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Camping With Beautiful Views and Fishing, Biking and Hiking in Apache National Forest

Aug 18, 2007
Canyons, meadows, rivers, lakes, mountains and pristine evergreen and mixed forests - campgrounds in Apache National Forest have beautiful views of all this and more including excellent recreational opportunities for fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is one of eleven National Forests in the Southwestern Region of Arizona and New Mexico and ranges in elevation from 3,500 feet to nearly 11,500 feet. It's named for the tribes that settled in this area. The area in Arizona from Mount Baldy east to Escudilla Mountain is often referred to as the White Mountains (discovered by James White in the early 1900s) and is where the campgrounds featured in this article are located - approximately 3 hours driving time from the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

Ideally, all campgrounds would overlook a beautiful natural landscape that can be seen directly from most of the camp sites. Well, we all know that many if not most camgrounds don't meet this criteria; but here are several campgrounds located in Apache National Forest that do!

If you prefer a small, tent only campground with direct views of a beautiful lake and meadow in the foreground and mountains in the background, try either Brookchar or Cutthroat campgrounds close to Springerville, AZ. Both campgrounds are located in a beautiful evergreen forest next to Big Lake and a large meadow at an elevation of approximately 9,100 feet. Most all of the sites at both campgrounds have good to excellent views of either the lake and/or meadow. Cutthroat campground sites 2, 3, 5 and 6 are closest to the lake and all of the sites at Brookchar have direct views of the lake.

If you have an RV or tent and prefer views of a river stream bordered by narrow canyon walls, try any of five campgrounds located along the East Fork of the Black River in a scenic narrow canyon forested with majestic tall evergreen trees at elevations ranging from approximately 7,500 to 7,950 feet. Diamond Rock, Aspen, Deer Creek, Raccoon and Horse Springs campgrounds are all within a very short driving distance of each other. Each of these campgrounds (except for Horse Springs) are small and secluded having twelve or less campsites and can accommodate small RV's.

Horse Springs campground is larger with many more sites and can accommodate larger RV's. As you look out between the canyon walls in each of these campgrounds, you'll see beautiful views of a narrow canyon floor, often dotted with small meadow-like areas and beautiful tall ponderosa pine. Some of the camp sites overlook the river, but river views are obstructed from many of the sites by surrounding trees and vegetation along the river banks.

Even though many of the camp sites don't have views of the river, you can still hear the sound of the moving water which enhances the sense of beauty of the area. The overall feeling of these campgrounds is rustic, pristine and beautiful. Since each of these five campgrounds are so close to one another, you might as well check out each one and pick out the one that suits you best, the views are similar but each has a slightly different character.

Another campground with beautiful views that is just a few miles down a forest road from the five mentioned above is Buffalo Crossing campground. The canyon walls at this campground are shallower and the area between the walls is much wider than the other five campgrounds in this area. Some of the sites are in a beautiful open meadow between the canyon walls and some hug the edges of one of the canyon walls forested by tall majestic ponderosa pine. Several of the sites in the meadow have views of the Black River. Because of the open meadow, this campground has lots of sun.

One more and larger campground in the area (also within Apache National Forest) offering beautiful views of a meadow is Winn campground at an elevation of about 9,320 feet. The campground has about 67 RV and tent sites in all and can accommodate medium size RVs. Sites 46 - 58 have views of the beautiful meadow.

After setting up your camp site, explore nearby recreational opportunities for hiking, biking and fishing. For hikers, there are approximately 875 miles of trails. The Forest has four National Recreation Trails: Eagle, Blue Ridge, Escudilla, and General George Crook. There is also an interpretive trail along the Mogollon Rim with spectacular views of the Colorado Plateau and the Gila-Salt River watersheds - an easy hike for young and old on a self-guided interpretive trail about a mile long.

Fishing opportunities abound in the area as well. Apache National Forest is considered one of the top forests in the nation for fishing and contains over 450 miles of streams and nearly 2,000 surface acres of cold water lakes. Fish species include Arctic Grayling, Rainbow, German Brown, Brook, Apache, and Cutthroat trout.

Finally, mountain biking is also popular in this national forest. Refer to a forest map and look for the double dotted lines or un-shaded double solid lines that indicate primitive or dirt roads and you will see many jeep tracks, logging roads, and little used forest roads where motorized traffic is infrequent enough not to interfere with bike riding. The views are beautiful from most of the roads and throughout the forest.

Camping, hiking, biking and fishing with beautiful views are all available at Apache National Forest.
About the Author
Visit Arizona Campground Reviews for Apache National Forest for more information on this national forest. Carl Zimmerman is owner and webmaster of Camping With A View, dedicated to finding campgrounds with beautiful views.
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