Connect with nature and the past in the small town of Springerville, Arizona. Known as the “Gateway to the White Mountains,” Springerville truly is a gateway, allowing visitors to explore the town’s history, Pueblo history, and even dinosaur history. Springerville is also conveniently located in the middle of Arizona’s beautiful scenery readily available for hiking, nature-watching, and camping alike. For the history-buff or outdoorsy adventurer, Springerville is here for you.
1. Casa Malpais Archaeological Park
Earlier this week, Lynette Cross, our museum curator at Casa Malpais, invited myself and a few other Casa tour guides,...Posted by Casa Malpais Archaeological Park and Museum on Thursday, 28 January 2016
At the forefront of Arizona’s archaeological sites, and the most well-known feature of Springerville, is Casa Malpais Archaeological Park. Located in the Arizona White Mountains, the site is the historic home of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples, where visitors today are able to not only stand where the first Americans stood, but also visit the Casa Malpais Museum and view the Pueblo’s art and tools. As a guest, you’ll meet at the Casa Malpais Museum where you can view artifacts from the site, and before heading to the site, watch a video presentation given by Hopi and Zuni elders. The tour of the Casa Malpais site is guided, but keep in mind that it is also a hike, separate from the visitor center and museum. Weather permitting, you’ll be taken from the museum to a drop-off point, approximately ¾ of a mile (1.2 kilometers) from the Casa Malpais archaeological site. The hike itself goes up an elevation of 150ft (45 meters) with steep and rocky portions, so it is advised you bring a pair of hiking shoes and a water bottle.
At the site, you’ll visit the Great Kiva, which was built out of the volcanic rock that flowed throughout the valley. Rock art from the Mogollon culture lines the surrounding area, giving visitors a glimpse into the past and perhaps a connection to a creative ancestor. You’ll see an ancient astronomical calendar, thats north wall has a gap pointing true north. To assist the modern viewer, part of the structure has been re-stacked, allowing us to estimate that the calendar was around 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall when in use. Your guide will show you all this, and much more, while telling you all about the Kiva’s use, history, and importance to Pueblo heritage.
Website: Casa Malpais Archaeological Park
2. Springerville Heritage Center
Also in town, at the Springerville Heritage Center, you can learn indoors about the town from different museums located in the Town of Springerville Complex. They include: The Renee Cushman Museum, the Becker Family History Museum, and of course, Casa. Most recently, an Art Gallery was added in the expanded Heritage Center, displaying local artists’ work, and complimenting the Renee Cushman Museum.
At the Renee Cushman Museum, you’ll view a lifetime’s collection of European artwork painstakingly curated by a woman who loved Springerville and its inhabitants, Renee Cushman. Similarly, you can look into the past in the Becker Family History Museum, which tells about one of the first families to settle in Springerville. The family’s influence was felt economically and politically, as they went on to help shape the town into what it is today.
Website: Springerville Heritage Center
3. White Mountain Dinosaur Exploration Center
Want to go further back in time? Check out the White Mountain Dinosaur Exploration Center. Headed by Christopher and Hazel Wolfe, renowned paleontologists, the White Mountain Dinosaur Exploration Center is a place you can learn about local dinosaurs and discover new worlds of geology and paleontology. Founded to give opportunity to citizens to help with scientific discovery, White Mountain Dinosaur Exploration Center is designed with different tours for every individual’s needs. These include low-impact day tours (appropriate for all ages and skill levels), custom adventures that include glamping and backcountry backpacking, and expeditions that will take you on an adventure alongside professional researchers. Perhaps you will even witness the discovery of a new species of dinosaur!
4. Becker Lake
We are post Labor Day and the crowds are gone. Fishing is good and will get better as we approach fall. It's time to hit the water.Posted by Cinda Howard on Friday, 9 September 2016
Thank you Gracie Becker for sharing. Monica Lee, Monique StoyerPosted by Shelley Cox on Thursday, 5 May 2016
For those that just want to relax, you can fish at Becker Lake, a manmade lake home to trophy rainbow trout. Multiple species of wildlife have been seen at this lake, including bald eagles, white-faced ibis, and killdeer. For a half-mile (.8 km), you can hike up River Walk Trail which goes along the Little Colorado River, where mule deer and beaver are readily found. Adding to the selection, Gunnison’s prairie dog, coyote and a variety of ground squirrels and chipmunks call Becker Lake their home, making the whole environment a lookout point for any nature enthusiast.
While camping is not permitted, boating is allowed (within certain parameters) as well as other hiking trails, helping you to not only spot different species of plants and animals but also disconnect from the regular hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Website: Becker Lake
5. X Diamond Ranch
Horseback riding at the X Diamond Ranch headquarters along the Little Colorado RiverPosted by X Diamond Ranch on Monday, 5 March 2012
Finally, while in Springerville, consider popping over to X Diamond Ranch and take a tour of Arizona’s wilderness—on horseback! Whether you’re a beginner who has never even seen a horse in real life or a seasoned professional just looking for a place to ride, X Diamond Ranch has you covered. The staff are dedicated to giving you a real, fun adventure, whether you choose to trot along the top of the canyon and gaze into the abyss or climb a mountain for a high look-out point.
Each ride has a little spontaneity, assuring customers they’re not just another number and allowing you to better bond with a horse and rider. Upon your arrival, you can decide how long you want to ride and the staff will provide you with a sack lunch to enjoy during the excursion. Out on the trail, you’ll learn more about the history of the ranch and surrounding area.
Spoilers: the owners are all descendants of pioneer ranching families. Cattle work is also available, with reservation, for those that truly want to connect with Arizona’s farming history, and if you have your own horse, stables are available for your four-legged companion. While X Diamond Ranch offers cabins for overnight stays, you don’t have to book a room to participate in the activities being held. Beyond horseback riding and tours, fishing is also available daily.
Website: X Diamond Ranch
Springerville, the ideal Arizona small townSpringerville offers its visitors an array of activities to connect to both nature and history. Pick from multiple museums to learn about Arizona, explore the land through Archeology and Paleontology, trope around the land on horseback or on foot, or just sit back and fish—Springerville has it all.
Get Trip101 in your inbox