Camping at Woods Canyon Lake
Told by Kuma and written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith
Oh, happy day! My mom and dad loaded up our camper, and that meant we were heading to the hills. I settled into my kennel for the ride up. I never know if it will be a short or long drive since we can sleep in our camper.
This particular drive was about three hours from North Phoenix. We went through Fountain Hills on State Route 87 and followed that to Payson. There, we went east on Highway 260 to the top of the Mogollon Rim. If your family is pulling a trailer, it will be slow going with those steep inclines, but steady gets you there! Once at the Rim, take a left after mile marker 282 onto Forest Road 300 and go about 4 miles to FR30. Take a right onto RTE 105. Plenty of signs will help direct you to Woods Canyon Lake. Several camp grounds surround the lake, and we would recommend the Aspen one. Each camp site was spacious with some privacy. Reservations are encouraged, and it is $22 per night. Dogs are most welcome!
I couldn’t wait to jump out and sniff our campsite, which I did while my folks set up our camper. They have gotten pretty good at it, so I didn’t have that much time before we were heading down to Woods Canyon Lake. Although a relatively small lake at 55 acres, it is one of the most accessible of the Rim lakes and is nestled in a heavily forested area on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. The lake sits at about 7,500 feet, so be sure your humans bring warm clothes for the evening. They will also need to check snow reports. Certain parts of the Rim close with the first snowfall.
My dad chose the Aspen Campground because of its proximity to the lake. It’s an easy walk or drive. The lake has a grocery store packed with everything from food to fuel to fish bait. My dad got some worms, and fishing he went. I just had to go swimming in that cool, fresh water. Mom took pictures and enjoyed the scenery. Dad caught one fish, which did not make for a dinner, but Mom had his back.
We made our way back to the camper for dinner, and my folks played games under the stars. I slept soundly wrapped up in my special doggy blanket, and we ate a hearty breakfast that included bacon. This day was already awesome! We headed back to the Rim and down the 260 to Christopher Creek Road. If you remember reading about our Horton Creek Falls hike, the See Canyon Trail is nearby but doesn’t usually have the same crowds. The road is a loop, and you’ll see signs for the trail head. Parking is free, and it has a human restroom.
This part of Arizona amazes me. It is a much greener and lush forest than down below at the desert floor. This particular trail follows Christopher Creek, and that meant I had plenty of opportunities to get a drink or cool off. This trail has lots of shade, so it is a perfect summertime option for humans and canines. Fall will offer splendid color. (The trail has a lot of boulders, so small dogs might have some difficulty.) At about one mile, you come to a “Y” in the trail. See Canyon continues to the left, but we went to the right for a most scenic jaunt to Christopher Creek Falls. It’s only about another half a mile to the falls. We sat and had our picnic right by the creek, and we had the place to ourselves.
We hiked back down to the intersection and then headed up the See Canyon Trail. This section is a bit drier, and it is harder because it climbs up to the Rim. We didn’t go all the way up (2 more miles) but instead found a good spot to enjoy some views and head on back. On our return trip, we came across some large donkeys. My Mom says they are called Mammoths, and she loves them. She petted them and talked to them while my dad gave directions to the humans. All in all, we hiked about 5 miles.
Once we ate dinner, I was ready for bed! We turned in early, and I slept like a rock. This time when we woke up, a herd of elk was visiting our camp. I’m a friendly dog, but I had to bark. They were invading my territory! They meant no harm, and I could tell. I eventually sat back and was a good host. However, I was not going to share my bacon. No way, no how!
I let my breakfast settle while my folks packed us back up. Before long, we were on the road again. Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!
– Visit Kuma on Facebook at facebook.com/kumathedog. Lorraine Bossé-Smith is founder of the FIT Leader Formula™. Learn more at lorrainebosse-smith.com.
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