Escudilla Mountain

Escudilla Mountain

Sunset at Hulsey Lake in the White Mountains of Arizona. Escudilla Mountain is illuminated by the setting sun. | Larry Barrett

Escudilla Mountain, situated in the eastern part of Arizona, is renowned for its stunning beauty and diverse flora and fauna. It is the third highest mountain in the state, reaching an elevation of 10,916 feet, and is located within the Escudilla Wilderness. This vast wilderness area, covering more than 5,200 acres, is a part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests which forms a significant portion of the White Mountains.

The Escudilla Wilderness in Arizona is named after this prominent mountain and offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, bird watching and wildlife viewing. The Escudilla National Recreation Trail takes adventurers right to the top of the Escudilla Mountain, offering panoramic views of the Arizona landscape including other peaks in the White Mountains range. The wilderness region is also home to a wide variety of animal species including elk, deer, turkey, and black bear.

The mountain and surrounding wilderness area are steeped in history. It is said to have been the last known home of grizzly bears in Arizona. Aldo Leopold’s famous essay “Thinking Like a Mountain” reflects on the extinction of the grizzly bear and places emphasis on this mountain’s significant ecological importance.

The Escudilla Mountain and its encompassing wilderness area truly encapsulate the untouched beauty of Arizona’s White Mountains. The mountain’s towering presence over the landscape coupled with the rich biodiversity within the wilderness area makes it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Its unique blend of natural beauty, recreational offerings and historical significance contribute greatly to its allure, making it one of Arizona’s treasured landmarks.

Fast Facts

Escudilla Mountain, Arizona – intense red sunset caused by smoke in the atmosphere. The photo was taken at the 10,000 foot level as the sun was setting. | Larry Barrett

Country: United States

State/Province: Arizona

County/Region: Apache

Mountain Range: White Mountains

Parents: White Mountains

Elevation: 10,916 feet / 3,327 meters

Prominence: 2,372 feet / 723 meters

Isolation: 24.61 miles / 39.6 kilometers

Nearest Higher Neighbor (NHN): Mount Thomas

Flora and Fauna

Escudilla Mountain is a remarkable destination for nature enthusiasts. With a diverse array of flora and fauna, this mountain offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity that exists within its boundaries. The ecosystem of Escudilla Mountain comprises various plants and animals that are not only significant for their ecological importance but also provide a fascinating insight into the natural world.

The flora of Escudilla Mountain is characterized by a wide variety of plant species, ranging from coniferous forests to alpine meadows. These diverse habitats support an array of plant life, including Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and aspen trees. Additionally, the mountain is home to several flowering plants, such as the wild iris and the rare alpine forget-me-not. The diverse flora found on Escudilla Mountain contributes to its stunning scenery and attracts an abundance of wildlife.

Wild irises bloomed in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, White Mountains, Greer, Arizona. | Scenic Corner

The fauna found on Escudilla Mountain is just as diverse as its flora, with a multitude of species inhabiting the area. Mammals such as elk, mule deer, and black bears can be spotted roaming the mountain’s forests, while smaller creatures like squirrels and chipmunks scurry about in search of food. Birdwatchers will be delighted to find various bird species, including the endangered Mexican spotted owl and the majestic bald eagle. Additionally, reptiles and amphibians such as the Arizona coral snake and the Chiricahua leopard frog can be found in the area.

Escudilla Mountain offers a magnificent display of nature at its finest. The diverse flora and fauna found on this mountain create an unparalleled experience for those who venture to explore its unique ecosystem. Through responsible tourism practices and conservation efforts, we can ensure that this beautiful landscape and its inhabitants continue to thrive for generations to come.


Escudilla Mountain, located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests of Arizona, is a popular destination among outdoor enthusiasts for its breathtaking views and diverse wildlife. The mountain’s trails provide visitors with a variety of hiking experiences, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. As you explore the myriad of trails that Escudilla Mountain has to offer, you’ll be immersed in the rich flora and fauna that make this area truly unique.

One of the most popular trails on Escudilla Mountain is the Escudilla National Recreation Trail. This 6-mile round trip hike takes you through lush meadows, dense forests, and ultimately to the summit of the mountain. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding White Mountains and the impressive Blue Range Primitive Area. The trail is well-maintained and is accessible for hikers of all skill levels, making it an ideal choice for families and novice hikers alike.

Another trail worth exploring on Escudilla Mountain is the Terry Flat Loop. This 5-mile loop trail traverses through a beautiful stand of aspen trees and offers a more moderate challenge for hikers. You’ll also pass by an old fire lookout tower, which serves as a fascinating reminder of the area’s history.

In addition to the impressive views and diverse trails, Escudilla Mountain is also home to a wide range of wildlife. Keep an eye out for elk, mule deer, and even black bears as you trek through this pristine wilderness. Birdwatchers will also delight in spotting various species of birds, including Mexican spotted owls and northern goshawks.

Escudilla Mountain trails offer outdoor enthusiasts a unique opportunity to explore one of Arizona’s most picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk through nature, these trails guarantee an unforgettable experience in a truly remarkable setting.

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