Woods Canyon Lake Group Area is located in north central Arizona near the town of Heber. The camp is adjacent to popular Woods Canyon Lake and situated in thick pine forests, providing a great getaway for large groups of up to 100 people. It offers plenty of activities for anglers, boaters, hikers, families and photographers.
Woods Canyon Lake is surrounded by a dense forest of pine, fir, oak and aspen, and sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Hikers who venture onto nearby trails are afforded expansive views of the land beneath the Mogollon Rim. The Mogollon Rim, pronounced by locals as "muggy-own," is a 200-mile long cliff in northern Arizona that ranges between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation and serves as the geographical dividing line between the cool high country above and the hot, dry desert below.
Summer temperatures can be very pleasant because of the elevation. However, the rainy season often brings afternoon thunderstorms from late June through August. Visitors should come prepared for rain and cool nighttime temperatures.
Wildlife viewing includes birds, squirrels, deer and elk. Deer, skunks and bears are common campground visitors.
Woods Canyon Lake is one of seven lakes in the Rim Lakes Recreation Area, and one of the most visited. Trout fishing (both lake and stream) is a favorite pastime. Woods Canyon Lake only allows electric boat motors. Two other lakes are within a short drive.
The Rim Lakes Vista Trail, less than a mile from the campground, and others in the area lead to spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim. An easy hiking trail meanders around the lake, and the paved roads in the recreation area make for great afternoon bike rides.
Families might also enjoy attending educational programs given by Forest Service rangers on the weekends.
The group camping area is primitive but convenient to the lake. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. The facility can comfortably accommodate 70 people, though the maximum is 100.
The nearest full service community is Payson, Arizona, 35 miles west on Highway 260.
Visitors can explore endless vistas and take part in many outdoor activities in the surrounding Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, which encompasses 2 million acres of magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona and New Mexico.
Woods Canyon Group Campground was a great area! There are 12 usable spots most of which I would consider double if not triple occupency. The roads were well maintained and would be easy to drive into even with a car. Each site had a metal fire pit with grill grates and a picnic table. We didn't end up using the fire pits at the individual sites at all because there was a huge (probably about 3 foot wide) metal campfire ring in the middle of the group loop. We easily sat about 20 folding camp chairs around the pit each night. There is also a large concrete area with about 10 picnic tables and 2 huge grills. There are also 2 prep tables and 2 poles with hooks you can use to hang lanterns and trash bags. The only real downside to this area is that it was not covered so mid day sun may be really warm and rain could get in the way.
The loop has it's own vault style bathroom building with a men and a women's side. They were very clean and kept well stocked (probably because there is a designated host to the group site and he was very attentive). There are 2 potable water faucets in the loop. When we arrived the water was really murky brown but by the time we left it was running clean. If I had to guess it was because we were the first ones to run water through the pipes in a while. There is also a designated dumpster near the entrance/exit so you don't have to tote your trash home.
There is only 1 entrance/exit to the loop and it made it really nice for the kids. They were able to ride their bikes around the loop and play in the grassy area in the center without a lot of traffic in and out. There are multiple hiking trails in the area and the lake is just a short walk away.
At the entrance there is a sign with prices for the sites per night so I imagine that if you go up on a night that the entire loop is not rented they will rent out single sites. The site is a bit hard to find and can get confusing because it's called Woods Canyon campground at Woods Canyon Lake but there are actually 4 or 5 other campgrounds around Woods Canyon Lake. The sign at the entrance was also broken so it could be easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. I drove up using Google maps and it did take me right to it. With as close as it is to the main road leading to the lake we didn't hear much of the traffic (except for the loud side by sides and quads).
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing the RovR RollR 60. This cooler definitely has some cool features that help it stand out. The first thing is the all-terrain puncture resistant rubber tires. I was able to roll this thing through camp and over rocks about the size of baseballs with no issues. If for some reason you do manage to damage the tires they are replaceable! The RollR 60 was very easy to pull. They have a dual sided aluminum handle with rubber grips. The design was made specifically with your heels in mind. You actually pull the cooler off to the side so it isn't constantly bumping into your heels.
The RollR 60 is certified grizzly bear resistant. It has a rotomolded foam insulated lid and body which helps the ice retention (up to 10 days with proper use) as well as making it super durable. We used it for 3 days and had very little ice melt even with the cooler sitting in the warm mid-day sun. The lid seals with an airtight gasket and I can confirm when it is latched it is leakproof. The cooler has a removable dry bin inside which is one of my favorite parts. This bin attaches to the inside with a removable screw and it keeps all of the water out so no more soggy bags or cardboard! The center divider of the dry bin is cut out and it works great to fit a full size loaf of bread or carton of eggs.
On top of the RollR 60 is a removable canvas storage bin. The one it comes with is almost an off white color and does show dirt fairly easily so if you are going to be getting filty you may want to upgrade to the designer tote. Even though the tote is collaspsible it is very sturdy when it is set up and can handle a lot of stuff inside. Our fold up camp chairs were hanging out the top and still didn't topple the tote. When the tote is folded down it velcros to the lid for easy storage and then doubles as a make shift padded seat.
RovR has gone above and beyond with the accessories available for this cooler. They have a prepping board that can attach to the side (perfect for sandwiches, cheese boards, or cutting limes). There is an optional umbrella/rod holder. Again, you could carry the rods or umbrella in the storage tote but this would keep the rod from getting banged up with the other items in there over rough terrain. There is a cup holder because sometimes a flat surface can be hard to find and setting things on the ground can always be risky. There is also a BikR kit you can use to attach it to a bike for easy towing. The accessory I was able to demo was the stash bag. It was a fleece lines drawstring bag with 2 zippered pockets on the outside. It was perfect for putting in my keys, phone, and wallet for easy access and to keep them off the ground and prevent them from getting lost.
As with all things there are bound to be features that you aren't in love with. When it comes to the RollR 60 these features aren't deal breakers for me but worth calling out. The RollR 60's handle is not adjustable. I'm 5ft 7in and it worked well for me as well as a few other people that tried it all in the 5-6ft height range. However, I could see it being difficult for someone a bit shorter than that (for example a child). When my son was rolling it around he managed to tip it backwards and because it wasn't latched there was ice everywhere. We played around with it and figured out that if you lifted it much beyond 45 degrees it would roll backwards since the handle doesn't lock open. This could be problematic if you were dragging it up a steep incline. The handle is also just about the same height as the cooler and when it hangs down it often hit the ground and did get pretty dirty.
The cooler doesn't have a specific lock location. It does have the metal bars where you attach the accessories that you could use a larger padlock on but not a standard sized lock. The drain plug is not attached to the cooler in any way so be sure when you are draining it that you don't set it down and lose it. My biggest peeve was the weight of the cooler. I literally could not lift it by myself when it was loaded so getting it in and out of the truck was a 2 person job. (thankfully, because of the wheels I was able to move it around camp by myself without any issues)
Overall I really liked the RovR RollR 60. If you like to bike to the beach and take a cooler or to do walk-in campsites this is the way to go. It was so nice to have the additional storage bin on to to help minimize the amounts of trips we needed to make back and forth and it was so easy to pull. Make sure you are either super strong or plan to have help loading and unloading the cooler from a vehicle (again, this would be a great reason to just tow it behind a bike).
This campground is on a beautiful lake! The store is the only one nearby and serves many campers outside the campground. Often, they have a parking guide for those visiting the store. I encourage you to rent a boat and travel the lake bright and early. Store and boat rentals are seasonal. This campground is usually very busy! There is so much beauty around to take in so for many it's just a place to sleep. Enjoy the lake, trails, and tall pines. Be sure to stop on the way at one of the Mongollon Rim view areas!