the dyrt
Audrey R.
Glendale, AZ
Joined October 2018
Marine, mom, mate (hey, let's keep the alliteration going), professed preservationist, solitude seeker, camping crazed, avid adventurer. Needs nature.
Perfect for staying close to Sedona w/o the crowds

This is a dispersed camping area so no facilities. It's pretty rocky so 4x4 is highly encouraged. It's really quiet except the occasional hunting activity. You can find plenty of spots right off the road or walk in a little farther. You'll be able to pull your truck in no problem and some spaces are large and flat enough for RVs and campers. Sedona should be on your list of must-sees if you're a visitor to Arizona. Take a jeep or helicopter tour! Visit Slide Rock when it's warm enough out to swim. Airport lookout and the vortex offer great photo ops at sunset.

The "lake" that never sleeps?

Lake Havasu is party city as far as lakes are concerned. Plenty of drinking and skin showing. It is large, however, so you can get away from it a little if you find a quiet cove. I've never seen this lake quiet but it's still an escape from the heat and also a good place for water activities as a group and not to mention, it's beautiful. Or, if you're social, boat up to a sandbar. The water always seems to be warm. You can camp right on the shoreline. Part of our group was on the shoreline by the little lighthouse while we stayed in the trailers.

Boat access only

This camping area is on Saguaro Lake and only offers boat-in camping. You'll need a Tonto National forest permit with watercraft sticker. It's beautiful here. The lake itself can be crowded but I think it's worth a chance, especially considering most are coming for day use. Nearby you can do Salt Water River Tubing or visit the (now second) tallest fountain in the world at Fountain Hills. Once you get off the highway, the drive down is beautiful. The water always looks so blue and seeing wild horses is almost a guarantee!

Bugs and bees but easy lake access.

Bugs, bees and trash seem to be more prevalent than normal but you can find easy access to the shoreline for fishing or camping. You need a permit to visit which can be purchased at the Marina. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend the flats or the yellow cliffs (you’ll see the signs). Great fishing lake! The drive is beautiful and towns of Carefree and Cave Creek are pleasant and unique. If you go in monsoon season, you’re sure to see some amazing skies! Cell service is intermittent.

RVers Haven

If you prefer RV and cabin camping and don't mind being right next to your neighbor with no privacy, take a look at this campground. It's a great little family spot with a mini water park and activities. Visiting historic Saratoga? You're only about 30 minutes away. If you're skipping the race track, you can walk the strip which includes some high-end restaurants, a cigar shop, an upscale cinema, unique pubs and Starbucks (of course). Close to the town of Mechanicville, NY, you'll have easy access to a regular grocery store. If you're not from the capital region, do yourself a favor and visit Albany which is about 40 minutes away and eye candy for photographers. Speaking of photos, I'm looking for my files from this summer to provide photos from the campground. Before going to Albany, if this is not your home state, be sure of the directions beforehand. It can get a little tricky finding your way around. Again, this place is great if you don't care about lack of privacy. Contrary to the website, you really can't get much solitude here. Take advantage of Saratoga and Albany and retreat to the campground for a fairly nearby, safe place to stay.

Not a campground; area with endless campgrounds

"Rim refers to the Mogollon Rim that extends nearly 200 miles from just southwest of Flagstaff to the White Mountains of eastern Arizona." https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/southwestern/RimLakes/index.shtml

The recreation area encompasses the following lakes: Bear Canyon, Black Canyon, Woods Canyon, Chevelon Canyon, Knoll, and Willow Springs. You'll find a wealth of established campgrounds with facilities and even more opportunities for dispersed camping. Most of your destinations in this area do not require 4x4 but it'd be very wise. It will take a lot longer to get to where ever you're going and you won't be able to explore quite as much. In rain or snow, it's likely you'll get stuck. So, if it's an option, take the 4x4. Hiking and photo opportunities abound! You may be the only one around so be prepared.

Off the beaten path

The lake is beautiful as all the Rim Lakes are. The terrain for the sites is very rugged. The lake requires a downhill hike of less than a mile but the way back up is strenuous for most, especially if you are carrying a boat. If you have an ATV, I highly recommend bringing it. There are 6-8 campsites above the lake but if you boat to the other end of the lake you can also pitch a tent there (which I have yet to do). Because the lake isn't easily accessible, it's usually pretty quiet here and you'll only see some ATVers or fishermen and women. If you want to make use of the lake by meeting the challenge of getting watercraft down and back up, then camp at this spot. Otherwise, it's a long way out just to camp 3/4 a mile away from a lake.

Love the nature aspect, not keen on the sites

You're surrounded by beauty here, but you may also be surrounded with neighbors. The sites offer little privacy even though they're spaced well. The lean-to's are a great amenity but I expected more mature landscaping to offer privacy. Still, we did one of the little hikes and ended at a viewpoint. My kind of place for a day trip more-so than a camping trip but if you don't mind the openness in a small campground then there's not really another downside. In addition, Brattleboro is nearby. Enjoy nature and the views and don't forget the bug spray!

They thought of just about everything

My mom and I don't have the same camping styles, at all. She was treating my boys and I to an adventure which included Clark's Trading Post (the bear show is a must-see) less than 30 minutes away. I wasn't going to be picky so I conceded. I was pleasantly surprised! They thought of nearly everything. There was a playground and activities for the kids, an indoor pool, and store (must spend $10 to use a card by the way). The sites were smaller than I'm used to with dispersed camping but they were still decently sized. We stayed in one of the little adorable cabins, for convenience sake, which had potable water. The boys loved it. I loved it. But no, this doesn't guarantee I'll trust my mom's camping choices from now on. Great spot nonetheless!

Bring water and take a hike

This area is best for its hiking and photo ops, in my humble opinion. As with most desert campgrounds in Arizona, there is not much privacy between the sites but take advantage of the beauty. The waterfall trail is an easy hike and very doable with kids. You can only bring a stroller so far unless it's an off-roading stroller but the hike is worth it (especially if there's water flowing). There's a playground across from the trailhead in case all else fails and someone stays behind with he little ones. Restrooms are thoughtfully placed here. DO watch for rattle snakes on this trail and all for that matter. Also, bring a lot of water and then some. Stop at the Visitor Center and library on your way in. You're not far removed from civilization so anything you need is just a brief drive away.

4x4 Recommended

Unlike some of the more popular lakes in the area, Black Canyon Lake offers more serenity. Don't expect a great fishing experience, however, as the lake is rarely stocked any more. Nonetheless, even with its low levels, it's a beautiful sight. Take a walk around the lake until you reach the dam. Walk back to your dispersed site, lay in the hammock or sit around the campfire and wait for the wild horses to stop by. Great place for seclusion except for the occasional firearm echos and the one time there was an exceptionally rowdy bunch. There are restrooms by the lake but that could be quite a distance for a potty break depending on where you set up camp so bring a shovel in case. Please be prepared to CARRY OUT your trash. Do not leave it. Do not burn it. Thank you! Enjoy!

Perhaps one of the greatest places in AZ

If you camp for the pure love of nature, this place is for you. The drive alone is inspiring! There is a fee for camping which you should plan to leave in the box (yes, they do come around to check eventually). This campground fee is in addition to the fee you pay on the way up so carry cash. With so many views, trails, and photo ops, you couldn't ask for more. But if you do anyway, be sure to travel to the top of the mountain for some fudge in the gift shop and DO NOT miss the view of the creek. You may have to find a spot to park and walk about a half mile but it's just beautiful and it'd be sad for you to miss it since you're already up there. There is a lake within driving distance; you'll pass it on the way up. DO NOT feed the bears, please; for their safety (Seriously; they'll get euthanized).

Great for Families!

Okay, so the sites aren't primitive but they're big enough, beautiful, and usually right on the creek. Cabins are also an option. This is a privately owned campground. They have plenty of activities for the kids as if being right on Oak Creek isn't enough and are very accommodating. Ask to use one of the wheelbarrows to bring down your firewood. Restrooms and showers are available but if you're hoping for a shower, just know the early bird gets the worm!

You're not there for the camping

If the sites had a little more privacy, I'd give five stars. Whenever I take my family, I remind myself I'm not there for the actual tent camping, I'm there for everything else the state park offers. There are about eight small cabins as well. This park offers a much needed break from the Arizona heat in the spring and summer months. The "lakes" are really more like ponds but plenty large enough to fish in as is the Verde River, running through the park. Make sure to go down and take a dip during the warm seasons. They've recently improved the playground for young ones and offer horseback riding as well. Facilities are always clean. If you're tired of camping food, drive down the road to Cottonwood and be sure to visit Larry's Antiques (if you're into that of course).

It's worth a stop even for a day

In the winter, you can hear the ice cracking on the lake which other than wildlife may be all you hear. I'm all about solitude. If you're camping, pick one of the large group sites here and you'll have it! Lake level is often low and fish are scarce but have fun trying anyway. It's beautiful. Camp hosts have always been friendly, helpful, and keep the facilities clean. Listen in for one of the informative nature talks they offer most weekends. This lake is close to the adorable town of Williams. Enjoy the nostalgic Route 66 town shops and restaurants and take a ride on the Polar Express!

Just don't go on a holiday weekend

If you go during the winter months (that is, if roads are open), you may likely be the only one there! The lake is not very easily accessible for camping but it's an easy hike down for fishing, photography, and simply enjoying nature. Keep your eyes peeled, you may spot a bald eagle. The actual campground is usually crowded with no privacy. Perhaps suitable for a large group. Restrooms, never mind, just bring a shovel and use the woods; it's cleaner. Just don't be disgusting and leave it all out. Leave No Trace, PLEASE. Also, you'll need to carry out all your trash. On a holiday weekend (Labor Day especially) there are so many visitors but otherwise only a few venture out that way. Your best bet for solitude is to drive 2-4 miles passed the campground which will be on your right and find a good dispersed spot. Just bring ribbon or rope to mark a tree from the road in case you need to travel down to Woods Canyon Lake store or out to a Rim viewpoint for cell service.

Book long in advance!

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!

Small, quiet and picturesque skies

The road in can usually be traveled without 4x4 but it doesn't hurt. The campground is small but there's another just by if it's full. This is a fishing lake not a swimming one so leave your suits at home and enjoy a nature walk or campfire in peace and quiet. Campsites are decent size and just enough privacy but all a short walk to restroom. Beware of the steep boat ramp. The skies when you're out there look like a painting!

Perfect Little Oasis in the Southwest

Even when it's busy, it's not overwhelmingly so. Visit the beach, walk the bridge, rent a boat, or fish the lake during your camping trip. I love this place. Different ambiance than most AZ lakes. Plenty of RV parking or for tent campers preferring privacy, make sure to book a boat-in site. If you book early enough, you can snag site 38! It's technically a boat-in site but you can park in the parking lot and walk a short distance down the stairs to your own private little area. Of course, you'll have passersby looking for a great fishing spot or just walking the lake but otherwise this is your best bet for privacy without actually having a boat. Bathrooms and showers have always been clean during my trips. Convenient store always had necessities and ice cream cones to top it off. There is cell phone service but check your roaming! At times service providers will detect your in Mexico! I love this place.

Desert Oasis

You can camp right on the shore at this lake or choose a designated camp site but know you won’t have any privacy. This is generally a very popular place so avoid in peak season if you’re looking for solitude. Boat rentals are available and you’ll have several docking options. Take one of the hiking trails offering gorgeous views of desert landscape and blue lake water. You’ll also usually spot a few wild burros (donkeys). Great recreation lake.