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Payson, ARIZONA

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Most Recent Payson Camping Reviews
Nice spot to get out of Phx for a night or two

Drive up to test out my new RTT. Hardly anyone there and the saloon has good food and drink.

55+ RV Park with lots of shade

If you want a shady site in a cooler location, this is it. The temperature was consistently 5 degrees below the towns of Camp Verde and Cottonwood. However, the trees that provide the shade also may block access to satellites. 

The staff and volunteers are very friendly and helpful. If you pull a trailer there is room to unhook and drop it off at both ends of the village. 

Social activities are scheduled, and there are several national monuments to explore nearby.

Went backpacking/camping by the Mogollon rim!

Had a great night after backpacking 12 miles the first day. We found a perfect site right by the trail and were able to sleep under the stars in hammocks and even on just the ground without a tent. The area has so many trees to hammock from and provides plenty of wind-blocking so it doesn't get terribly chilly from the wind.

Traffic noise

Tried control road after some extensive research. It wasn’t as good as expected. This site was too close to the 260 so traffic noise was loud. There was not too much shade as the area for camping was very leveled. The road in is paved for about 3 miles. Then turns to dirt. Some of the areas are tougher than others. Went down a ways to try to find a new spot but all the “nice” ones were taken and others were way too close to the road. Overall won’t be trying control road again

Solid choice as usual

Decided to do a second review of aspen because this time seems a bit different than past times. Only 1 loop of the campground was open but it sure was much louder than usual. A good amount of the campers enjoyed very music that could be heard from many campsites away so this was unfortunate. Other than that the hosts were kind as always and the site was very nice and open.

Cool spot, too much trash

The river was beautiful! The camp spots were close to the river with nice big fire rings. Just like a lot of low desert camping in Arizona it’s dusty and dry with lots of prickly plans. But the trail and the trees near the river were lush. My biggest complaint about the spot was all the garbage everywhere. Come on people, burn your trash or take it home! There’s no need to trip over piles of water bottles & beer cans, cigarette butts, McDonald’s wrappers and plastic bags.

Great place to camp hike fish relax

Great place easy access large campsites with a big fire pit grill already built in forest is 30ft away and your walking in the wilderness there are a lot of ATVs around on the weekends so it will be loud and lots of traffic is the only downside but on the weekdays it’s empty and wide open we hiked about two miles into the woods and got to follow a huge herd of ELK ! What a nice surprise for the kids I give five stars dogs kids and adults we all had a blast !

Beautiful

Zero cell service lots of hunters but very secluded only know of hunters by the shots every now and then lake knoll is beautiful lots of Fish !! Five stars but for experienced campers only bring 4wd and a spare tire lots of awesome 4x4 trails and hiking this is camping at its best

Fantastic

This is a family favorite. We stayed in a new spot this time and will definitely be staying in this one again. Wouldn’t advise a trailer longer than 28 feet and no motor homes. We tried fishing but weren’t successful. Bathrooms and watet spigot is right across the street. You are able to fill up fresh water at camp host spot or the dump station has a spot for fresh water fill up. Verizon cell service is really spotty to no service at all.

Lots of sites!

We drove up to Payson spontaneously hoping we would be able to find a campsite and we went to 4 full ones before stumbling on this one. This one luckily had room and we were thrilled about that. It was $25 for the one night. The site was very accommodating too, they sell firewood at their for $8. The owners of the site also helped us get a fire going when we had trouble. The bathrooms were also clean which was nice. Overall a great campsite!

Great for hiking and relaxing

Maricopa County Park in Cave Creek. Very well taken care of. 

The park has beautiful hiking trails and a great nature center, which offers activities.

Some hiking trails are within walking distance of the campground, others you will need to drive to. 

The campground itself is very clean. It is quiet and the campsites all have electric and water hookups, picnic table and fire pit. 

There is an older area, sites 1 through 42, which offers more space in between the spaces. the newer area, sites 43 through 55 are closer to each other, but still doesn't feel crowded.

Our Favorite Spot

We love camping here, its so close to home and it's dispersed! We usually camp right on the water. It can get really packed but we have never had bad neighbors. Seems to be kept pretty clean and there are restrooms.

Good

We really liked this camp ground, we just didn't like the experience. The spaces are spread apart and there is plenty of room. But you can have up to 10 people, 2 car and ONLY 2 tents. So be prepared to sleep in groups I guess, we weren't. Also the camp host was nice but seemed to cater to the people she knew, she drives by A LOT and checked up on us almost every hour, we go to camp to get away, not be bothered. She really did not make us feel welcomed but we really did like where the camp site was so we're just hoping a new host is there if we ever go back.

Friendly and beautiful, but busy

Really enjoyed a two-night stay at this campsite, ended up in sites 001 and 002 on the A loop. 002 was more spacious but less shady, 001 smaller but more secluded.

The restrooms were clean and the camp host offered firewood right from her cart, extremely convenient!

The only reason for four stars was the parallel-to-camp parking spots and the overall slant of the site itself—rain erosion needs to be addressed and the spots need some TLC with a backhoe to get back to level.

All depends on the site

Nice campground overall. I enjoyed the easy access off the 260 and also the paved roads. We had a great campsite with tons of space D08 but it was also close to the bathroom. 2 issues were the flys and the bees. It was overload. They actually had bee and fly catchers up before we even got there and they still were an issue. Overall not bad but probably won’t come back.

Currently Closed due to flood rush

I wanted to stay down by the lake but the washes are closed due to the flash flood risk. The recent fire much of the vegetation that stems the flow of water. I would imagine that the campground will open back up after monsoon season but might periodically close based on the weather patterns. At least until the vegetation regrows.

I ended up staying on the south side if Davis Wash just off Apache Trail in a dispersed campground. I was the only one out there which was nice and spooky. Being that it was Friday the 13th. I figured it would be better to be with the four legged creatures than the two legged. Better behaved. Nice night that cooled off enough to sleep at midnight.

Loosely named a "Resort"

This place is not the type of resort you "girl's trip" to. It's the kind of resort where you plan to spend all day on the lake and come back to a shower and a real bed. You can choose to camp in your tent/RV or start in the motel.

The resort offers:

  • breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • watercraft rentals
  • two boat ramps
  • convenience store

There is a $10 fee to use any of their land. Even if you're just launching your boat. Emergency personnel have a base on the property which is comforting. Cell service is scarce on the lake but works great close to the resort. Only gave the resort 4 stars because I prefer camping around less people.

Ranger Review: Primus Essential Pot Set at Crabtree Wash

Campground Review:

Crabtree Wash is a small campground next to the Apache Lake Marina and Resort. There are two ways down to the wash: one fun dirt road to take your 4x4 vehicle or service road 79. Service road 79 is the same road you take to the resort and is paved all the way down. Crabtree is run by the Tonto National Forest so you must have a Tonto Pass to enjoy the day or night. Passes can be purchased at any Tonto Ranger station, Canyon Lake or most gas stations on the way down Apache Trail. 

The campground itself is fairly small and first come/first serve. This campground is unique because it is next to the “resort”. The campground has toilets and trash pickup. The resort offers many things for sale (firewood, ice, lunch…) so it’s like camping out in the desert next to a convenience store. 

When planning a trip to Apache lake plan accordingly as this is a desert campground. In September I sweat bullets until about midnight when the temperature dropped. The lake the next day made it all better. 

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt (what I refer lovingly to as a Dyrt Ranger), I get the privilege to test products. At Crabtree Wash, I tested Primus’ Essential Pot Set 1.3L. I have been in need of specific camping pots as the kitchen pots I was using were not getting the job done. These pots were impressive. 

The set comes with two 1.3L pots, one frying pan, a pot gripper and a carrying bag. First impressions: love the carrying bag, pans look well made and perfect size to cook for my one or two person camping trips. 

I was able to throw my plate and silverware into the carrying bag with the pots so everything is self contained. The flying is nonstick and doubles as a lid to the pots.  The pot gripper is okay, the design is akin to scissors. I’m planning on upgrading to the Primus Crimp Pot Gripper as I fully expect to drop a pan of boiling water because I loosen my grip on the gripper. Overall I am completely stoked to add the Primus pots to my camping gear. 

Amazing hiking trip

Beautiful swimming and hiking. Now permits are required but it is really a unique spot. They have been getting tighter on restrictions. If people keep leaving trash then I’m sure they’ll completely close it someday. Pack in/pack out. I lost all of the pictures from this trip but the water is comparable to Grand Canyon/Havasupai, just on a much smaller scale. The high mineral content “fossilizes” the sticks and leaves that sit in the water.

Amazing Camping off Yound Highway

Big open spots with lots to do nearby. There are multiple places to pull of of this road and camp. This is a pack in/pack out site with trees and fresh air. It is part of Tonto National forest so fire restrictions and usually in place through the summer. Tall pines are everywhere with junipers here and there. You can get some amazing views of the Mogollon Rim depending where you stop.
Forest Lakes and the rim lakes are close by. They are great for kayaking, fishing and camping. The fish hatchery is a fun stop for kids but the hours are pretty specific.

Ranger Review: Grub Stick at Pivot Rock Canyon

Campground Review: This is dispersed camping in Coconino National Forest. There is camping throughout this area and it is all dispersed. Some spots are better than others but everything is pretty awesome. Tall pines all around, lots of exploring room for kids. The camping areas are all pretty open and there are plenty of spots to park a trailer or RV. This is just open forest so there is nothing for resources or amenities. There are spots higher on the ridge and also a few amazing places to camp right in pivot canyon. It has been an especially dry year but the canyon is shaded and was very green.

There is some great hiking especially through the canyon. If you follow the canyon about one mile from the road, then go down and right onto a cow trail, you can get to Pivot Rock Spring. We weren’t able to make it that far because we had so many little kids with us this time. This is also very close to Strawberry and Pine which have a perfect small town feel. You can stop at the lavender farm, buy local honey, and they have little festivals pretty often.

Something to note is that Tonto National Forest is usually fire restricted this time of year but Coconino is not. This site is barely into Coconino. It is still very dry so be careful with it!

Product Review: Grub Stick As a Dyrt Ranger I get to try out awesome new gear from outdoor companies. This trip we cooked with our new Grub Stick set. I love cooking over a campfire, and that is what Grub Stick is all about. The kids also had fun roasting. Definitely be aware that these are hot sharp pieces of metal so of course we had a close eye on them. Like any roasting get your fire going for a while until you have a nice bed of coals, that will cook better and cleaner than big flames and smoke. The handles are heavy duty and extendable and the different heads are easy to exchange, even when hot. Grub Stick really planned well on giving you what is needed in the moment. The hot pad, and grabber were very useful. We started out with grilled cheese sandwiches in the Grubcage and Burgcage. They worked great and you can see I was even about to prop a few up on the rocks whichever I got the next batch ready. For dessert we did s’mores. Roasting the whole s’more got the chocolate all melted and toasted the crackers too. I was a little doubtful that the marshmallow would roast enough but it did well. If you’re into perfect browned marshmallows, I would roast them separately. Next we used the Grubpocket, which is the short metal cylinder. Now I was really excited for this one. My wife’s family has always made “woofems” which are made from wrapping crescent roll dough around a dowel on metal rod. You roast it and then fill it with pudding, berries and whipped cream. So with the Grubpocket, they cook much faster and the best part is that the interior cooks too. We’ve always had the problem of a doughy middle. I filled mine with chocolate pudding and bananas. It was amazing. I did butter the stick first and I would suggest that or else the dough can get stuck. There were a few other tools that we are looking forward to using next time including the bacon clip and the Grub Tube. I love the simplicity of the product. It makes campfire cooking easier and pretty fast. I saw the recipes on the site and some of them seem a little over the top. I like that the tools simplify the process for me. I also love the durable carrying case that easily fits everything.

Quick get away spot

Well laid out park large sites super clean restrooms. Bit warm to hot May to October

Outdoor living with all the amenities

Stayed here for two weeks. This campground is nestled behind some hills right next to the Verde River. It’s a beautiful setting with a huge variety of sites. There’s a mix of full timers and daily/weekly visitors. The entire staff is very friendly and helpful. I can’t say we met a bad neighbor either, and most were super nice people.

We stayed near the pool lodge. The pool and hot tub were very clean. There is a horseshoe pit, tennis courts, and basketball courts that didn’t seem to get much use. Still, nice to have for people staying longer term.

The only irritation I had was the speed limits. I understand the reasoning, but getting in and out of the park was a pain just because it took so long to drive 5-10 mph for 1-2 mile stretches. Most of that drive is through uninhabited areas, but I think Thousand Trails is just covering their rears for liability sake.

Oh, and internet is almost non-existent. I had a T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon phone, and all were pretty much worthless most of the time. We paid $15 for a week of WiFi, but ended up asking for a refund as it was even more unusable than our phones. Still, you can only ask so much from a campsite when it gets far enough off the grid.

So, overall a great experience, and would definitely love to stay there again in the future.

Such a great site!!

We had a great time here, sites are good size and well kept! Amenities were in great condition and our favorite day use river spot is 15 minutes away👌🏻 A+++

Eh

Just a 1/2 mile on dirt road so that’s nice but the walk in spots for this campsite are SMALL and VERY tight/close together. Not only that but all spots are parallel. This doesn’t make it very convenient unless you are tent camping which we were not. Close to the Mogollon Rim paved path which is amazing, reference the picture for that! The hosts were great…hence why I gave the 4 stars! But I wouldn’t be going back here anytime soon.

First to Review
This is a nice primitive campground

We have camped here in the spring. Nice hikes in the area and a great place to get away while it is cool

Small site

Not a bad site but small. The sites were too small for my truck and Aliner but lots and lots of shade which was cool! It’s also just across the 260 from the village which was neat to visit.

Solid campground

Pretty nice campground, especially with the paved roads for the bikes. It also has a cool creek within a short hike, about 1.5 miles round trip. Overall a nice campground but not necessarily some place I’d go back. Mainly because the lack of shade in the space we were in and a few around us.

Nice, but pit toilets are stinky

The sites are very well maintained and for it being so big, you didn’t feel cramped (although it wasn’t full). Perfect site for our first camper tow. Amenities are nice (water/dump station), showers, paved roads throughout, but the campground pit toilets are old and stinky. Will definitely be back, but will probably use our own bathroom. 😬

One of the faves

Aspen campground is our go to campground. It has all the necessary amenities for simple camping. What we like best is the paved roads and the paved bike path! Incredible to take it all the way up to the rim. Only downfall is that some spaces are quite close and reservations are slim to none at times.