trails, you can find any distance that suits you. All of the trails in the Woodland Lake Park Trail System are rated easy.

My favorite area is the Walnut Creek Riparian Area. To get there, start from the Turkey Track trailhead near the boat dock. Stay on that trail for just under half a mile and enjoy the cool pines. The cut off to the Walnut Creek trail is easy to miss. There is just a small sign, "Foot Use Only on the small trail to the left. The trail narrows somewhat and is rocky in places, but just watch your step as the trail winds and descends toward the creek. This is by no means a difficult trail. Walnut Creek, which I think is fed by Walnut Spring, is sometimes not running so much as seeping and creating a colorful, botanical heaven. There are a few shallow pools at the bottom. On cool days, it's nice to linger awhile at the creek. On hot, stagnant days, watch out for mosquitoes and keep moving (but then you'd miss the dragonflies!). Continue downstream to the right of the creek for about 0.7 miles until you come to the wooden bridge.(You can catch Turkey Track trail again and take it back to the trail head if you don't cross the bridge but instead continue and then head uphill to the right.) I chose to cross the bridge (left) and take the inner Hitching Post Loop Trail, which meanders through a much thinner ponderosa pine and oak forest. There's not much shade here, so bring water and a hat. Saw a few prickly pear cacti along the way. We took a left at the beautiful Meadow View Trail to finish up our walk. All told, it was about 2.5 miles. Both Hitching Post and Meadow View Trails get muddy after rains (Summer monsoon schedule is July-August periodic afternoon thunderstorms).

There's such variety in Woodland Park, and adding in the inner trails is a good way to enjoy it.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Well maintained but slippery when muddied with summer rainstorms. Nice bird watching marsh with benches at 1/2 way point. Parking at trailhead by pier.