Arizona's Best Swimming Holes  




The only campground that has electric and water hookups at Big Lake. Showers are available also.
Oh yeah, the fishing isn't bad either.

Google Maps Legend
Majenta = Standard Electric Site
Majenta Campsites 64,67 and 80 First Come First Served
Green = Group/Accessible Sites / Standard Non Electric
Blue = campsites 12-20 First Come First Served / Standard Non Electric

Description | Nearby Campgrounds | General Notes | Fishing Info | Directions

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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Big Lake from Apache Trout Campground Entrance
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Arizona's wonderful sunsets
Apache Trout Campsite
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Apache Trout Campsite
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Apache Trout restroom and shower facility
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
For a nice day trip, head down to the East Fork of the Black River for some great stream fishing.
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Making some great memories at Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Big Lake General Store from across the lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Down by the boat launch at Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
A Summer storm cell on the way from Greer to Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Antelope can be seen off in the distance. Wildlife is everywhere in the White Mountains.
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Sunset at Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
You will most likely see many Elk in the area
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Big Lake. The heart of the White Mountains.
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
There is a fish cleaning area near the General store at Big Lake
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Camp Arizona
Big Lake Aspens
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
More Elk around Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Another Great Sunset at Big Lake
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
Big Lake Visitor Center Interpretive Site
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Elk Near Woods Canyon Lake
The General Store at Big Lake. You can rent fishing boats here.

Campground Description

Apache Trout Campground is the most recent addition to the campgrounds at Big Lake. 124 campsites are at the campground of which 41 will have electric and water hookups. Also, 24 campsites will be ADA compliant for those with disabilities. Several shower facilities are on site as well as a dump station for those camping with RV’s.

One new amenity at Big Lake is two group campsites, Group site A will be for groups up to 100 people and 50 vehicles. The 2009 rate is $350 per night. Group site B will be for groups up to 50 people and 25 vehicles. The 2009 rate is $175 per night.

Most of the campground has no shade, so make sure you bring some. There are ponderosa, spruce, Douglas fir and aspens scattered around the edges of the campground. There are 22 double sites in the campground making this a perfect campground for those with small groups. Just a hop, skip and a jump away is the Big Lake Store, which stocks all of the essentials and is where you can rent boats for fishing.

Here is the link for the Big Lake Tackle and Supply located on the lake for information about boat rentals.


Other Nearby Campgrounds

Cutthroat (0.4 miles, 2 min)
Brookchar (0.8 miles, 3 minutes)
Grayling (1.0 mile, 4 minutes)
Rainbow (2.4 miles, 7 minutes)

General Notes

  • Elevation – 9035′
  • Season – April to October
  • Stay Limit – 14 Days
  • Fee – Yes
  • Campsites – 124
  • Trailer Limit – 82′
  • Access – Dirt
  • Potable Water – Yes
  • Restrooms – Flush
  • Showers – Yes – 4 facilities
  • Grills, Fire Rings and Campsite tables
  • Dump Station on site
  • General Store nearby

Fishing Information – Provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department

Big Lake is considered one of the White Mountain’s best fishing lakes!

When mid-summer fishing doldrums set in at White Mountain lakes and streams, Big Lake continues to produce decent fishing action. As with most trout waters in Arizona, catch rates are best in spring, during late April and May after the winter ice thaws, and gets better later in the summer and into fall until freezing over again in late November.

Situated at 9,000 feet in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Big Lake is located about 30 miles south of Springerville and Eagar via Hwy 260 and Hwy 261, and approximately one hour’s drive east from Pinetop using Highways 260 and 273. Access is restricted in the winter when roads are closed due to snow, generally December to early April. Call the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Springerville District at (928) 333-6200 for the most up-to-date information.


Sportfish species include brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout.

Stocking Details

The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks Big Lake with brook and cutthroat trout in the spring, followed by rainbow trout during summer months.

Stocking Schedule

Watercraft Rules and Regulations

Boats with a 10 horsepower single motor or less are permitted at the lake.

Fishing Tips

Bait and shore fishermen can try anything from worms to Power Bait. Fishing from a boat is generally more successful in the summer and fall than fishing from the shoreline, when the fish move into deep, cool water. Boaters should try trolling spinners and flies. To attract cutthroats, use lures that resemble crayfish or their movement. Brook trout will hit flies, but also try nightcrawlers on the bottom. When brook trout spawn during the fall, catch them with roe or Salmon eggs. Big Lake is well known for producing large brookies in October and November.

A fishing license is required for Arizona resident and non-resident anglers 10 years of age or older. Youth fishing licenses (ages 10-17) are only $5. Licenses are valid for one year from date of purchase. Buy or reprint a fishing license online.

Fishing Reports

Check out the latest fishing reports for White Mountain waters.

In addition to the angler reports, the Arizona Game and Fish Department makes it easy to stay up to date with the weekly Statewide Report. Learn what's biting across the state, recent stockings, closures, Catch of the Week and much more!


From Springerville travel west 5 miles to the Big Lake turnoff (AZ261). Travel up the mountain 18 miles to FR 113 and turn left. Travel 2 miles to the Big Lake entrance (FR115) and turn right. Travel past the country store and all of the adjacent campgrounds. Apache Trout Campground is the last campground in the Big Lake Recreation Area.



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