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  1. #1
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    New question here. Favorite Camping Spots in Arizona

    I'm going to try and get away more this summer and hit up some nice places to camp. Where does everyone like to go? I'm talking about just driving down a dirt road and setting up shop. None of this KOA crap. Nice singletrack nearby would be a plus but not a necessity. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    We love the Woods Canyon Lake area, on the rim. It's a nice escape from the oven (Phoenix). There are tons of campgrounds on the forest roads, and the weather is great. There are some trails in that area, but I haven't ridden any of them.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  3. #3
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    I like the area near Tonto Creek for close to home camping. The road is a left hand turn off of 260 a few miles before Christopher Creek Campground half way up the rim. This location gets a lot of rain and it's absolutely lush green. You can fish in Tonto and if you park near the bridge (right at Upper Tonto Creek Campground) Horton Creek and Horton Trail) make a wonderful day hike. If you take Horton Trail for about 20 minutes then drop down into the creek it's absolutely beautiful. Waterfalls of several feet in places and crystal clear water. My kids can hike up the creek for hours.

    You can stay at Upper Tonto campground for a fee or just drive up the road towards the fish hatchery. After a few miles there is a dirt road on the left. I think it says 'to control road' but I could be wrong. There is miles of free camping down that way. If you have kids you gotta take them up to see the hatchery.

    From this location you can hit Box Canyon (Box Gorge). It's a gorge with 200 ft quartzite walls. Only 3/4 of a mile hike off 260, before Christopher Creek Campground. You can spend hours making your way from one swimming hole to the next while exploring down there. If you kids under 10 or 12 it might be too much for them to explore but you could just hike down there and check it out.

  4. #4
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    Los Burros Campground.
    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

  5. #5
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    Lockett meadow in Flag is sweet. Takes a bit more effort to get to it which limits the traffic as well. Also accesses the Inner Basin trails which aren't as well known but very cool.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  6. #6
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    cochise stronghold.

  7. #7
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    Bootlegger Campground in Sedona.

  8. #8
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    Any suggestions for campgrounds near lakes, so I can bring the pups?

  9. #9
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    There are some nice places in the aspens just west of Humphry's Peak at the western end of Heart Prarrie.

  10. #10
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    Great thread Ry Was looking for some suggestions myself as the wifey and I would like to get away more.

    Keep the suggestions coming folks.

  11. #11
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    Candy Mountain.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  12. #12
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    mmmmm. Candy Mountain, sounds yummy!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ry-daddy
    I'm going to try and get away more this summer and hit up some nice places to camp. Where does everyone like to go? I'm talking about just driving down a dirt road and setting up shop. None of this KOA crap. Nice singletrack nearby would be a plus but not a necessity. Any suggestions?
    One of the most unique hikes I could suggest is Aravipa Canyon, especially if you're into birdwatching.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  14. #14
    sonoranbiker
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    Top of Schnebly Hill Rd. on the Mogollon rim outside of Sedona. Take Schnebly Hill up to the rim, go a bit past and hang a right on Rd. 152A (I believe). You need high clearance and maybe 4WD to get far on the road. A little exploring will take you to a campsite about 40 feet from the Mogollon Rim, looking down the canyon that Schnebly Hill Rd. comes up. Absolutely beautiful.

    Wet Beaver Creek near the Bell Crossing is another one of my favorites, but not for riding. Just for swimming and relaxing. Not a drive-in site.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ry-daddy
    mmmmm. Candy Mountain, sounds yummy!
    Looks like this.

    It's basically the land that's directly north of Sunrise Ski Resort. There are other places in AZ, but this has got to be one of the top.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  16. #16
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    I like the White Mountains area. The east fork of the black river is where we camp. There's a real nice loop just a few miles from Big Lake I did a few years back. I think its about 12 miles long and then I rode back to camp which was about another 8 miles. Not bad for someone who's 255lbs and riding a 36lbs freeride bike. I'll be up there again in July and will be riding the same loop. It probably not to far from the pics that Jayem posted.

  17. #17
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    If you like or need a developed FS type campground, Benny Creek on 373 is hard to beat.
    From whitemtns12jun09


    Los Burros is also pretty nice, and has access to a fantastic trail system, though it is a popular spot with the quads and guns crowd. It's free, the camp host was awesome, and even gave me access to his firewood. This last weekend, one of my neighbors at LB brought his gas generator to power a TV to entertain his kids and noisily ran it from 8:00 to 9:30pm. You know, for that total nature experience.
    From whitemtns12jun09


    If you don't need the developed amenities, you can always pull off virtually any FS road and set up.

  18. #18
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    Rainbow Rim Trail has my vote...

    I was just there yesterday riding with some friends.

    Plenty of views are pretty close to said camping area.

  19. #19
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    This is great!
    Thanks for all the postings. Keep em' coming.

    azepic, thanks for the pics. The Rainbow Rim trail was already on my short list for this summer but with views like this now I definitely have to go. I'm thinking maybe mid August.

  20. #20
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    Wow, that Rim trail site has some crazy views...
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  21. #21
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    PaulB....what was the name of that trail I rode last summer that starts up near Big Lake and ends at that campground between Eager and Greer?

    Anyhoo...that's a cool place to camp with good singletrack that hasn't been mentioned yet...
    When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CactusJoe
    PaulB....what was the name of that trail I rode last summer that starts up near Big Lake and ends at that campground between Eager and Greer?

    Anyhoo...that's a cool place to camp with good singletrack that hasn't been mentioned yet...
    Was it South Fork Campground?

    Here's a link to my blog post about some riding I did with Paul B's buds up in the Mont Blanche's:http://u2metoo.blogspot.com/2008/08/...ntains-az.html

  23. #23
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    Okay guys, narrowing it down a bit for my weekend.

    Looking for a campground that is near a lake large enough to put a boat on. We would like to go camping then take the boat out in the morning. Would like it to be within a 3 hour drive up north.

    I was thinking of camping on the Tonto Creek, up by the Hatchery. I know there is a lake by there, but I can't remember how big it is or if powered boats were allowed on the water. (Haven't been up there in over 6 years.)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DKeeney
    Okay guys, narrowing it down a bit for my weekend.

    I was thinking of camping on the Tonto Creek, up by the Hatchery. I know there is a lake by there, but I can't remember how big it is or if powered boats were allowed on the water. (Haven't been up there in over 6 years.)
    Tonto Creek is just below the rim. Woods Canyon lake is 20 minute drive up 260. Get to the top of the rim and take a left on Forest Lakes rd, it's across from the ranger station which you should stop by and check out the great view from the back porch. Anyway Woods Canyon lake is just 10 minutes down the dirt road. It's a very popular place so don't expect to be alone. Plenty big but I don't think motorized boats are allowed, except trolling motors maybe.

    If you want bathrooms the Upper Tonto Creek campground in very nice. It only has 9 sites and the ones in front are all cramed together. The back ones have lots of tree cover and the creek is a 30 second walk. Horton trail TH and creek is another 30 second walk and the Derek trail TH is right there as well. (Hike Horton, the water will be above ground after a 1/2 mile or so). I was there 3 weeks ago and fires were still allowed in the established campgrounds like Upper Tonto and Christopher Creek but they are restricted everywhere else, so be prepared for no fire or charcoal if you set up camp yourself anywhere in the Tonto National Forest. Oh, you gotta check out Box Gorge/Canyon.

  25. #25
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    I have not been out there yet but I here is primitive camping out Woody Mountain Road right on the edge of the rim with views of Sedona. Anyone know anything about this area?

    Dean

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    If you want bathrooms the Upper Tonto Creek campground in very nice. It only has 9 sites and the ones in front are all cramed together. The back ones have lots of tree cover and the creek is a 30 second walk.

    How fast do these campsites fill up?

  27. #27
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    Excellent topic

  28. #28
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    If you camp near Tonto ride 260 with access called"260 Trailhead." Its pretty easy to find and worth riding. In fact, if your up there Friday around 830 am I will be up there with about 4 guys from the Payson area.

    Have Fun.

  29. #29
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    Mt Graham

    Quote Originally Posted by DKeeney
    Any suggestions for campgrounds near lakes, so I can bring the pups?
    Snow Flat on Mt Graham is my AZ favorite. There's a small pond and behind it a 1/3 mile trail to viewpoint. Trails nearby are Grant Hill and Cunningham MTB trails. Also several possible descents off the mountain. Arcadia Trail will be a good descent again in a few years, fire and trail damage.
    3rd highest mountain in AZ. Just stay away from Riggs Lake, most crowded place on the mountain, by far.
    agmtb

  30. #30
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    Kaibab 101/AZ Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry-daddy
    This is great!
    Thanks for all the postings. Keep em' coming.

    azepic, thanks for the pics. The Rainbow Rim trail was already on my short list for this summer but with views like this now I definitely have to go. I'm thinking maybe mid August.
    If riding the Rainbow Rim I'd also suggest the nearby Arizona Trail, espically from the East Rim Viewpoint. Riding thru aspens,meadows. More fun than the Rainbow but the views aren't as good.
    agmtb

  31. #31
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    Though I've never camped at the spot I'm about to suggest, I've ridden through the camping
    areas many times and they look fantastic.

    Anywhere along side of the top 3 miles of the Mt Lemmon fire control road on the North
    face of Mt Lemmon. It's beautiful up there.

    And there is a lake up on the mountain; Rose Canyon Lake. I've seen the camping area
    many times while driving by, but have never ventured in and to the lake. The lake itself is
    not visible from the road. I have no idea what it looks like...yet.

    http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/waters_rose_canyon_lake.shtml

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...-8&sa=N&tab=wi
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  32. #32
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    Any suggestions near Preskit? We're heading up there late Friday. No riding due to my ankle. But camping none the less.

  33. #33
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    Lynx Lake...(you can rent a boat and tool around the lake) but it's usually crowded.

    Granite Basin (but you'll wish you had your bike)

    Both places are still close enough to Whiskey Row for night time activities!
    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

  34. #34
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    Ry-daddy when we used to camp near Prescit we basicaly just pointed the car towards the mountain. Drive up till you find a spot.

    As for other spots: Mountains outside of Williams or near Morman Lake. There are a lot of places near Morman lake & lake Mary that you don't have to be right on top of other people (unless your weekend is going well ) Plus you can head into Mormon Lk Lodge for some boot scoot boogey.
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  35. #35
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    Another vote for Lake Mary. There's KOA-style campgrounds as well as dirt roads you can take off into the woods to set up a private camp. The lake's big enough for a boat. And there's plenty of single-track nearby including the AZ Trail.

    I was just there a few weekends ago, and I rode the Mormon Mountain Loop from PaulB's Mountain Bike Arizona book (thanks Paul!). It was a grueling 8-mile climb followed by a fast downhill. Near the peak, I spotted a black bear running off the trail into the woods. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Pretty cool experience.

  36. #36
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    South of Prescott is Groom Creek. You can camp in the organized campground or go to the first road south of the campground and go left, then about .7 mile go left again and camp for free on the ridge. This puts you close to trail #297 loop a very fun, scenic trail.
    Last edited by abegold; 06-18-2009 at 04:01 PM.
    agmtb

  37. #37
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    Riggs Lake - Mt. Graham?

    Mt Lemmon or another fav.. at the top of Mt Graham Riggs Lake is a very cool
    spot.

    Coming in second? oh wait.. third place.. Cochise Stronghold near
    Benson.. too hot now.

  38. #38
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    White Spar campground is nice - just a few miles west of downtown Prescott. Singletrack starts right at the campground. Did a really nice 3 1/2 hour ride with no driving from camp. Pretty and close enough to town for easy provisions.

  39. #39
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    I gotta agree camping along rainbow rim is pretty sweet. Get some riding in, amazing views (as seen in the pics), and primitive camping right on the rim. I'm actually planning to go 4th of july weekend with the little lady. Went last year with a couple friends, I've been jonesing to take the little lady there ever since.
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  40. #40
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    Didn't make it up to Prescott last weekend so I'm heading up to 4peaks Friday. Anybody know what the weather will be like near the top?

  41. #41
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    90's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry-daddy
    I'm heading up to 4peaks Friday. Anybody know what the weather will be like near the top?
    90's? Maybe over 100 if you don't go high enough.

  42. #42
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    I just came across this link.

    AZ Top 50 campsites
    http://www.greatoutdoors.com/publish...tes-in-arizona

  43. #43
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    Wet beaver creek; just for the name.

  44. #44
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    I used to enjoy Fossil Creek and the Sliderock area but in the last ten years it has become MUCH MORE public. No longer are the days of throwing a keg in the back of the truck and going up there to do some underage drinking away from the cops because no one really knew about the places, now everyone is hip to the areas and it ruins the beauty of it.

  45. #45
    Meatbomb
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    Quote Originally Posted by DKeeney
    How fast do these campsites fill up?

    On a holiday weekend, with only 9 spots, I'd say they will be take by Thursday.

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