Woods Canyon Lake Recreation Area
Woods Canyon Lake is a beautiful, canyon bound, deep lake, with plenty of trout fishing opportunities. At an elevation of 7,510 feet, Woods Canyon offers 55 surface acres, and a maximum depth of 40 feet. This lake is stocked regularly with catchable rainbow trout. A few, large brown trout remain in the lake from stockings years ago.
Visitors to Woods Canyon Lake can enjoy a picnic area (fee), restrooms, and a boat ramp. The Woods Canyon Lake Store and Marina rents boats and sells licenses and fishing supplies. Campers can stay at one of four developed campgrounds (fee). Spillway Campground has 26 sites, each accommodating a trailer up to 16 feet long. Due to it’s proximity to the lake, Spillway fills quickly. Aspen Campground, also within walking distance to the lake, is much larger with 136 sites, and can accommodate trailers up to 32 feet long. Woods Canyon Group and Crook Campgrounds offer group camping by reservation.
The Black Mesa Ranger District is a “Pack it in-Pack it out” area. Please remove your garbage from the area when you leave.
From Payson, Arizona: take Highway 260 northeast from Payson toward Heber. Turn left (west) onto Forest Road 300 and follow for 3 miles. Turn right at Woods Canyon Lake Road and travel 0.75 miles to the campground on the right side of the road.
Woods Canyon Lake is surrounded by a dense forest of pine, fir, oak and aspen, and sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Hikers who venture onto nearby trails are afforded expansive views of the land beneath the Mogollon Rim. The Mogollon Rim, pronounced by locals as "muggy-own," is a 200-mile long cliff in northern Arizona that ranges between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation and serves as the geographical dividing line between the cool high country above and the hot, dry desert below.
Summer temperatures can be very pleasant because of the elevation. However, the rainy season often brings afternoon thunderstorms from late June through August. Visitors should come prepared for rain and cool nighttime temperatures.
Wildlife viewing includes birds, squirrels, deer and elk. Deer, skunks and bears are common campground visitors.
Woods Canyon Lake is one of seven lakes in the Rim Lakes Recreation Area, and one of the most visited. Trout fishing (both lake and stream) is a favorite pastime. Woods Canyon Lake only allows electric boat motors. Two other lakes are within a short drive.
The Rim Lakes Vista Trail, less than a mile from the campground, and others in the area lead to spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim. An easy hiking trail meanders around the lake, and the paved roads in the recreation area make for great afternoon bike rides.
Families might also enjoy attending educational programs given by Forest Service rangers on the weekends.
The group camping area is primitive but convenient to the lake. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. The facility can comfortably accommodate 70 people, though the maximum is 100.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Campground CampingRecreation areas with activity Campground Camping:
- Aspen Campground
- Crook Campground
- Mogollon Campground
- Rim Campground
- Spillway Campground
- Woods Canyon Group Campground
Group CampingRecreation areas with activity Group Camping:
Lake and Pond FishingRecreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:
More information about fishing in Arizona can be found at the Arizona Game & Fish website.