Deep in the high-elevation valleys of Arizona’s White Mountains lies Greer, a small and beautiful town cleaved by the Little Colorado River.
It’s a tiny mountain community with less than 50 permanent residents, increasing tenfold during peak months.
Because of the small population, the people of Greer have become a tight-knit family that welcomes visitors of all ages and preferences.
During summer, most come to this isolated place to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the beautiful surroundings.
But it’s an all-season destination, with facilities that are ideal for spring, fall, and even cold winters.
The attractions are mostly geared towards nature lovers, backpackers, and adventurers, but there is something for the history buff and foodie.
So for your upcoming vacation, why not make this town your top choice?
Here are the 15 best things to do in Greer, AZ:
Brave the Rapids of Little Colorado River
The Little Colorado River is a chief tributary of the Colorado River and serves as a major water source to parched regions near the Grand Canyons.
Its headwaters start near Greer, composed of the West and East Fork that eventually meet south of the town.
Then, it separates into various branches as it passes through Greer, feeding the three aforementioned lakes, before finally becoming a single stream heading down from the White Mountains.
Because of the varied landscapes that this river segment has, many people are keen on exploring the riverside trails and shallower portions.
Many choose to fish with families on the deeper parts, and some take advantage of the scenic views for stunning landscape photos.
For the more adventurous travelers, you can head further down river and brave the rapids on a kayak or raft.
It’s an exhilarating way to enjoy the turbulent waters of the narrow but gorgeous attraction.
Try Skiing at Sunrise Park Resort
With three mountains and 1,200 acres of explorable space, Sunrise Park Resort proudly holds the title of the biggest ski resort in all of Arizona.
It’s the center of fun and excitement for visitors in Greer, with plenty of adventures and amenities for patrons of all ages.
The three mountains, Sunrise Peak, Cyclone Circle, and Apache Peak, have gentle slopes ideal for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter-related activities.
You can even go snow tubing with the kids or cross-country skiing with experienced friends.
During summer, the landscape changes into a thrilling recreational facility offering tons of adventures under the sun.
One of the most popular is the lengthy zip line, which lets you soar above the pine trees like a bird of prey hunting for food.
If you want to try more active hobbies, the resort’s trails can be used for mountain biking and challenging hikes.
There are so many options to choose from, so visit the attraction during summer or winter to try all of them.
Learn the Town's History at Butterfly Lodge Museum
The Butterfly Lodge Museum is the only facility of its kind in town, so the management has made an effort to make it a worthwhile visit for all.
Open during summer, this seasonal attraction was originally a hunting cabin that served as the temporary home for explorers and hunters.
It has expanded over the years, eventually becoming a museum that showcased the lives of the two men who built it back in 1913.
The craftsmanship and techniques they used when constructing the structure are one of the reasons the place is listed under the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition, there are several sculptures and other artworks created by the son of one of the builders, which can be found on display within the cabin.
Check these out, learn about the cabin’s history, marvel at the wooden pieces, and see a glimpse of the past.
See Curious Animals at White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area
Apart from the vast forests, this region of Arizona is teeming with other habitats like grasslands.
The one in Greer is White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area, a 2,850-acre attraction with sweeping views uninterrupted by trees.
You’re welcome to explore the winding trails that bring you to scenic slopes, ponds, juniper woodland, and the vast meadows.
Bring binoculars or cameras and try spotting the many animals who call this place home.
These include pronghorn antelope, rock squirrels, western bluebirds, owls, and the occasional elk.
Birdwatching is encouraged, especially since there’s little tree covering to obstruct views of birds of prey soaring high above.
On the lower-elevation areas, you can visit the small streams and ponds that create a riparian habitat, serving as the home to other species that need a constant source of water.
Smell Wildflowers Along Government Springs Trail
Starting on one section of Little Colorado River’s West Fork, the Government Springs Trail is a 5.3-mile route that brings you to rugged forests south of Greer.
This path is a favorite hiking spot owing to the light traffic and beautiful attractions along the way.
Thanks to the waters from the small creek, the lush lands of the trail are often bursting with wildflowers, especially during spring and summer.
This stark contrast with the arid landscape from higher-elevation areas makes the trail a tiny little oasis for nature walks.
It’s gentle enough for all ages, and you can even bring your dog along as long as it stays on a leash.
At the path’s end, you’d find the Government Springs, fed by an aquifer that serves as the main source of water for the creek.
Explore the Wonders of Apache–Sitgreaves National Forests
The Apache–Sitgreaves National Forests are two expansive outdoor destinations managed as a single unit by the USDA Forest Service.
Spanning more than 2.7 million acres in total area, these vast land features begin from east-central Arizona and reach all the way to New Mexico.
This means that Greer is surrounded by these forests.
So, technically, most of the items on this list belong to this vast system.
But setting aside these particular destinations, the Apache–Sitgreaves National Forests still has many wonders in store for curious and adventurous travelers.
From deep canyons to high ridges, from wildflowers to wild animals, there’s a lot to see beyond the designated trails and destinations.
Consult with a local guide in Greer and check out all the other lesser-seen attractions within the national forests.
Marvel at the Sceneries of Sunrise Lake
While visiting Sunrise Park Resort during summer, you’ll see a glistening body of water next to its grounds: Sunrise Lake.
This high-altitude attraction sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet, but accessing it is just as easy as driving to the resort on its southwestern end.
Because of the spacious and verdant grounds surrounding it, the lake has become a favorite camping destination for families.
In fact, there are more than 200 family camp units available, ideal for RVs and traditional tents.
While staying here, you can go fishing, kayaking, and swimming on the lake or explore the trails surrounding the banks.
It’s open all year round, so you can come whichever season you please!
Trek the Butler Canyon Trail
East of Greer’s town proper, you’d find the Butler Canyon Trail, a 1.2-mile path that loops around the hills of the area.
It’s a gorgeous, lightly trafficked trail perfect for all skill levels.
You can bring kids and dogs during your trek so they can explore and see the magnificent views offered by the attraction.
From slopes filled with wildflowers to ridges overlooking Greer and the surrounding forests, this trail has many wonders in store.
Bring water to stay hydrated, as the area can get hot during the summer.
Stay in One of the Many Campgrounds
Aside from the aforementioned attractions with their own campgrounds, Greer has many other destinations dedicated solely to camping.
These are scattered in between hills and valleys surrounding the town, chosen for their convenience, accessibility, and, of course, scenery.
The Rolfe C. Hoyer Campground is one of the top spots in the area, offering clean and peaceful spaces for RVs and traditional tents.
It’s less than a mile away from the Greer Lakes and the trails that go deep in the Apache National Forest.
Another is Snowy Mountain RV Park, which has spaces for RVs as well as cozy cabins for a more comfortable stay.
On the other hand, Greer Cabin Keepers maintains several cabins within the town proper, serving as the premier vacation home rental in the area.
Go Camping Next to the Greer Lakes
A little way north of the town proper lies Greer’s three lakes, a set of artificial bodies of water fed by the rushing Little Colorado River.
These are Bunch Reservoir, Tunnel Reservoir, and River Reservoir, all created after the river was dammed in three places and allowed to fill.
Today, these three locations have become favorite local attractions since they are near town and offer plenty of space.
You can bring an RV or a tent to one of the lakeside parks and make it your base camp for your adventures.
There are also many water-related activities like kayaking, swimming, and boating to try, which bring you to the more isolated and pristine sections of each lake.
They are the perfect fishing spots for the rainbow and brown trouts swimming underneath the surface.
Sample Delicious Dishes at Molly Butler Lodge & Restaurant
There aren’t many dining facilities that prosper here in Greer, so the ones that do remain have become local institutions shared by residents and visitors alike.
Molly Butler Lodge & Restaurant is one of these facilities, and it’s a well-loved destination offering accommodation and food.
So even though you’ve already set up camp or rented a cabin in another location, you’re still welcome to check out the place and try some of the dishes.
In fact, this long-standing restaurant has been included in lists for Arizona’s best dining establishments.
Great-tasting food is a guarantee here, and you can sample their prime ribs, chilis, grilled salmon fillet, and other specialties.
There’s also live music on occasion, adding to the overall dining experience in this charming destination.
Go Boating at Lee Valley Lake
Even higher than Sunrise Lake is Lee Valley Lake, sitting at 9,420 feet above sea level.
It’s the highest-elevation reservoir in the whole of Arizona and feeds the East Fork of the Little Colorado River.
Because it’s relatively far from the other attractions in Greer, it has a tranquil and undisturbed ambiance for communes with nature.
There’s a dedicated boat launch on the northeastern side of the lake, allowing you to launch small water vessels and explore the deeper areas.
Fishing is unfortunately highly regulated if at all allowed, as the lake is part of the trout recovery system that aims to preserve the threatened Apache trout.
From here, you can access the Mount Baldy trails that head to the wilderness surrounding the mountain.
It’s a great side trip for those who have more time to explore Greer’s forests and endemic wildlife.
Try Homemade Meals at Rendezvous Diner
Rendezvous Diner is another mountain restaurant that has captured the attention of locals and visitors alike because of its quirky decor and delicious food.
The establishment was built in 1909 and has evolved into a favorite gathering place over the years.
You’d be treated to tasty homestyle meals that will remind you of your grandma’s cooking.
Choose from their selection of American staples, such as savory soups, specialty burgers, and tasty sandwiches.
While eating on the outside seating, you’d be treated to gorgeous views of Greer and the mountains surrounding it.
Dining inside is a different experience, with their stamps, signages, and other decors that give so much personality to the interiors.
Go Cross-Country Skiing at Pole Knoll Trail
Knolls, or small grassy hills, are a typical feature in the region, and one of the nearest to Greer is Pole Knoll.
It sits next to Sunrise Lake, but the main trailhead is located on the opposite side.
So if you want to explore the ruggedly beautiful sceneries in the area, you’d have to access it via the AZ 260.
In summer, the trail is used for hiking and biking, bringing visitors to some of the best lookouts near the base or on the slopes of the hill.
Winter is ideal for cross-country skiing, especially the gentler segments that offer smooth rides on the snow.
Experience the Wild West at X Diamond Ranch
Less than thirty minutes away from Greer is X Diamond Ranch, a well-known horse ranch in the region.
It’s located north of the town and offers a true Wild West Experience in the heart of the White Mountains.
Don’t take that statement lightly, as the owner, Wink Crigler, has ensured that her heritage is preserved through the ranch and the services offered.
She has won a National Rangeland Management Award and was named an Arizona Culturekeeper, so you know that the facilities she manages to stay true to Western practices and traditions.
You’re welcome to participate in this heritage by trying horseback riding or fly fishing on the segment of Little Colorado River passing through the ranch.
Nothing compares to the thrilling feeling of riding a horse as it gallops across the vast plains that surround the park.
Whether it’s summer or winter, Greer has something in store for adventurers, nature lovers, and thrill-seekers.
There’s something for everyone here, from gorgeous ski resorts to historical cabins, from challenging trails to tranquil lakes.
Check out this list so you can add the top spots to your itinerary today!