Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area
Sipe White Mountain wildlife area (SWMWA) offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, hunting, and hiking. Four hiking trails provide foot access through a variety of habitat types. There is also a visitor center and a day-use picnic area. Several wildlife viewing points are located on the trails, including one with a spotting scope on the High Point Trail overlook. Habitats include several reservoirs, a stream, wetlands, irrigated meadows and pastures, upland grasslands, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. SWMWA is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open mid-May through early October; hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking available at designated sites only.
Camping: SWMWA is closed to public camping.
Hunting: Located in Game Management Unit 1. SWMWA is open to all hunting in season as permitted under policies R12-4-304 and R12-4-318. Posted portions around Department housing is closed to the discharge of all firearms.
Hiking: Four hiking trails of easy to moderate difficulty, each with interpretive signs. Trailheads for 3 of the 4 trails are adjacent to the parking areas.
- Trinity Trail: 350 yards, universally accessible, leads to a wildlife-viewing point adjacent to Trinity Reservoir
- High Point Loop Trail: 1 mile, moderate difficulty, viewing points with benches, spotting scope for observing large mammals in the meadows below
- Rudd Creek Loop Trail: 3 miles, mostly flat terrain, several wildlife viewing points and benches
- Homestead Trail: 1.5 mile spur trail (3 total) over flat terrain to the Nelson cabin homestead, which sustained substantial damage in the Wallow Fire
- No open fires
- No firewood cutting or gathering
- Motorized vehicle travel permitted on designated roads or areas only, except as permitted under R12-4-110(H). This subsection does not apply to Department authorized vehicles or law enforcement, fire response, or other emergency vehicles.
Wildlife observed in the area
Amphibians and Reptiles: Arizona tree frog, western chorus frog, and tiger salamander. Prairie rattlesnake, Arizona black rattlesnake, terrestrial garter snake, gopher snake, greater short-horned lizard, eastern collared lizard, many-lined skink.
Birds: The best birding location at Sipe is along Rudd Creek and in the orchard and tall trees around the visitor center. Songbirds include mountain and western bluebirds, spotted towhee, as well as northern flicker, western wood-peewee, Say’s phoebe, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, Virginia’s warbler, black-headed grosbeak, and Bullock’s oriole. Waterbirds include northern pintail, cinnamon teal, green winged teal, redhead, bufflehead, common merganser, mallard, American coot, American wigeon, gadwall, Canada goose, white-faced ibis, great blue heron, and pied-billed and eared grebes. Merriam’s turkey, Montezuma quail and band-tailed pigeon can also be found in the area. Rufous, broad-tailed, and calliope hummingbirds are common in July and August. The visitor center has hummingbird feeders, and numerous hummingbirds can be seen at close range.
Mammals: The grasslands feature abundant elk and pronghorn, along with mule deer and coyote. Small mammals include porcupine, badger, Abert’s squirrel, golden-mantled and thirteen-lined ground squirrel, long-tailed weasel, cliff chipmunk, and striped skunk. Bat species include the cave myotis, long-eared myotis, long-legged myotis, occult little brown bat, Allen’s lappet browed bat, silver haired bat, and hoary bat.
Fish: Three species of native fish (Little Colorado spinedace, Little Colorado sucker, and speckled dace) occur within Rudd Creek, which flows through the SWMWA.
Plants and Vegetation
The SWMWA encompasses a broad area with several habitats, including riparian zones along Rudd Creek, wet meadows, cultivated fields, meadows, juniper grasslands, pinyon and juniper covered hills, and Ponderosa pine forest. The riparian vegetation along Rudd Creek includes willow, alder, cattail, Common Reed, skunkbush, wild rose, fleabane, Rocky Mountain iris, and various grasses and annuals. The meadow/fields support dense growth of various grasses. The juniper savannah is characterized by open expanses of short grasses, with dispersed globe mallow, big sagebrush, Mormon tea, snakeweed, wolfberry, various annual wildflowers, and occasional one-seed juniper trees. The hills support relatively dense growths of pinyon-juniper woodland. The north facing slopes of the highest hills support mixed stands of Ponderosa pine, pinyon, and juniper. The 2011 Wallow Fire impacted significant portions of the SWMWA.
Directions: From the Town of Eagar, take U.S. Hwy 180/191 southeast toward Alpine for about 2 miles. Look for turnoff signs immediately at the top of the first mesa at milepost 404.7 (Forest Road 57). Drive about 5 miles on Forest Road 57, which is a dirt road suitable for passenger cars, to the Sipe property.