Arizona's Best Swimming Holes  




Brookchar is one of the best tent only campgrounds in Arizona.
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Big Lake
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Arizona's wonderful sunsets
Aspens at Big Lake
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Big Lake
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Another view from Brook Char Campground
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Brook Char Campground
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Brook Char Fees (2018)
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Brook Char from the parking area
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Campsite #4 - Brook Char Campground
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Big Lake
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The boat dock area below Brook Char Campground at Big Lake
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A storm cell on the way from Greer to Big Lake
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Don't be surpirsed to see an abundance of wildlife in the area
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Big Lake Sunset
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More Wildlife around Big Lake
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Camp Arizona
The fish cleaning staton near the general store just around the corner from Brook Char Campground
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Another beautiful sunset at Big Lake
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Big Lake Visitor Center Interpretive Site.
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Another view of Big Lake
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The General Store at Big Lake nad the Boat Rental area

Campground Description

Brook Char Campground is a tent only, walk in campground. There are parking areas along the road below and above the campground, but you must walk all of your camping gear from the parking areas to the campsite.  Most campsites are within 50 yards or so from the parking areas.  This is quite possibly the best tent only campground in Arizona.  The views of Big Lake from the campground are outstanding.  The campground sits just above the boat ramp at Big Lake. Most of the campsites are shaded extremely well.

There is a country store just east of the campground for most of your needs including boat rentals, ice, food and fishing gear. For boat rentals call 928-521-1387. Store hours are as follows; weekend: 6:00 am-6:00 pm, all other days 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Check out some of the years best catches in the pictures under the glass at the register. You really can’t miss when you get a campsite at Big Lake, virtually every amenity is available! Showers and a dump station are located just east of the Rainbow Campground. The Visitor Center is located just before you reach the Cutthroat Campground and there are often scheduled activities so check it out when you arrive.

Be prepared for very cold nights in the spring and fall and afternoon showers sometimes occur daily.

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

Distances to Nearby Recreation Areas

East Fork of the Black River (20 miles, 50 minutes)
West Fork of the Black River (10 miles, 22 minutes)
Lee Valley Recreation Area (11 miles, 26 minutes)
Alpine/Luna Lake Recreation Area (22 miles, 44 minutes)
Greer (20 miles, 44 minutes)

Other Nearby Campgrounds

Grayling (0.3 miles, 1min)
Cutthroat (0.4 miles, 1 min)
Apache Trout (0.8 miles, 3 min)
Rainbow (1.6 miles, 6 min)

General Notes

  • Elevation: 9040′
  • Season ” Mid April to Mid October, weather dependant
  • Stay Limit 14 days
  • Units – 13
  • Tent Only
  • Access – Paved to parking area -walk-in to campsites.
  • Potable Water: Yes
  • Showers available near Rainbow Campground
  • General Store just east and within walking distance from campground.
  • Campsite Grills, Fire Rings and Tables
  • Flush Toilet
  • Boat Ramp nearby
  • Boat rentals at General Store

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!

360 Degree Panoramas

Click a campsite number below to view a 360 degree panorama of that campsite.

1, 2, 34567891011, 12, 13


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. The campground is 1 mile ahead.


Camping Regions
Camping Regions

Central Arizona
Flagstaff / Sedona / Prescott
Northeast / Grand Canyon
Payson / Mogollon Rim
Southeast / Tucson
White Mountains
Western Arizona



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