The Best Campgrounds in Arizona
Although out-of-towners often think of Arizona as a barren desert with scorching temperatures and nothing but cowboys and cacti, it actually hosts some of the most spectacular campgrounds in the country. Kelly Vaughn Kramer, Arizona native and author of Camping Guide: 100 of the Best Campgrounds in Arizona, shares her favorite campgrounds to escape to during the hot summer months.
Located in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona, KP Cienega is secluded and sits at about 9,000 feet of elevation. Although Kramer admits this campground is a bit of a drive from the city, she says it’s well worth it. “There’s a beautiful meadow with plenty of trees. Kids can go run around and play and enjoy the cool weather.”
Just up the road from KP Cienega, you’ll find Hannagan Meadow. Kramer describes this campground as “magical” and notes that it’s breathtaking at night. “It’s probably one of the best places in the state to look at stars with the naked eye. There’s no light pollution at all.”
Fool Hollow Lake
If you’re new to camping, Fool Hollow Lake is great for beginners. It’s more developed than the previously mentioned sites and has paved roads. There’s fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities. “It has amenities like showers, RV hookups, and bathrooms,” Kramer says. “It’s also close to Show Low if the kids get antsy.”
Located along Grant Creek on the southern slope of the Pinaleño Mountains, this historical campground is named for the 1880’s field hospital that used to be there. “There’s quite a few hiking trails as well as a pretty meadow where late summer wildflowers, wild onions, and rhubarb grow.”
Situated between Grant and Moonshine creeks near the top of Mount Graham, Cunningham underwent a renovation in 2009 and features fire pits and grills. Kramer notes it is also a great campground if you’re a traveler by horseback because there’s a corral, which is not very common.
For those interested in fishing and boating, Riggs Flat is located near the top of Mount Graham and features an 11-acre lake. Kramer describes this campground as “a gem” and says there’s plenty of wildlife to view and hiking trails to explore.
Located just outside of Flagstaff, Kramer says that Lockett Meadow is the host to beautiful aspens with trembling leaves and broad views of the San Francisco Peaks. “This campground is rustic, unhosted, and charming with spectacular views of the wilderness.” She also mentions that creatures such as porcupines, elk, and black bears are drawn to Lockett Meadow.
For more detailed information on these campgrounds and many more, purchase The Camping Guide online or in stores, including Barnes & Noble and Changing Hands. For more information go to www.arizonahighways.com