Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, McNary
By Kelly Vaughn
If you’re looking for a getaway off the beaten path, this is it. From McNary, Los Burros Campground is accessed via a gravel road that runs through White Mountain Apache Tribe land.. The road is easy to miss, so look for signs that indicate Cady/Apache County Road 3140 and Vernon. Once you’ve made the turn from McNary, the journey to the campground is simple — and downright pretty, especially if you like pine trees, ferns and a scattering of wildflowers and grasses.
After about 3.5 miles, you’ll come to a stand of aspens on each side of the road, evidence that you’ve climbed in elevation. But almost as quickly as you enter the stand, you’re out of it again. At the 5-mile mark, you’ll enter the Sitgreaves National Forest, and at 7 miles, you’ll reach the campground.
This no-fee area is characterized by beautiful meadows and the remnants of a ranger station that was built between 1909 and 1910. The fireguard who lived there rode his horse to the fire lookout each day and gathered water from Los Burros Spring, which is just east of the big red barn. Enormous ponderosa pines and aspens surround it and everything else at the 10-site campground. While Los Burros is out of the way, it’s worth every extra mile.
Campfire Tale: The White Mountain Apache Tribe is a home of the Apache trout, one of Arizona's two native trout species; the Apache trout is also the Arizona state fish. The tribe's land is also known for world-class trophy elk hunting.
PHOTO: Campsites at Los Burros Campground, north of McNary, are situated in meadows and wooded areas. | Paul Gill
Elevation: 7,900 feet
Directions: From McNary, take Vernon/Cady Road (County Road 3140) north for 7 miles to the campground.
Information: Lakeside Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, 928-368-2100 or www.fs.usda.gov/asnf
Season: May through October
Amenities: Toilets, Water