Hikers, bikers and fishermen can definitely find themselves at home at some of Arizona’s lakes. Keeping active with a camping vacation can be a good way to stay healthy and release some stress. The spring, summer and fall months are prime season to get out to Arizona’s lake campgrounds, which are usually open from about May to the early fall. Some lake campgrounds, such as Fool Hollow Lake in eastern Arizona, are open to campers year-round.
Upper Lake Mary Campgrounds
Upper Lake Mary is a large lake in Flagstaff that’s well-stocked with a wide variety of fish. Located on federal land, this destination offers camping opportunities from early May to mid-September. In addition to two campground areas, the Upper Lake Mary recreational area offers boat ramps, picnic areas, hiking trails and fishing areas. The Upper Lake Mary campgrounds are fully developed with clean drinking water, cooking grills and maintained toilets. The fee for camping at Upper Lake Mary is $6, and for $35 campers can purchase a seasonal pass, as of August 2010.
Ashurst Lake Campgrounds
Like Upper Lake Mary, the Ashurst Lake Campground is managed by the federal government as part of the Coconino National Forest. This pristine campground, a mere 20 miles from Flagstaff, offers free camping from May to mid-October. There are 50 camping spots on the grounds, and each provides drinking water, toilets and cooking grill areas. According to the Forest Service, Ashurst Lake is unique among lakes its size in Arizona for its ability to hold water throughout the dry season. The lake is equipped with a boat ramp and excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can expect to find rainbow and brook trout.
Patagonia State Park
The 250-acre Patagonia State Park in southeastern Arizona might be one of the state’s better kept secrets. The campground is positioned on a man-made lake, and opportunities abound for avid hikers, anglers and rowers. The lake is stocked for fishing from October through March, while campgrounds are available for $17, as of August 2010. Campgrounds are fairly well-developed with restrooms, showers and electric hook-ups. Park entrances are open to campers from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., but overnight stays are allowed.
Lyman Lake State Park
One of Arizona’s lake campgrounds that provides cabin or yurt camping is Lyman Lake Park, located in the eastern part of the state. Lyman Lake Park is also fairly big, with over 1,200 square acres. It costs $50 to rent one of Lyman Lake’s cabins and $35 for a yurt, as of August 2010. Tent and RV camping sites are also available for less. Cabins and yurts are open from late May to early September. This Arizona lake campground is a good spot for hikers and tourists as well, who can participate every weekend in a guided tour of the area’s historical features–the former Rattlesnake Point Pueblo, a native American settlement.
Fool Hollow Lake Campground
Some Arizona lake campgrounds provide opportunities for year-round camping and recreation. One of these is the Fool Hollow Lake, also located in eastern Arizona. This area is a state park with developed campgrounds, featuring both electrified and non-electric campsites. In addition, these sites share showers, restrooms and picnic areas. Fishing is available and Fool Hollow Lake, too, including rainbow trout in abundant numbers, according to Arizona State Parks.