From the Sandy Point Trailhead
at 9,132', start hiking south on the well-maintained Forest Trail 182, also known as the Crest Trail. The trail ascends at a moderate grade for the first 1.5 miles, where you will then enter the Gila Wilderness at about 9,800'. Once you cross the wilderness boundary, the trail begins to flatten out. For the next few miles, it travels through the forest
at a moderate grade, allowing only a few fleeting views of the Mogollon Mountains. The trail traverses along the east flank of the 10,788' Willow Mountain during this stretch.
After passing by Willow Mountain, you will come to an impressive vantage point that allows some great views of the Mogollon Mountains. You'll have a good view of Whitewater Baldy
from here. This is the only place along the entire trail that you will have views. Continue on the trail as it heads for Point 10,510'. The topo map shows some ups-and-downs in this area, but the trail was actually fairly level through here, climbing at a moderate grade in places. The topo map also shows the trail going directly over Point 10,510', but the trail actually traverses along the west side of the point, which saves you some elevation gain and loss. Once past Point 10,510', the trail makes a slight descent into the 10,400' Hummingbird Saddle
. You will have hiked about 4.75 miles to reach Hummingbird Saddle. Whitewater Baldy is dead ahead to the south about a half mile or so. The Crest Trail skirts around the east side of Whitewater Baldy, and continues on its way to Mogollon Baldy about seven miles to the southeast. This is where you leave the trail and start your ascent of Whitewater Baldy.
Leave the Crest Trail at Hummingbird Saddle, and start heading south straight up the north ridge
of Whitewater Baldy. Heavy snow usually lingers on the north slope of Whitewater Baldy until June. There is no maintained trail to the summit, but there are a few cairns marking the way. There is also a faint use trail here. However, the snow will cover up the cairns and use trail most of the year. Whether or not you find the use trail or cairns, just keep climbing straight up through the forest. There are no major obstacles here, just some downed logs to contend with. Continue climbing up, and you will soon reach the flat summit of Whitewater Baldy. The actual highpoint is marked by a large rock cairn
on the south side of the flat summit area.
Hiking Distance: About 11 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain. About 2,000'.