Good morning friends! I hope you are having a great week. We kicked off December with decorating a gingerbread house and an evening walk to look at all the holiday lights. So far, we’ve spotted a baby yoda holding a candy cane, Christmas dragons, and a snoopy-themed house! Before I dive into some planned holiday content, I wanted to recap our September trip to Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona. It was the perfect escape from the hot summer temps in Tucson. I loved being amongst the pine trees and lakes. It reminded me of being back in the Pacific Northwest.
We drove up to Pinetop-Lakeside on a Saturday afternoon. It was a 3.5-hour drive from Tucson. We stayed at this AirBnB which was perfect for a big group. We had three families spending the weekend together for a friend’s birthday. The AirBnB could accommodate 16 guests with three separate cabins – the main house, a guest house, and a gaming barn with beds on the top floor. There was shuffleboard, a card table, and a bumper pool table. At night, it was nice to be able to bring the baby monitor to the gaming cabin at night and play some games without worrying about the noise!
After the long drive, we spent the evening relaxing and grilling up some dinner. We had carne asada and pollo asado tacos with all the delicious fixings. It was so nice to catch up with friends over a couple glasses of wine! We headed to bed early because we wanted to get out and explore the next day.
Mogollon Rim Trail
We fueled up with a pancake breakfast and headed down the road for the Mogollon Rim Trail. This was a great loop for the kids to get out some energy and the views were a nice payoff!
The Mogollon Rim Trail is a quick 0.9 mile loop hike. It’s perfect for families or those wanting to shake out their legs while passing through Pinetop-Lakeside. The first half is paved and the second half is packed dirt. Halfway through, you come across a scenic overlook great for pictures! I love when you don’t have to hike too far for views.
After spending some time on the trail, it was time to head back to the cabin for nap time. During nap, we packed up some lunch and snacks for a picnic. Other people in our group had reservations for stand-up paddle-boarding lessons which brought us to Show Low Lake.
Show Low Lake
We arrived to Show Low Lake and found a picnic area to enjoy our lunch while others fished and took their SUP lesson. It wasn’t a very kid-friendly area as you had to traverse a steep rocky path to get down to the lake. I could feel my mom anxiety heighten whenever my toddler was moving around the picnic shelter. That drop-off was steep! We didn’t stay too long and ended up taking a drive along the Mogollon Rim to let the kids take a good afternoon nap. When we go back, we’ll try and find a more kid-friendly lake.
Pat Mullen Mountain to Vista Point
The next day we headed out towards the Pinetop Country Club as there was a great trail system nearby. We chose the Pat McMullen to Vista Point Trail because of the do-able distance and because of the gnome tree! We thought Emilia would get a kick out of seeing a tree decorated with gnomes and various other embellishments.
The Pat McMullen Trail is a 3.4 mile out and back trail. The first (and last) mile is a relatively flat wide trail. After that, there is about half a mile of climbing to the vista point. I will say the views are better while you’re hiking to the top then at the vista point. This was a great trail to get a nice workout in while chatting with friends. Emilia walked for about half the trail.
After our hike, we headed back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. We ate at The House because they had a nice outdoor seating area and live music. Chris and I shared the Bonfire shrimp (reminded me of the Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill) and I had the chicken of clubs sandwich. Everything was so good! The House shared space with the Red Barn Creamery so naturally we had to have ice cream! I recommend their Reeses Peanut Butter.
On the List for Next Time
We can’t wait to go back to explore more of Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low, Arizona. We enjoyed all the hiking trails, the clear blue skies, and definitely want to explore more of the restaurants and local food scene.
- Woodland Lake Trail – short paved trail great for seeing fall foliage.
- Woodland Lake Outer Loop – great spring-summer trail that follows the perimeter of Woodland Lake.
- Fools Hollow State Park – this would be a great spot for camping, enjoying the 1.5-mile walking trail, and having a picnic.
- Crockery Cafe – My friend Jane did a fantastic write-up of why you should visit this place.
- Bertie’s White Mountain Cafe and Donuts – Their donuts, breakfast, and reviews look amazing!
- Bloom n’ Bean – Coffee shop with delicious pastries ran by a florist? Sign me up!
- Wine Mountains – I can’t turn down a wine bar!
I would love to hear your recommendations for places to eat!
Where is your favorite place to go for a weekend getaway? Let me know in the comments!