Jacob S.
Mesa, AZ
Joined May 2019
Been camping forever but just starting out the camper life with our self restored ‘68 camper.
First to Review
Awesome Group Site

I see rumors that “No Camping” signs are going up, as of early July we did not see anything. We had a ton of family at the big Ramada which had 4 tables and a fire pit. There is a dirt volleyball court. There is a pit toilet that is a 4 minute walk away. There is a small dock for canoes, kayaks and small boats. The water was perfect, muddy but no bad smell. Lots of bugs in the evening. There are a few other sites around the lake but it is definitely limited.

Perfect out on the Water

We just spent a day out here but there were plenty of campers near the reservoir and I figured it was worth people knowing about. Water was overflowing because of a wet year. Perfect for kayaking and swimming, not too cold. Multiple sites around the waters edge, most campers seemed to be on the South and East sides.

No Camping

No overnight here which is fairly recent, I remember tents here not too long ago. We like to take the kids here to play in the water. We also use it as a finishing point for Kayaking.

There are 7 picnic tables here with a few fire pits and raised grills. Currently a fire ban is in place including charcoal. That is typical for our summer.

There is some wildlife like squirrels, lizards and waterfowl, but if you want to see animals than you should spend some time on the water. We have seen bald eagles, mud swallows, bats, herons, cardinals. We do see a lot of people fishing here and there are some good shady spots for that. I would also be on the look out for rattlesnakes and scorpions.

Great if you’re on the water

There is some no overnight camping at coon bluff or Phon D Sutton, just day use. You need a tonto pass or national parks adventure pass. While you can buy them at some of the sites like this one, they are cheaper in town, I posted a picture with pricing. Kayaking is great and there are some cool features to explore like islands in the river. The river flow is turned down during the winter so you can check online at

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv/?site_no=09502000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060

Usually flow between 400-1000 is great for anything and they maintain that mostly through the summer. If you start up further east then the far side of the river is fun to explore, be aware that usually until mid June the other side is close for Bald Eagle protection. Spend some time on the water and if you’re quiet and watching you’ll see all types of birds including eagles, hawks, cardinals, fishing birds, herons. Also there are horses throughout the river.

There are some good places for fishing and kids to play here. There are dumpsters and bathrooms but people still seem to leave garbage everywhere. Please clean up if you want these sites to stay open!

Further east the better

FYI the entrance that this references is actually further west than shown on the map. Less than a mile west of the bridge over Salt River at Pebble Beach.

I love Bulldog Canyon but some spots get overrun with quads and side by sides. Fun place for four wheeling but if you want to camp I would recommend getting into Bulldog from one of the south east entrances off the 88. If you follow the trails back far enough you reach beautiful canyons and lots of sandstone and lava rock formations. 4x4 is definitely necessary if you want to go very far but I did it in a 95 Cherokee without a lift so it’s not too rough. This is pack in pack out camping, find a spot wherever you can. Make sure to get a permit in advance, you can get one in person at the ranger station off Higley day of or online if you have a few days to wait. You can definitely get to feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere pretty quick here with the winding canyons.

Amazing

We loved the trails through the woods. We saw the iconic banana slugs and all went into the hollowed out trees. Definitely worth spending a few hours just exploring. Great for kids and adults.

Bare, but great for a crowd

We stayed here for a big church camp. The group site was basically a giant gravel parking lot, could have 40 to 50 cars with tents. There are bathrooms which are kept pretty well. There is a short walk to a muddy beach area. Good for launching kayaks or SUP. The kids had fun playing in the mud on the shore. It is a gradual incline so we didn’t have to worry about kids falling into deep water off the shore. Camp and beach are very exposed to the sun. This is definitely desert camping with just low brush. There is a large Ramada with tables and a few hose spigots. Look out for cactus and scorpions, again, desert camping. We had fun going up to the dam and bridge lookouts. We met a park ranger up there that pointed out a few cool things from the construction phases and historical things like a WW2 bunker on the hill. There is also a Native American cliff dwelling site with a visitor center just down the road. That’s worth seeing as well.

First to Review
Off the path

We stayed off of the campground and hiked into the woods pretty far, I can’t speak for the campground specifically but the area is amazing. Haigler Creek is beautiful and there is so much wildlife down there. Look out for poison ivy, it is definitely around, especially close to the water. Cold nights and warm days during the summer. Fair amount of bugs around the water but not too much.

Good Family Camp

Spent a few nights up here dry camping. Sort of a rough road going out. Lots of people but we got a spot on the edge of the camp. Bathrooms are as basic as they get. Windy in the morning but settled as the day went on each day. The lake is about a mile away. There is a short but very steep hike, don’t plan on carrying too much stuff. Nowhere to launch kayaks from the campground side but we could see a boat launch on the far side of the lake. Lots of people fishing, sort of hard to find a spot on the shore with space between anyone else. The water was pretty clean and ok for swimming. The camp and lake had a decent amount of broken glass which is a bummer. Pine trees are tall but area has been pretty cleared out so campsites are a little bit exposed. We had shade as long as we moved around through the day.