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Two Campgrounds in Coconino National Forest with Beautiful Views of a Lake and Mountains

Aug 18, 2007
Coconino National Forest contains 1.8 million acres of pristine protected areas surrounding Sedona and Flagstaff in northern Arizona with diverse landscapes including deserts, ponderosa pine forests, flatlands, mesas, alpine tundra, and ancient volcanic peaks. The forest contains all or parts of ten national wilderness areas, including the Kachina Peaks Wilderness containing the San Francisco Peaks. Much of the forest is a high altitude plateau with an average elevation of 7,000 feet located in the midst of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America.

Coconino National Forest is divided into four major districts. The northern most district, known as the Peaks District, is home to the San Francisco Peaks, an ancient group of volcanic summits. The highest peak, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. The San Francisco Peaks are the most striking feature of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, an 1,800 square mile volcanic field that contains more than 600 volcanic structures.

South of Flagstaff is the Mormon Lake District known as the Lake Country and is home to several natural lakes including Mormon Lake, the largest natural lake in Arizona. Ashurst and Marshall Lakes are also located in this area, both at the top of Anderson Mesa, an approximately 20 mile long ridge that rises 200 to 400 feet above the surrounding landscape. Anderson Mesa is best known for the branch of Lowell Observatory that is located along the edge of the mesa.

Located about twenty miles south of Flagstaff, Ashurst Lake is home to Ashurst and Forked Pine campgrounds each having about 25 camp sites most of which have direct views of both the beautiful lake and the distant and seasonally snow capped San Francisco Peaks. At an elevation of about 7,000 feet, both campgrounds can accommodate small RV's. Although the only amenities provided are vault toilets, the scenery and recreational opportunities at these two campgrounds are worth it. Both Ashurst and Forked Pine campgrounds are located along the lakeshore with campsites huddled in a picturesque stand of mature juniper trees and pinyon pines with most of the sites having good views of the lake and the distant San Francisco Peaks.

The lake is only 230 acres, medium-sized as northern Arizona lakes go, but it has a reputation for holding water even through long dry spells typical in this area. Wind surfing, fishing and bird watching are popular recreational activities at these two campgrounds. Consistent winds and water levels make Ashurst Lake excellent for wind surfing although there is not a designated wind surfing launching area.

Fishing is also popular at these two campgrounds. Ashurst Lake is stocked with trout, bass and channel catfish and all parts of the shoreline are very accessible although some parts are a little rocky.

The area is also popular for birding with many species of birds including Western Grebes, migrant Black Terns, white-faced ibises, pintails and other ducks. Bald eagles and osprey can also be seen in the area, along with a number of species of hawks and songbirds. Bird watching during the spring waterfowl migration is a favorite in this part of Coconino National Forest.

Camp, fish, wind surf and bird watch at Ashurst and Forked Pine campgrounds with beautiful views of not only the lake but the seasonally snow capped San Francisco Peaks as well. Ashurst Lake is a favorite recreational destination in Coconino National Forest.
About the Author
Visit Arizona Campground Reviews for Coconino 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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