Forest Lakes Owners Association

Things to do:

The Mogollon Rim is a rugged escarpment that forms the southern limit of the Colorado Plateau. It extends across the entire forest and provides excellent views within Plateau Country and Desert Canyon Country as well. Dropping as much as 2,000 feet in some areas, the Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona. Views stretch from its rocky precipice to Four Peaks of the Mazatzals northeast of Phoenix.

The Mogollon Rim offers a variety of recreational opportunities... hiking and backpacking, trail riding by horse and bicycle, camping and picnicking, boating and fishing, and don't forget winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country and alpine skiing.

| Lakes | Fishing | Camping | Scenic Rides | Bike Trails | Hiking | Winter Sports | | Clubs | Other Things to Do |

The Lakes

Woods Canyon Lake

Trout, Browns, Rainbow

Woods Canyon Lake has 5 campgrounds. Aspen, Spillway, Crook, Mogollon and Rim. of these campgrounds, Aspen is by far the largest with 136 sites as compared with the other 4 that have 26. Spillway is the closest to the lake with Crook being about a mile away, then Mogollon at 1 1/2 miles and then Rim campground that's around 4 miles away.

Woods Canyon Lake also has a group campsite that is designed for parties of less than 70 campers. A second group site is at Spillway and this accommodates 25 people or less. Fee's are charged at all camp sites.

Fee's are charged on a per vehicle basis. Campsites typically accept two vehicles. Reservation are strongly suggested at the Aspen, Spillway and group sites by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online at
Willow Springs Lake

Bass, Trout, Browns, Rainbow

Anglers catch mostly rainbow trout in this U-shaped lake. There's a boat ramp but no campground. You can camp in designated dispersed areas nearby or at Sinkhole Campground, which has water and a $8 fee from mid-May to late October. From AZ 260, about one mile east of Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) junction and four miles west of Canyon Point Campground, turn in a half mile on Forest Road 149 to Sinkhole Campground, then continue 3.5 miles to Willow Springs Lake. Rim, Crook, and Mogollon Campgrounds lie along Forest Road 300, beginning 0.8 mile in from AZ 260; all are open mid-May to late October with water and a $8 fee.
Black Canyon Lake

Trout, Browns, Rainbow

This small trout lake doesn't have a campground, but Black Canyon Rim and Gentry campgrounds lie within a few miles. Black Canyon Rim has water and an $8 fee from mid-May to late September. Gentry has no water or fee, but sites can be reserved for families or groups at 800/280-2267. Both stay open all year when not blocked by snow. From Canyon Point Campground, go east 4.5 miles on AZ 260, turn right 2.5 miles on Forest Road 300, then turn left three miles on Forest Road 86 to Black Canyon Lake.
Bear Canyon Lake

Trout, Arctic Grayling, Brookies, Cutthroat, Rainbow

To get to Bear Canyon Lake take Hwy 260 just past MP291 to FR300. The lake is a primitive area and barely touched by civilization. The lake has a population of Rainbow trout catchable by artificial lures only. The Elevation is around 7,600'. 
Chevelon Lake

Trout, Browns, Rainbow

Chevelon Lake is one of the few wilderness lakes in Arizona. It is located approximately 60 miles from Payson in the Apache- Sitgreaves National Forest at an elevation of 6400 feet. It is fairly hard to reach, as there are only two walk-in access points that require about a one mile hike down to the lake. It offers 6 miles of accessible shoreline for the shore fisherman. Fishing by a float tube is your best bet as hauling a small boat or canoe down the steep access trail can be quite difficult. Anglers fishing this lake are restricted to the use of artificial lures and flies only. Fishing here is best suited for the experienced angler. This location is very remote with no developed campsites and there are no trash receptacles at this lake. PACK IT IN ~ PACK IT OUT. To arrive at Chevelon Canyon Lake, Take Highway 260 approximately 30 miles east of Payson to FR300. Follow FR 300 for about 10 miles to FR 169. Travel on FR 169 for 21 miles to FR 169B.

Knoll Lake

Trout, Browns, Rainbow

This secluded forest lake attracts visitors for a number of reasons. Surrounded by ponderosa pines, with a picturesque island in its middle, Knoll Lake provides a scenic setting in which to enjoy your canoe or other small boat. Fishing is good here too, offering rainbow, brown and brook trout.

If the fish aren't biting, you'll definitely want to take a tour of the nearby Mogollon Rim. This two thousand foot escarpment marks the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau and drops from cool highlands to low deserts in a picturesque, stomach wrenching plunge.

Blue Ridge Reservoir

Trout, Browns, Rainbow

This narrow, winding body of water looks more like a canyon-bound river than a lake. Nestled between forested canyon walls it provides picturesque water recreation in a secluded, wooded setting.

If fishing is your cup of tea, you can catch rainbow, brown or brook trout here. All are stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. If your taste runs to other types of recreation, the sightseeing, wildlife watching, hiking, and mountain biking here in the canyon-carved uplands of the Mogollon Plateau will make you glad you chose to visit this out of the way lake.


State Info
Tonto National Forest
  • TONTO CREEK (36kb PDF) - Tonto Creek has several access points.  The creek flows though the Payson Ranger District.  The season of use is from April through September.
  • HORTON CREEK (38kb PDF) - The Horton Day-Use Site & Upper Tonto Creek Campground is located 17 miles east of Payson north of State Highway 260.  The season of use is from April through September.
  • HAIGLER CREEK (38kb PDF) - Haigler Creek has several access points.  The creek flows though the Pleasant Valley Ranger District.
  • CHRISTOPHER CREEK (40kb PDF) - Christopher Creek  has two access points.  The creek flows though the Payson Ranger District.  The season of use is from April through September.
  • EAST VERDE RIVER (38kb PDF) -  The East Verde River has several access points.  Fishing is best in May & June prior to the water level dropping and the warmer temperatures. Printable map (420kb PDF).
  • CANYON CREEK (39kb PDF) - Canyon Creek is closed indefinitely due to safety reasons as a result of the Chediski Fire.


Apache Sitgreaves National Forest

  • Canyon Point Campground - This large, easily accessible campground has drinking water, showers, a dump station, and some quad sites from mid-May to late September; call 877/444-6777,, to reserve a site. Sites without hookups cost $14. Loop A has electric hookups at $16. Naturalists offer walks, children's programs, and evening presentations on summer weekends. Sinkhole Trail begins from Loop B and leads to a sinkhole, one mile roundtrip. Canyon Point Campground lies just off AZ 260, five miles east of the Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) junction.
  • Spillway Campground
  • Aspen Campground
  • Mogollon Campground
  • Crook Campground
  • Rim Campground
  • Sinkhole Campground
  • Chevelon Crossing - This small campground overlooks Chevelon Creek many miles downstream from Woods Canyon Lake. The sites remain open most of the year (elev. 6,200 feet) with no water or fee. Parking is tight and small vehicles will fit best. Try fishing in the large pools upstream, which harbor rainbow trout. Three routes lead to this remote campground. Forest Road 504 is the usual way in; turn off AZ 260 one mile west of Heber. You could also take AZ 99 south from Winslow and turn left on Forest Road 504, or take Forest Road 169 north from Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road; closed in winter) west of Woods Canyon Lake.
  • Chevelon Canyon Lake - This long, skinny reservoir lies 12 miles upstream from Chevelon Crossing via Forest Roads 169 and 169B. See the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest map for other ways of getting here. The lake offers trophy fishing for rainbow and brown trout; anglers must use artificial lures and observe size and catch limits. With 208 surface acres, this is one of the larger lakes on the Mogollon Rim. There's a primitive campground (elev. 6,400 feet, no water or fee) near the north shore.
  • Bear Canyon Lake - Anglers enjoy fishing with artificial lures or bait on this trout lake. The shore is steep and tree-covered, so it's easier to use boats for fishing, though you'll have to lug them to the water. There's a campground (no water or fee) near the north end. From Woods Canyon Lake, travel west 10 miles on Forest Road 300 (the Rim Road), then turn north and drive 2.5 miles on Forest Road 89.

Coconino National Forest

  • Blue Ridge and Rock Crossing Campgrounds

  • Clints Well Campground

  • Kehl Springs Campground

  • Knoll Lake Campground

  • Woods Canyon Lake - This popular lake was one of the first of seven created on the rim. Camp at either Aspen Campground ($12) or Spillway Campground ($14) near the lakeshore; both have drinking water and a season of about May to mid-September. Call 877/444-6777,, to reserve a site. A store that stays open into autumn has groceries, boat rentals, and motors (only electrics are permitted here). On summer weekends, staff lead walks and offer evening programs. Rocky Point Picnic Area on the south side of the lake is open for day use only, $5. Woods Canyon Nature Trail makes a half-mile loop here. From AZ 260, near the edge of the Mogollon Rim, turn northwest five miles on paved Forest Roads 300 and 105.

Tonto National Forest
  • Payson District Camp Sites
  • Ponderosa Campground - 15 miles from Payson on the right. Developed campground. Dump station (fee charged). Nature Trail which is open to non campers. Group campground on left side of Highway 87 requires reservations.
  • Upper Tonto Creek Campground - 17 miles from Payson and turn left. The campground is approx. 1 mile on the right. Developed campground. Access to hiking trails and both Horton and Tonto Creek fishing and water fun.
  • Lower Tonto Creek Campground - 17 miles from Payson and turn left. Developed campground. Open year round, but no services after Labor Day. Fishing and water fun.
  • Christopher Creek Campground - 21 miles from Payson on the right. Full service campground. Fishing and wading in Christopher Creek which runs through the middle of the campground.


Scenic Rides 

Highway Info
Black Canyon . . .  Journey Through Time Auto Tour Self guided auto tour through prehistoric and historic sites along a 15.3-mile length of Forest Road 86 southwest of Heber.  Pick up a phamphlet at Black Mesa Ranger Station, 2748 Hwy. 260, 928/535-4481, two miles east of Heber on the south side of the highway between Mileposts 307 and 308 or at the Rim Visitor Center.
Highway 260 Highway 260 between the top of the Mogollon Rim near Woods Canyon lake turnoff and Heber features an extensive stand of ponderosa pine and tremendous change in temperature compared to the Phoenix area. People flock to this area to get cool in the summer and to play in the snow in the winter
Woods Canyon Lake Loop The Woods Canyon Lake loop is 58 miles long but its also long on scenic beauty, especially the vista opportunities. From Woods Canyon Lake take Forest Road 300 13 miles to Forest Road 115 and proceed to Ohaco Lookout, where you'll take Forest Road 56 ; take Forest Road 56 to its junction with Forest Road 225 and proceed on Forest Road 225 to its junction with Forest Road 34; take Forest Road 34 to the junction with Forest Road 100 where you'll turn left; proceed on Forest Road 100 until it joins Forest Road 169, where you'll turn right; take Forest Road 169 until it joins Forest Road 300; turn left on Forest Road 300 and take it back to your starting point at Woods Canyon Lake.
Rim Road/General Crook Trail Loop From Forest Lakes Drive west on Hwy 260 to the Woods Canyon turnoff.  Turn right on to FR300.  Continue on FR 300 past Woods Canyon Lake, past FR321 for 17 miles to Hwy 87, where you'll turn right.  Follow Hwy 87 for 18 miles, past Clints Well, to FR 95.  Follow FR95, FR96 to FR321 for a total of 19 miles to FR300 and return to Forest Lakes.
Rim Road—Forest Road 300 This scenic road follows the Mogollon Rim between AZ 260 and AZ 87 for 51 miles. Most of it is dirt, passable by cautiously driven cars. Allow three to four hours one way. Slow speeds are necessary because of hazardous washboard sections. Attractions include rim views, pretty forest scenes, wildlife sightings, and effects of the Dude Fire. The eastern section lies within the Rim Lake Recreation Area, where one must use designated campsites. Dispersed camping is allowed along the western part of the drive, which is in the Coconino National Forest.

(State Route 288 - Young Highway)

The route generally has been in place for a century and remains the primary access to this part of central Arizona. The community of Young relies upon the route for conducting its daily business. It is the principal means of entry for visitors seeking to escape the urban environment, and to enjoy breathtaking scenery, unique natural features, and interesting history.
Dude Fire Area  15.2 miles and left on Control Road 64. Follow the Control Road to junction with Forest Road 29 (about 4.2 miles). Keep to the let when you come to the Tonto Village turnoff. Turn right on Forest Road 29. Forest Road 29 is a narrow dirt road and is not suited for low clearance vehicles past point 10. Self guided Auto Tour brochures are available at the Payson Ranger Station.
Colcord Road 10 miles west on Hwy 260. Turn left. Scenic drive to rental cabins and great for viewing wildlife such as deer and elk at sun up or sunset


Remote and off the tourist track, Young is one of Arizona's last cow towns. To get here you must drive largely unpaved roads. From the Mogollon Rim in the north, take AZ 260 to near Milepost 284, about 33 miles east of Payson, then turn south 24 miles on Forest Road 512; the first 20 miles are dirt road. From the south near Roosevelt Lake, take AZ 88 from Roosevelt or Globe to the junction with AZ 288, then turn north 47 miles; the last 34 miles are dirt. The roads to Young are best avoided after winter snows or heavy rains.
Chevelon Canyon to Chevelon Crossing Four wheel drive to Weimer Point.  Take FR99 north from Hwy 260.  Go left onto FR170.  Make another left at FR90, at .5 miles take the right fork, at 2.5 miles take the left.  You'll pass through the eastern portion of the Slim Fire from 1987.  After taking in the views backtrack back to FR170 and proceed north.  Turn west (left) on FR504 and head toward Chevelon Crossing.  You'll pass a small campground with ramadas.  Then you'll turn left onto FR169 which will eventually link up with FR300 which you'll take back to Hwy 260.

Bike Trails

Black Mesa District Mountain Bike Trails


Apache Sitgreaves National Forest

Coconino National Forest

Winter Sports

Snow Report 928-779-4577
Forest Lakes Touring Center Forest Lakes Touring Center features great cross country skiing atop the Mogollon Rim. The Center maintains 28 kilometers of trails all within a three-hour drive from Phoenix. The Center offers introductory lessons and a ski school for children ages 4-12. For reservations, road conditions, equipment or cabin rentals call 928-535-4047.
Snowmobiling Snowmobiling is a popular winter attraction on the forest roads around Forest Lakes. 
Wells Springs Trailhead and Snowplay Area A large parking area, just 0.1 mile in from AZ 260 on Forest Road 300, provides access to General Crook Trail 611, Rim Lakes Vista Trail, and the 235 Road Bike Trail. In winter, it's plowed so visitors can enjoy the snow (no sleds or tubing).


Arizona Mushroom Club        

The Arizona Mushroom Club is an organization of people with an interest in collecting wild mushrooms for food and for those wanting to learn to recognize edible mushrooms from poisonous ones. The Club is also a good excuse for persons who simply want to be outdoors and who desire to learn more about nature and mushrooms in particular. The club consists of numerous individuals who live throughout the state of Arizona.

Other Things to Do

Horseback Riding
  • Camper's Country Corner (Horses available summer only) 1-928-535-4716
  • Kohl's Ranch 1-800-331-KOHL
Picnicking There are several day use areas at the local lakes (Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Black Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake and Knoll Lake).  You can also find picnic tables  behind the Forest Service Visitor Information Services, and at the nearby developed campgrounds!
Gentry Lookout Gentry Lookout is on FR300 about 5 miles off Hwy 260 (just past MP291). Gentry Lookout is open to the public during the summer unless posted otherwise.  Nearby are the Scott, Scott and Wilson gravesites, were three suspected horse thieves are buried.  The trail begins just past Black Canyon Rim Campground at the oak trailhead sign on the north side of the road.  Read more about the men buried here in stories about the Pleasant Valley War.
General Springs Cabin, the Battle of Big Dry Wash Monument and the Tunnel to Nowhere To visit General Springs Cabin, one of three surviving Forest service structures which once fed fire and other information into the Long Valley Ranger Station, take FR300 north from Hwy 260.  Follow FR300 to the sign for the monument and the Tunnel Trailhead.  The cabin is .5 north of FR300, the Tunnel Trailhead is just south of the monument.
  • Pine Meadows Country Club - The club offers tennis and golf on a splendid 9 hole golf course. The clubhouse is built of log with a pro shop, locker rooms, lounge and dining room.
  • Payson Golf Course - 1504 W Country Club Dr., Payson AZ 85541, 928-474-2273
  • The Rim Golf Club - Payson AZ 85541, 928-472-6840 
Movies Sawmill Theatres - 201 W Main St Payson AZ 85541.5330 928.468.7535 
Mogollon Rim Visitors Center  The Visitor Center has a handy location right on the rim at Al Fulton Point, opposite the Forest Road 300 turnoff from AZ 260; it's open daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day with an information desk, a few exhibits, and map sales. Step out on the back porch for a great panorama from the rim across wooded ridges extending all the way to Four Peaks near Phoenix.

Short hike from there leads you to Al Fulton's grave

Heber and Overgaard Their elevations range from 6,435 feet in Heber to 6,620 feet in Overgaard.  These small towns stretch out along AZ 260. Both have cafes, stores, and a few RV parks.  During the period of 1876 through 1877, the Mormon migration was taking place. Many groups headed to the Little Colorado River area. One group built their community along the river’s banks. This proved to be disastrous. They found that the Little Colorado River was too difficult to control. 

Eventually, they had to move. James E. Shelley and Sanford Porter Jr. discovered the area that is now Heber in 1883. This new location had a steady water source, which would make life much easier.  The town was named after Heber C. Kimball. Kimball was a chief justice of the state of Deseret, which eventually became Utah. He was also a leader in the Mormon Church.  Heber’s first post office was established in 1890.   Visit this site for more history of the area.

Buffalo Museum of America A large collection of art and memorabilia celebrates this magnificent animal. Inside you'll see an amazing variety of many examples of pop art, paintings, and sculpture that depict the buffalo. The museum, formerly in Scottsdale, is now just east of Overgaard at 2269 Hwy. 260, 928/535-4141. It's open in summer Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; call for winter hours. Admission runs $5 adult, $3 age 8-17. Look for it in a group of large western-style buildings of the Bison Ranch development on the south side of the highway near Overgaard. Bison Ranch, 928/535-6990, also has trail and carriage rides, dining, shopping, and cabin rentals;
Kohl's Ranch  18 miles west on Hwy 260 on the left. Cabins, rooms, campground and restaurant. Horse rental and jeep rides for guests and non-guests
Village of Christopher Creek 13  miles East on Hwy 260. Cabins, RV park, restaurants, crafts.  Christopher Creek is a small artisan community at the base of The Rim between Kohl's Ranch and Forest Lakes. Christopher Creek offers quiet enjoyment, rich artistic talent and green vibrant scenery.
Horton Creek Picnic Area 19 miles west on Hwy 260 and turn right. Picnic area is on left just past the Lower Tonto Creek Campground
Tonto Fish Hatchery Rainbow, brook, and sometimes Apache trout grow up at this hatchery just below the Mogollon Rim. Visitors can take the interpretive walk, learn about the life history of trout, peer into the incubator and production rooms, and view fingerlings and catchable trout in outdoor raceways. Open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; 928/478-4200. From Payson, head east 17 miles on AZ 260 to Kohl's Ranch Lodge, then turn north four miles on Forest Road 289 at the sign.
Payson Antique Shops - Located along Main Street, Beeline Highway (SR#87) and on Highway 260

Mazatzal Casino - 1/2 mile south of Payson on the Beeline Hwy at the Tonto Apache Indian Reservation. Slots, Video Keno and Video Poker

Payson Golf Course - 2 miles west on old Main Street

Rim Country Museum - Visiting and permanent exhibits take you back to the days of the earliest peoples of the region, then to the Apache conflicts, timber and mining operations, agriculture, and pioneer entertainment. A blacksmith shop and a 1908 kitchen portray aspects of life in early Payson. The display on Zane Grey, who produced 131 novels, has some of his books and personal belongings. Open Wed.-Sun. noon-4 p.m.; admission runs $3 adults, $2.50 seniors, and $2 students 12-17; 928/474-3483. Picnic tables are outside; the adjacent Green Valley Park has a playground and lake (electric motors okay). From AZ 87, turn west one mile on Main St. (at the chamber of commerce), right on Green Valley Parkway, then the next left into the parking lot.

Rumsey Park - North on Beeline Hwy ad left at Hwy 260 on Longhorn Rd to McLane (1st stop sign). Turn right on McLane to Park entrance approximately 1/2 mile. Picnic tables, playground, tennis courts and outdoor public pool. 

Swiss Village Shops - 1.9 miles north on Beeline Hwy on left. A unique collection of gift shops and craft stores.

Zane Grey Museum - The prolific novelist Zane Grey led a colorful and adventurous life, well told by the museum's displays. A 28-minute video recounts the story of his career and family. Photos illustrate his interest in baseball, which got him through college on a scholarship, Arizona travels, and fishing trips. Open daily in summer 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (check winter hours); $2 adults, $1 students; 928/474-6243. It's at 503 W. Main St. between the chamber office and the Rim Country Museum.

Payson Zoo 6 miles from Payson on the right at Lions Springs Road. About 60 animals, many trained "movie stars". Open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM weather permitting.
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park  10 miles north of Payson, left 3 miles down into canyon. The largest travertine bridge in North America with 4 viewpoints and trails down to the creed. The entire park has been improved (1995) with new paved roads and better walking paths. Picnic tables, hiking, bird watching, gift shop. Fee is $5.00 per vehicle. Additional fee for large groups. This is Arizona's newest state park.
East Verde Park Up state route 87 North of Payson where it crosses the Verder river, FR 622 heads south to East Verde park.  A favorite picnic spot.
Shoofly Indian Ruins Archaeological Site A quarter-mile interpretive trail winds through scant ruins of this prehistoric settlement northeast of town. Occupied 1000-1250, it had a stone wall encircling courtyards, plazas, and about 80 rooms. Part of the trail has been paved for easy access. A pleasant picnic area and a trailhead for Horse Camp Loop lie nearby. From AZ 87 on the north edge of Payson, turn northeast three miles on Houston Mesa Road (keep right at the fork about two miles in), then turn right at the sign to a parking area. After turning onto Houston Mesa Road, you'll pass Houston Mesa Campground and Horsecamp in 0.2 mile, then Houston Mesa Trailhead one mile in from AZ 87.
Village of Pine This small community lies 15 miles north of Payson. Pine - Strawberry Museum has good pioneer exhibits in a former LDS church (1917) beside the Community Center; open Sun. 1-4 p.m. and Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from May 15 to Oct. 15, then Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. the rest of the year.
Village of Strawberry  This tiny village sits just below the Mogollon Rim, 19 miles north of Payson. Wild strawberries used to grow here but nowadays they're hard to find. Turn west 1.5 miles on Fossil Springs Road at Strawberry Lodge to see Arizona's oldest schoolhouse. Pioneers built the one-room log structure in 1885. You can view the restored interior and photos of pioneers. Open summer weekends and holidays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., other times by appointment; ask at Strawberry Lodge. 
Revised: 09 Apr 2005

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