Cool off in Greer

Get away to peace, quiet, and summer fun in eastern Arizona

Nora Burba Trulsson

Set in a gentle valley in eastern Arizona's White Mountains, Greer is a summer Shangri-la, a community of cabins and log lodges located at the end of a road, at the edge of the forest. It's a place where people come for weekend escapes. And once most people discover Greer's sprawling meadow, spruce-covered hillsides, and the icy waters of the Little Colorado River as it twists its way through town, they tend to get possessive. Greer's simple charms make you want to keep the place all to yourself.

With good reason. Greer's great hiking and fly-fishing opportunities, along with a thoughtful museum and many hearty eateries and little boutiques, are making this small town a popular getaway.

The picture-perfect scenery has been attracting travelers for a long time. During the 1870s, Mormon pioneers found that this valley was ideal for farming and for raising cattle. The abundant game and fish in what is now the surrounding Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests brought the first tourists, mostly sportsmen, to the village.

Among them was Western writer James Willard Schultz, who was an early contributor to Sunset. Schultz was smitten enough with the area's trout-filled streams and flocks of wild turkeys to have a cabin built here in 1913, which he later gave to his son, Hart Merriam Schultz, an artist who went by the name Lone Wolf. The cabin serves as the Butterfly Lodge Museum, filled with original works and furnishings from both men.

As Greer's popularity has grown, a handful of inns and B&Bs have sprung up. On a busy summer weekend, the population can swell from less than 200 to about 2,000. Even then, there's plenty of elbow room in the surrounding national forests.

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