Phoenix and its sister cities in the Valley of the Sun are home to more than two million people, more than half the state’s population. With such an urban concentration, it is hard to believe there are public campgrounds within easy reach. However, the desert valley lies on the edge of the rugged central mountains, and is bordered on the north and east by the 2.9 million acres of the Tonto National Forest, one of the largest in the country. In addition, several regional county parks have campgrounds.
You can ride a bike or hike on trails in most of the regional parks, and there are miles of back roads and trails open to mountain bikers in the national forest. Backcountry hikers can find complete solitude in the Pine Mountain and Superstition Wildernesses. Boaters, water sports enthusiasts, and anglers flock to the many lakes impounded on the Verde and Salt Rivers northeast of the valley. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Estrella Mountain Regional Park, White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Cave Creek Recreation Area, Seven Springs, CCC, Horseshoe, Riverside, Mesquite, Needle Rock, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Usery Mountain Recreation Area, Lost Dutchman State Park, Tortilla.
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