Canyon Lake, the most popular camping area in the entire
state, has much to offer. Virtually every amenity is either
available on site or within a few miles. The Aspen
Campground is set just 1/2 mile back from the
lake and has 136 campsites which are all nicely spaced, you won't
feel too crowded, even for such a large campground. The
campground is well shaded by ponderosa pine, oak, aspen
and douglas firs. Bring your bikes for a nice ride through the campground and maybe you will see some elk in the area. Some of the popularity of this campground is it's proximity to Phoenix, approximately a 2.5 hour drive. This campground fills quickly on summer weekends and somtimes will fill by Thursday evenings on holiday weekends. If you don't make reservations, plan on arriving around 11 am on the day you plan to camp to grab any spots that might be vacated that morning. You can get lucky and grab a spot on Saturdays if you get there at the right time.
If this campground is full, try checking out Mogollon or Rim Campgrounds located just a mile or two away on FR300.
One nice thing about Aspen if that there is an occupancy chart at the host/check-in station and will let you know what if any of the area campgrounds are full or not.
at the lake is a country store complete with boat rentals and
a battery charging station for those who bring their own trolling
motors. The store pretty much has everything you might need for
a great camping trip. You can buy a fishing license, bait, camping supplies like tarps, tents, propane and pretty much any food item you will need. A phone is available at the front door of
the store. If you have your own boat, you can ask them to charge your battery overnight for a small fee if they have room to charge it. If your battery is running low, they will rent you one at the country store.
around the corner from the store is the Rocky Point day
use area. There is a charge to use the parking area but
it is minimal ($5.00 I think). There is good fishing down
by Rocky Point and I tend to spend at least one afternoon
there every visit.
Bald eagles have been nesting down towards the end of the Rocky Point day use area in the past few years and is occasionally roped off so the only way into the area is by boat.
Ospreys have been in the area the past few years.
Don't forget your long lens on your camera to get a great shot of the raptors making a spectaular catch on the lake.
Fishing Information - Provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department
If fishing for trout, try power bait from the shore, try power bait or worms. Boaters can try trolling Super Duper or tiny gold Kastmaster lures. When it is hot during the summer, fish a little deeper, but not too deep, between 10 to 20 feet because the lake stratifies in the summer, meaning there is no oxygen at the bottom. The lake is loaded with crayfish, try fishing for big browns int he spring and fall with spinners or lures that imitate crayfish patterns. Lake depth averages 25 feet and can reach up to 40 feet.
Statewide fishing regulations apply and a trout stamp is required. The daily bag limit is six trout, three for unlicensed anglers under the age of 14.
Cow bells or bumble bee's can also bring good results.
I fly fish the lake and notice that many fly fisherman tend to use sinking line with a bead head wolly bugger in olive or black. I have good luck when the shade hits the shores to the left of the boat dock down the left arm of the lake down along rocky point day use area with small dry flies like a parachute adams or any type of caddis.
Woods Canyon Lake Trail surrounds the lake and makes for a nice but easy afternoon hike.
A dump station is located back up
the road about 1 mile as you exit the Woods Canyon Recreation
Rim Visitors Information Center is located at the junction of
the S. R. 260 and Rim Road.
are located at Canyon
Point Campground 5 miles east of the visitors center
on S. R. 260. The charge for using the showers is $5.00.
Payson, travel east on U.S. 260 until you reach the top of the
Mogollon Rim and turn left on F. R. 300 (Rim Road). Travel west
on Rim Road 3.4 miles to the Rec. Area entrance. Turn right at
the entrance and travel 1.5 miles to the campground on the left.
Don't forget to stop by the scenic stops along Rim Road for spectacular
views of the Mogollon Rim and the valley below.
Campsite Panoramas - See each campsite at Aspen Campground.
Click a campsite number below to view a 360 degree panorama of that campsite.