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Fool's Hollow Lake Camping
Show Low, Arizona's pine-studded retreat from the heat!
It's no secret that when the thermometer starts reading over 100 degrees, southern Arizonans start planning their getaways to "head to the hills." It's also no secret that out-of-staters just don't plan southern Arizona vacations during the summertime. Though the Phoenix and Tucson areas may be favorite winter destinations, tourists prefer to explore the cooler northern areas of the state where the heat isn't so extreme. And where do both these in-state and out-of-town visitors like to explore during their "beat the heat" getaways? The Show Low-Pinetop area of northeastern Arizona is a favorite vacation destination. And, among camping enthusiasts, the Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area in Show Low is one of the most sought-after places to park the rig or set up a tent.
Why is the Fool's Hollow Lake camping ground such a favorite spot for getaways? Undoubtedly the biggest reason is because of its gorgeous natural setting. Set amongst the pines at an elevation of 6,300+ feet, the campground would make a lovely woodland setting even if there were no other features. However, the addition of the man-made Fool Hollow Lake to this scene adds tremendous beauty. Many camping sites enjoy the feel of being nestled at the base of towering trees while at the same time enjoying a lookout over the expanse of deep blue water. What's NOT to like?
On this page, we'll talk about the facts you'll need to plan an enjoyable family camping trip to the Fool's Hollow Lake Recreation Area. You can see photos of some of the campsites at this location, and learn about the park's amenities, as well. You'll also find contact information and directions to this popular Show Low, Arizona camping park in the last section of the page.
Fool Hollow Lake Camping -- The Camp Sites
The Fool's Hollow campground is an especially good place for a family camping experience. Because the park is still fairly new, at least as far as camping parks go (it only opened in 1994,) it's still got a "shiny new look" to it. The entire park and camping areas are clean and well-maintained. Its proximity to town mean that there are running water and flush toilets at the camp...which is a particularly appealing amenity to parents bringing young children along on the trip. Plus, there are both the outdoorsy activities of the park the group may enjoy...as well as the convenience of having restaurants and shopping facilities that aren't far away if the family would like to take a break from their back-to-nature activities.
Campground Information: There are 123 camping sites at the Fool Hollow Lake campground. These are divided into two main areas: the tenting area (without hookups) and the RV area (with hookups.) Each of these two camping areas has several loops; some of the loops on each side may be closed during the off-season when there are fewer visitors. (The park is open for camping year-round, but its busiest season is May through September.)
Lake views: Quite a few of the tent spots at Fool's Hollow Lake have good lake views. Some of the RV campsites have lakefront views, as well, but there are more of them which are away from the bluff overlooking the lake. Nevertheless, if your group can't get a bluff-top, lake-overlook view, you'll still be able to see the lake as you travel along the roads through the camp ground.
Each camping spot has its own picnic table and fire pit. The tent pads are made of dirt/fine gravel, and are quite level. There are no tree ruts, large rocks, etc getting in the way; simply put down your tent & go. All RV sites are level as well, and paved with high-quality cement. The in-park roads are made of cement, as well.
One quirk of this campground is that many of the parking aprons are poured in pairs, rather than singly. This is true in both the tenting and the RV areas. If you're pitching your tent, your camping spot will be separated from your neighbor's site by the width of the double driveway. (On the other side, your neighbor will be a bit farther away.) If you're in an RV, camper or 5th wheeler, the double spots mean that you'll actually be parked side by side with another rig. The driveways are staggered so that one RV will be parked more deeply into the spot than the other one. (See the horizontal photo below to get a better picture of what I'm trying to describe.)
Handicap Accessible Campsites: In the picture to your left, you can see a handicaped campsite in the RV camping section the Fool Hollow Lake Park. Notice how the picnic table, water spigot and cooking grill are all surrounded by pavement, making them more easily accessible by a person in a wheelchair or using a walker.
There is no RV length-limit at the Fool's Hollow Lake camping ground. Since this campground was built after the big rigs became popular, it was made to accommodate them. However, there are no pull-through RV sites at Fool's Hollow campground; it's back-in campsites only.
Fool Hollow Camping Fees: Tent sites cost $17 per night at the Fool Hollow campground. If there are no tent sites available, tents may use a Full-Hookup site (but at the higher fee.) Full-hookup RV sites (with water, sewer and electricity) cost $30 per night. If your family would like to "spread out" a little, it's OK to erect a tent on the dirt by the picnic table of your RV site (in which one or two of your family members can sleep.) However, there is an extra fee of $17 for adding the tent to your spot.
Fool's Hollow Lake Camping -- Amenities
Running Water, flush toilets, showers: As already mentioned in the paragraphs above, the Fool's Hollow Lake Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1994, and the facilities remain very modern-looking. In the photo to your right, you can see one of the restroom buildings at the Fool Hollow campground. It's attractive and well-kept. Showers are available at the park.
Playgrounds: The kids in your group will be happy to note that there are several children's playgrounds scattered throughout the park. These play areas resemble a smaller version of the play structures which are popular in a number of fast food restaurant chains throughout the Southwest.
Ranger programs: While staying at Fool Hollow Lake, your family may wish to attend one of the ranger-led hikes or programs that are given by this recreational facility. In the image to your left, you can see the little "amphitheater" that's set up for the ranger to give talks...or even present a slide show. Nature programs explaining the flora and fauna of the area are given on Thursday and Saturday evenings, while a family-friendly nature walk is held on Friday mornings. Fishing clinics are held at times during the summer months; you'll want to check the park's "events" schedule before your trip if any of these programs would interest you. (For a link to the park's website, see below on this page.)
Picnicking: Families camping at Fool's Hollow Lake are welcome to use the day use facilities as well as the campground area. In the day use area, you'll find shaded camping ramadas with several picnic tables under each shelter...as well as individual picnicking spots, as well. In the photo to your right, you can see one of the multi-table picnic sites in the day use area.
Boating and Fishing: Naturally, many families camping at Fool Hollow Lake have come to enjoy the boating and fishing opportunities there. In the photo to your left, you can see the boat ramp on the lake's southern shore (in the day use area.) There is a second boat ramp on the north shore, accessible from the RV camping area. There is a 10 HP limit to the size motor your boat may have.
Fishing may also be done from one of the Fool's Hollow lake's piers, or from the shoreline. The park's literature states that there are several species of trout stocked into the lake, as well as half a dozen other types of fish (including bass, pike, sunfish, catfish and crappie.) Fish cleaning stations are available near both of the boat ramps on both shores of the lake.
Fishing supplies: Fishermen visiting Fools Hollow Lake may enjoy knowing about a popular local sporting goods store, White Mountain Bait & Tackle (address, 1300 W McNeil, Show Low, AZ 85901; phone number, 928-537-2402.)
There is also a WalMart Supercenter in town (phone number, (928) 532-1542; address 5401 S White Mountain Rd Show Low, AZ 85901) for those who have forgotten some of their fishing gear, sundries, or camping supplies at home.
Fool Hollow Lake Camping -- Contact information
The Fool Hollow Lake Park's phone number is (928) 537-3680. By calling this telephone number, you'll reach a ranger on-premises at Fool's Hollow Lake who can answer questions you may have about the park's campgrounds or day-use facilities.
The Fool's Hollow Lake address is: 1500 N. Fool Hollow Lake Rd, Show Low, Arizona 85901. Directions: from AZ Hwy 260 (AKA Clark Road) just west of town, follow the well-marked signs to the park. (Note: If you're coming in from Payson, you'll reach the turnoff street---Old Linden Road---before you get to the main part of Show Low.) Old Linden Road will lead you through a nice-looking residential area of town lined with attractive, well-kept homes. (While some parts of Fool Hollow Lake Park feel "away from it all," other parts of the park get views the new residential developments nearby.) In the picture to your right, you see the Fool Hollow Entrance Sign, which is where you'll want to turn onto the park roads.
Fools Hollow Official Website: Once you've decided to choose Fool's Hollow as your camping destination, you'll surely want to read through the park's official information pages on the internet. You may use the following link to view the
Fool Hollow Lake page of the www.azstateparks.com website.
Fool's Hollow Camping Reservations: It's now possible to make campsite reservations for Fool's Hollow via the internet. There will be a $5 reservations fee added to the price of your camping spot if you do this...but you will have the assurance of a confirmed camping spot once you arrive. To make your reservations, here's a link to the Fool Hollow Lake Reservations Page of the Arizona State Parks website. You may also call the reservation center's phone number, (520) 586-2283, during the hours of 8 am until 5 pm to make your reservation. There is also a $5 reservation fee if you book your site over the telephone, as well.