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Rim Lakes Vista Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This easy loop with spectacular, 100-mile views from the Mogollon Rim uses the Rim Lakes Trail, Military Sinkhole Trail, and historic General Crook Trail to traverse cool ponderosa pine and quaking aspen forest.From the trailhead, follow the Rim Lakes Vista Trail west out of the crossing. Now the trail heads generally southwest through the level ponderosa pine forest, eventually reaching the edge of the Mogollon Rim and turning west. Sweeping views are almost continuous, but one of the best is from a slight promontory 1.3 miles from the trailhead. At 1.9 miles, the Rim Lakes Vista Trail meets the Military Sinkhole Trail at a viewpoint next to the Rim Road."
--Bruce Grubbs, Best Loop Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books).
IMPORTANT: the trailhead is shortly after mile marker 282. You'll see a sign for Woods Canyon Lake. Turn left into this area. The trails forming this loop were easy to navigate and it is such beautiful country. It was a pleasure to get away from the Phoenix heat and enjoy the cool pines of the forest. Definitely a very easy loop; started w/ the Rim Lakes Tr and ended on the General Crook. The Crook trail was not as scenic, however, and I think doing this loop counterclockwise would be advantageous. Not just to save the best scenery for last, but also because towards the end of the hike, it would be nice to enjoy the cooler shaded areas of the Rim Lakes Tr (the Crook is pretty exposed). With all the stops for pictures, the hike was completed in 2 hrs 30 min. There are so many hikes in this area we all can't wait to go back!
This trail can be taken in much shorter sections (e.g. 2.3 miles round trip) from several parking areas along the rim side of FR300. Although much of this portion of the trail is close to the rode and therefore doesn't provide too many chances for wildlife viewing, it also offers the most spectacular views from the edge of the rim. Parts of the trail in this area are also paved and handicap accessible.
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