The Best Campgrounds in Arizona

The Best Campgrounds in Arizona
With so many national parks, historical sites, monuments and forests, not to mention state, county and city parks and commercial establishments, Arizona is simply full of campgrounds. A traveler or vacationer faces more difficulty deciding where to stay than finding a suitable place to pitch a tent or park an RV. Beauty abounds, as well, so take off for Arizona and camp. Here you'll find four outstanding representatives: one national, one state, one primitive--really the next thing to backcountry camping--and one commercial campground.

Fool Hollow, Show Low

Its 6,300 foot elevation means Show Low stays cool in summer and may get snow in winter. Fool Hollow Lake is far enough from Show Low and Pinetop to leave road noise behind (beware daytime motorboat noise), but close enough to satisfy a spur-of-the-moment ice cream craving. Hike, walk or bike its 149 acres or get in some fishing in the lake and nearby trout streams. The recreation area is open all year.

Fool Hollow Lake Recreational Area
1500 N Fool Hollow Lake
Show Low, Arizona 85901
(928) 537-3680
Location: SR 260 north to Old Linden Rd, then 0.6 miles to Fool Hollow Lake Rd, 6300 foot elevation
Facilities: 92 RV hookup sites, 31 developed campsites, playground, ramadas, electricity, water, showers, restrooms, boat ramps, hiking trails, biking, fishing, reservations
Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Navajo National Monument, Tonalea, in the Navajo Nation

Both Canyon View and Sunset View campgrounds are perched high in the mountains and away from the noise of civilization. This is the perfect place to come for quiet reflection, car camping or backpacking and strenuous hiking. Three mesa-top hikes of 0.6 to 1 mile distances have great views. Tsegi Canyon contains several abandoned cliff dwellings sacred to Native Americans and still part of Hopi religious ceremonies. Experienced canyoneers can visit Betatakin and Keet Seel ruins, with proper reservations.

Navajo NM
HC 71 Box 3
Tonalea, Arizona 86044
(928) 672-2700
Location: US 160, 50 miles northeast of Tuba City or 20 miles southeast of Kayenta. 10 miles north on Arizona 564, 7300 foot elevation
Facilities: total of 47 campsites, visitor center, picknicking, movies, ranger- and self-guided hiking, camping, restrooms, reservations, no showers or electricity
Hours: Summer (end of May through mid-September) 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Winter 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., only Canyon View campground open; self-serve registration available

Lockett Meadow, near Flagstaff

Volcanic San Francisco Peaks are sacred to native people and include the highest point in the state. Thousands of miles of well-documented trails within driving distance offer: a lava tube, alpine forests and above tree level, walks in the woods and ruins visiting. Primitive Lockett Meadow campground is only one of several dozen public campgrounds, but it's an exceptional base camp for your vacation.

USFS, Coconino National Forest
1824 S Thompson St.
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 527-3600
Location: US 89, 12.5 miles. Directly across the entrance to Sunset Crater National Monument, turn left on Forest Road (FR) 420 to FR 552, about one mile. Turn right at campground sign. 8,600 foot elevation
Facilities: 17 campsites, no water or electricity, vault toilets, camping, hiking, no reservations
Hours: self-registration

Commercial Campground of Note

Family-operated Woody Mountain Campground and RV Park came to my aid when all forest campgrounds closed during a bad wildfire season. Their prices are reasonable, their services profuse and their staff kindly. The surroundings, if RV-leaning, are kept well and attractive. Take a look at all they offer, bearing in mind they must truck in all water.

Woody Mountain Campground and RV Park
2727 West Route 66 (Exit 191 off I-40)
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 774-7727 (business)
(800) 732-7986 (reservations)
Location: Southwest of Flagstaff city center on US 66, about 7,008 foot elevation
Facilities: many campsites, full hook-ups, restrooms, showers, Wi-Fi, monthly rates, store, swimming pool, playground, laundry, camping, hiking, reservations
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., then self-registration

Article Written By Lani Johnson

Lani Johnson is a hiking, writing musician. Recent published work includes journalism, poetry and research. See her online writing at or at

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