There are several developed campgrounds around the Rim lakes. The entire area is gorgeous and worth the trip.
Due to weather conditions, some of the campgrounds are closed after the middle of November, but open up again in April. Check the reservation Web site, reserveusa.com, for availability.
Woods Canyon Lake
At Woods Canyon Lake, there are five different campgrounds. These sites include:
136 sites; located down the road from the lake.
26 sites; the most popular of the sites, because it is located next to Woods Canyon Lake. Make your reservations early to get into this one.
26 sites; within 1 mile of the lake. There is water at the site. There is a dumpsite nearby.
26 sites; about one-and-a-half miles from the lake.
26 sites; within 4 miles of the lake.
• Woods Canyon Group Site:
Designed for groups of up to 70 people.
• Spillway Group Site:
Groups of up to 25 people or less.
At Willow Springs Lake
• Sinkhole Campground:
26 sites; located on the west side of Willow Springs Lake. You can reach the campground by taking Forest Road 149.
Canyon Point Campground
- This campground is adjacent to Highway 260 and 3 miles east of Willow Springs Lake. There are 118 sites available. 35 of the spots have electricity hookups. Showers are also available.
Most of these campsites have nice, dirt or paved hiking trails around or near them. You will find a wonderful asphalt hiking/walking trail across the road from the Aspen Campsite. This paved trail winds through the ponderosa pine forests and meanders along the Woods Canyon Lake. Most of the trail is flat and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.
If you're not one to enjoy a designated, civilized, asphalt camping spot, there are many places along the roads where you can pitch your tent, or set up an RV.
South of Highway 260, camping is allowed along Forest Roads 171, 181, 9512E and 79. Watch for signs describing where you can camp.
Northwest of Woods Canyon Lake, you can camp along Forest Roads 195, 169, 9350, 300, 9354, 180 and 34.
Forest Road 9350 near Woods Canyon Lake has some areas to camp with great views from the Rim. You can also camp around Bear Canyon Lake and Promontory Point.
You'll have to watch for signs because some areas only allow you to camp within 300 feet of the road, while other spots allow camping at sites marked with numbered posts.
You can't camp right along Highway 260 or along Forest Road 300. But these areas are open to day use.
In all of these areas, you'll enjoy the beautiful Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The entire area is a natural habitat for elk, deer and bear -- not to mention various waterfowl around the lakes.
AT A GLANCE
Where: About 30 miles east of Payson on Highway 260
What: Campgrounds near the Rim lakes
Proximity to lake: Next to the lake, or within 3 miles of lake
Fees: Yes, except along some forest service roads
Reservations: Required at most; reserve online at: reserveusa.com