Camping in the Arizona White Mountains

Arizona’s best camping experience

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Discover Great Camping in the Arizona White Mountains

The Arizona White Mountains: Serenity in the Wild

Find Solitude

As you seek solitude from the bustling pace of everyday life, the idea of camping amidst the tranquil beauty of nature becomes increasingly inviting. Imagine your temporary home nestled between a thicket of towering trees, the crisp air seeping into your tent, the comforting lull of the forest whispers, and a celestial canopy overhead.

If this is the kind of adventure that stirs your soul, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona should be at the top of your list.

Discover The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, straddling eastern Arizona’s border with New Mexico, offer an outdoor experience like no other.

The verdant expanse, spread over two million acres, is a splendid medley of high country landscapes, picturesque meadows, crystalline lakes, and winding trails.

Whether you are an ardent nature lover, an avid bird-watcher, or a seasoned hiker, this magical forest will leave you mesmerized.

5 Best Campgrounds Near Alpine Arizona

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Dispersed Camping In Arizona’s White Mountain Alpine Ranger District

Unearth The Splendors of Dispersed Camping in Arizona's Alpine Ranger District A Comprehensive Guide to Camping in Arizona's White Mountain Region - Alpine Ranger District As the summer sun dips below the horizon, the chilly air of the Alpine Ranger District sweeps...

Exhaustive List of Arizona White Mountain Camp Sites

Embark on a journey to the breathtaking Arizona White Mountains, a hidden gem for camping enthusiasts seeking solitude, adventure, and communion with nature. This exhaustive guide is your ultimate companion to exploring the diverse camping opportunities, from national forest campgrounds to secluded dispersed camping areas, and accommodating RV parks. Discover the pristine beauty of Arizona’s high country with our meticulously curated list of camp sites, each offering unique features to enhance your outdoor experience.

National Forest Campgrounds

Other Campgrounds

  • Hawley Lake Campground  – (Operated by the White Mountain Apache Tribe, thus falling under a special category.)
  • Luna Lake Campground  (Not explicitly categorized, but typically managed by a combination of U.S. Forest Service and local entities.)
  • Raccoon Campground – (Dispersed camping areas are generally on national forest land but are distinct from developed campgrounds.)
  • Rainbow Campground  – (Aligning with national forest management but listed separately for additional details.)

Don’t miss these popular Big Lake campgrounds!

Information and links for reservations for 5 amazing Big Lake campgrounds

1. Big Lake Campground

  • Features:
    • Nestled at an elevation of 9,000 feet, offering cool summer temperatures
    • Over 200 campsites with amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and grills
    • Access to Big Lake, renowned for trout fishing
    • Nearby hiking and biking trails
  • Directions: Accessible via Highway 260 and Forest Road 113, approximately 26 miles south of Eagar, AZ.

Article on Big Lake

Big Lake Campground

2. Hannagan Meadow Campground

  • Features:
    • High elevation camping (over 9,100 feet) in a serene meadow setting
    • 23 sites suitable for tent and small trailer use
    • Proximity to hiking trails, including a stretch of the Arizona Trail
    • Seasonal wildflower displays and wildlife viewing
  • Directions: Located off U.S. Highway 191, about 22 miles south of Alpine, AZ.

Article on Hannagan Meadow

Hannagan Meadow Campground

3. Los Burros Campground

  • Features:
    • Dispersed camping in a historic area with old logging trails
    • Ideal for tent camping and small RVs
    • Access to Los Burros Trail for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding
    • No water or facilities, embodying a true off-grid experience
  • Directions: Take Highway 260 to McNary, south on Vernon-McNary Road for approximately 6 miles, then follow signs to the campground.

4. Black River Area

  • Features:
    • Remote dispersed camping along the scenic Black River
    • Perfect for anglers, with abundant opportunities for trout fishing
    • Wild and rugged terrain for experienced campers
    • No amenities; leave-no-trace principles are a must
  • Directions: From Alpine, drive south on US 191 for about 30 miles, then turn west onto FR 276 towards the river.

5. Show Low Lake Campground

  • Features:
    • 75 RV sites with full hookups (electricity, water, and sewer)
    • Located adjacent to Show Low Lake, offering boating and fishing
    • On-site amenities include a convenience store, boat rentals, and laundry facilities
    • Pet-friendly with restrictions
  • Directions: Just south of Show Low on Highway 260, turn east on Show Low Lake Road and follow the signs to the campground.

Click for Show Low Lake Camping Reservations and Information

6. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

  • Features:
    • Modern campground with sites for RVs, tents, and cabins
    • All RV sites come with electric and water hookups, with some offering sewer as well
    • Lake access for fishing, swimming, and boating
    • Playground, picnic areas, and nature trails
  • Directions: In Show Low, follow signs from Highway 260 to Fool Hollow Lake.

More on Fool Hollow Lake:

7. Apache-Sitgreaves Observatory Campground

  • Features:
    • Unique camping experience near an operational observatory
    • Educational programs and stargazing opportunities
    • Primitive sites suitable for tents and small campers
    • Surrounded by dense forest, offering cool temperatures and wildlife viewing
  • Directions: Located near the community of Overgaard, access via Highway 260 and follow signs for the observatory.

8. Greer Lakes Campground

  • Features:
    • Secluded campsites near three popular fishing lakes: Bunch, Tunnel, and River Reservoirs
    • Ideal for tent camping with limited RV spaces
    • Nearby trails for hiking and mountain biking
    • Pristine natural setting for a peaceful retreat
  • Directions: From Eagar, head west on Highway 260 towards Greer, then follow signs to the lakes.

9. Lyman Lake State Park

  • Features:
    • A state park that offers a mix of RV and tent camping sites with utility hookups
    • Lyman Lake, accessible for boating, swimming, and fishing
    • Petroglyphs and hiking trails exploring the local history and landscape
    • Rentals available for cabins and yurts for a unique camping experience
  • Directions: Located 11 miles south of St. Johns on Highway 191.

Lyman Lake information and reservations

10. Blue Crossing Campground

  • Features:
    • Quiet, secluded camping in a picturesque setting by the Blue River
    • Basic amenities include picnic tables and fire rings; no water or electrical hookups
    • Excellent spot for wildlife observation, fishing, and hiking
    • Suitable for tent camping and small RVs or trailers
  • Directions: Access from Alpine via US 191 south, then east on Blue River Road (FR 281) for about 10 miles.

11. Rainbow Campground

  • Features:
    • The largest campground in the Big Lake Recreation Area with over 150 sites
    • Sites available for tents, trailers, and RVs with no hookups
    • Close proximity to Big Lake for fishing and boating
    • Amenities include showers, flush toilets, and a dump station
  • Directions: From Springerville, take Highway 260 west, turn south on Highway 273, and follow the signs to Big Lake and Rainbow Campground.

Rainbow Campground Reservations

Forestry Info

12. Alpine Divide Campground

  • Features:
    • Small, cozy campground ideal for tent camping and small campers
    • Located in a beautiful meadow with easy access to Alpine and the surrounding wilderness
    • Basic amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets
    • Great base for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing
  • Directions: In Alpine, turn south off US 191 onto Forest Road 249 and travel approximately 2 miles to the campground.

13. Hawley Lake Campground

  • Features:
    • Scenic views of Hawley Lake and surrounding forest
    • Fishing, boating, and kayaking opportunities
    • Various campsites including tent and RV spots without hookups
    • Cooler temperatures due to high elevation
  • Directions: Located within the White Mountain Apache Reservation, accessible via reservation roads from Pinetop-Lakeside.

Article on Hawley Lake

Hawley Lake Campground

14. Luna Lake Campground

  • Features:
    • Lakeside camping with stunning views of Luna Lake
    • Fishing for trout and catfish
    • Sites for tents and RVs with basic amenities like picnic tables and fire rings
    • Wildlife viewing and bird watching
  • Directions: East of Alpine on US Highway 180.

15. KP Cienega Campground

  • Features:
    • High elevation meadow camping with cool temperatures
    • Close to hiking and horseback riding trails
    • Stream fishing nearby
    • Primitive camping with few amenities, perfect for a serene getaway
  • Directions: South of Alpine, off US Highway 191 on Forest Road 249.

16. Horse Springs Campground

  • Features:
    • Secluded camping experience in a forested setting
    • Ideal for tent camping with basic facilities
    • Access to hiking and equestrian trails
    • Nearby streams for fishing
  • Directions: Accessed from US Highway 191, near Nutrioso.

17. Drift Fence Campground

  • Features:
    • Small, quiet campground in a wooded area
    • Suitable for tents and small trailers
    • Close to trails for hiking and mountain biking
    • Basic amenities like picnic tables and fire rings
  • Directions: North of Big Lake on Forest Road 249.

18. Raccoon Campground

  • Features:
    • Dispersed camping area in a forested environment
    • Ideal for those seeking a primitive camping experience
    • Access to nearby trails for hiking and wildlife viewing
    • No amenities, ensuring a rugged outdoor adventure
  • Directions: Specific directions vary, located within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, inquire locally for best access points.

19. Cutthroat Campground

  • Features:
    • Secluded sites near streams known for trout fishing
    • Perfect for anglers and those seeking peace and quiet
    • Primitive camping without amenities
    • Surrounded by dense forest offering shade and cool temperatures
  • Directions: Located in the vicinity of Big Lake and accessible via forest roads.

Cutthroat Campground Reservations

Forestry Info

20. Benny Creek Campground

  • Features:
    • Family-friendly campground near Greer
    • Sites for RVs and tents with basic amenities
    • Close to Benny Creek for fishing
    • Nearby access to hiking and mountain biking trails
  • Directions: Off Highway 373, near Greer, AZ.

21. Diamond Rock Campground

  • Features:
    • Situated along a scenic creek with opportunities for fishing and wildlife viewing
    • Shaded sites suitable for tents and small RVs
    • Access to hiking trails in a tranquil forest setting
    • Basic facilities including picnic tables and vault toilets
  • Directions: South of Alpine on US Highway 191, followed by forest roads leading to the campground.

22. Winn Campground

  • Features:
    • Spacious sites in a forested area with tall pines
    • Close to Sunrise Park Resort for outdoor activities
    • Facilities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets
    • Ideal for families and groups
  • Directions: Near Greer, accessible via Highway 260 and Highway 373.

Winn Campground Reservations

Forestry Information

23. Grayling Campground

  • Features:
    • Quiet, secluded camping near Big Lake
    • Sites nestled in a dense forest setting
    • Access to lake for fishing and boating
    • Basic amenities for a comfortable, rustic experience
  • Directions: Follow directions for Big Lake and look for signs to Grayling Campground.

Grayling Campground Reservations

Forestry Info

24. Deer Creek Campground

  • Features:
    • Small campground offering an intimate connection with nature
    • Nearby Deer Creek for fishing enthusiasts
    • Sites suitable for tents and small trailers
    • Basic amenities in a serene forest setting
  • Directions: Accessed from US Highway 191, near Hannagan Meadow.

25. Brookchar Campground

  • Features:
    • Lakeside camping at Big Lake with beautiful views
    • Designated for tent camping only
    • Close to amenities and recreational activities in Big Lake area
    • Fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities
  • Directions: Located in the Big Lake Recreation Area, accessible via Highway 273.

Brookchar Campground Reservations

Forestry Info

26. Gabaldon Horse Campground

  • Features:
    • Equestrian-friendly campground with facilities for horses
    • Direct access to trails for horseback riding
    • Sites include horse corrals and basic camping amenities
    • Open to all campers, not just those with horses
  • Directions: East of Pinetop-Lakeside on Highway 260, then north on Forest Road 300.

27. Buffalo Crossing Campground

  • Features:
    • Situated near the East Fork of the Black River for excellent fishing
    • Shaded sites in a dense forest setting
    • Ideal for tent camping with basic amenities
    • Access to trails and wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Directions: South of Alpine, accessible via US Highway 191 and forest roads.

28. Aspen Campground

  • Features:
    • Large campground suitable for RVs and tents
    • Near Woods Canyon Lake for fishing and boating
    • Facilities include picnic tables, fire rings, and flush toilets
    • Popular for family camping trips
  • Directions: Off Highway 260, near the Rim Visitor Center.

29. Apache Trout Campground

  • Features:
    • Modern campground within the Big Lake Recreation Area
    • Facilities for RVs with hookups and tent sites
    • Close to Big Lake for water activities and fishing
    • Amenities include showers, flush toilets, and a dump station
  • Directions: Access through Highway 260 to Highway 273, within the Big Lake area.

Apache Trout Campground Reservations

Forestry Info

Tips for Camping in the Arizona White Mountains

 

  • Reservations: Many campgrounds require reservations, especially during peak seasons. Check availability and book in advance.
  • Wildlife: The area is home to elk, deer, bears, and other wildlife. Store food securely and maintain a clean campsite.
  • Altitude: Many sites are at high elevation. Prepare for cooler temperatures and acclimate to the altitude.
  • Leave No Trace: Practice leave-no-trace principles to minimize your impact on the natural environment. Pack out all trash and leave sites as you found them.
  • Fire Safety: Follow all fire restrictions and guidelines. Use fire rings where provided and never leave fires unattended.

Camping in the Arizona White Mountains offers an escape into a world of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and tranquil retreats. From the lush meadows of Hannagan Meadow to the shimmering waters of Fool Hollow Lake, each campsite presents its own set of wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time explorer, the White Mountains await with open arms and endless possibilities.

Go Camping In The Arizona White Mountains

The camping opportunities here are as vast as the landscape itself. With over a dozen campgrounds, Apache-Sitgreaves welcomes the casual camper, the RV traveler, and the backcountry adventurer with open arms.

For those who favor an array of amenities, the developed campgrounds such as Aspen, Rainbow, and Winn are worth considering.

They provide well-maintained sites with restroom facilities, potable water, and fire rings. If you prefer RV camping, Ponderosa and Brookchar campgrounds offer suitable facilities including RV hookups and dump stations.

Experience The Outdoors

The campgrounds in Apache-Sitgreaves are not just places to rest but also gateways to endless outdoor activities. Spend a day fishing in the Blue River or Big Lake, an angler’s paradise brimming with trout.

Explore the diverse flora and fauna as you hike or bike on over 1,000 miles of trails.

Discover awe-inspiring panoramic views from the Mogollon Rim, or marvel at the celestial spectacle through the pristine skies, a perfect spot for stargazing.

Connect With Nature

In this world away from the world, you’ll reconnect with nature on a profound level. You will learn to appreciate the simple joys — waking up to the sound of chirping birds, enjoying your morning coffee with the aroma of pine in the air, or sharing stories around a crackling campfire under the starlit sky.

Respect The Forest

But remember, camping in Apache-Sitgreaves, or any national forest for that matter, is not just about enjoyment; it’s about respect. Always follow the Leave No Trace principles. This not only ensures the preservation of our natural resources but also enhances the camping experience for everyone.

Plan Your Escape

Camping in the Arizona White Mountains is not merely an escape; it’s an experience that truly humbles us before the grandeur of nature. So, pack your gear, lace up your boots, and embark on an unforgettable adventure that awaits you in the heart of Arizona’s wilderness.

When the sounds of nature replace the noises of everyday life, you will find a peace that is hard to describe. That is the promise of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests — a serene escape, a vibrant playground, and a rich ecosystem teeming with life.

Come, immerse yourself in the beauty of these majestic forests and discover a side of Arizona that will captivate your senses, soothe your spirit, and leave you with cherished memories

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