Bear Canyon Lake and Camping Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

As of June 14, 2016  Forest Roads 89 and 89A - the main access roads to Bear Canyon Lake - are OPEN to recreational use and camping but are still impacted by forest restoration activity. Visitors are urged to be mindful of heavy equipment working in the area and to avoid areas where crews are working.

Forest Road 89B is closed due to an active forest restoration project. For your own safety, please do not drive around road barricades to enter closed areas. Visitors found to be within the closed area will be cited. This closure does not affect access to the lake, however, dispersed camping opportunities along Forest Road 89B are not available for the remainder of the 2016 season. Camping along Forest Roads 84, 84A, and 208 is available, but may be impacted by forest restoration activity from 2016 - 2019.

A beautiful, narrow, canyon-bound lake, Bear Canyon Lake is one of several in a series of  fishing lakes built by Arizona Game and Fish Department. Despite being several miles down a dirt road and having few amenities, it draws many visitors. The partially developed campground which is set among the mixed conifer, oak and aspen, has only limited amenities. Bear Canyon Lake is a "Pack it in - Pack it out" area. There is NO GARBAGE SERVICE. Please be good stewards of the land and leave the area better than how you found it.

For purposes of fire restrictions, this campground is considered to be an 'undeveloped' campground.  No fires will be permitted when fire restrictions are in effect for the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest.

At an elevation of 7,560, Bear Canyon Lake consists of 60 surface acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet.  Because of its depth, this lake has no water quality problems. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish stocks it with catchable-sized rainbow trout about six times each year.

Arizona fishing regulations apply. Please refer to the current year fishing regulations brochure produced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department for further details on licensing requirements, daily bag limits, and other restrictions. Boat motors are restricted to electric motors only.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Accessible by snowmobile during the winter
Reservations: This is a first come first serve campground.
Area Amenities: Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Toilets
Fees There is no fee to camp.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Best Season: Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: For purposes of fire restrictions, this area is considered "undeveloped". No campfires are allowed when campfire restrictions are in effect for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
Closest Towns: Nearest full service community is Heber Overgaard, AZ, 25 miles East via Hwy 260 or Payson, AZ, 33 miles West via Hwy 260.
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilets - seasonally
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Black Mesa Ranger District
(928) 535-7300

General Information


Just off Bear Canyon Lake, approximately 14 miles northwest of State Highway 260 on Forest Road 89. Forest Road 89 is accessed via Forest Road 300 which is located directly across from the Rim Visitor Information Station or 25 miles west of Heber, Arizona.

General Notes:
  • Rustic environment
  • Provide your own water.
  • Gas, phone, and groceries are available 20 miles east at Forest Lakes.
  • Pack it in Pack it out.
  • Leave area clean for next occupant.
  • Semi-primitive or rustic campsites.
  • Trail access to lake.
  • Rustic toilets.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Toilets Rustic
Tent camping Yes
Accessible No
Camping trailer
Areas & Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
7,600 feet