Have I told you lately that I just love my life? I’m one lucky pup! My folks are always looking for places to take me in the summer to escape the heat. We took my car (okay, it’s really my mom’s, but she calls it the Kuma Kar so it must be true!) instead of Dad’s since it needs repairs. This was the first long trip in it, so I settled into my bed for the ride. The goal: Woods Canyon Lake. We have camped here before, but we didn’t have the camper. Dad said we were hiking around the lake today. Cool!
We went toward Fountain Hills to connect on State Route 260. We stayed on that a while until we passed Kohl’s Ranch. Right by there, turn left onto Forest Road 300, which takes you to the Mogollon Rim. You’ll have incredible views to your left. There’s a paved path on the Rim with lots of view spots. We suggest you save those for the way back. Expect lots of wind!
Anyway, in about five miles, the paved road will end, and you will turn right toward Woods Canyon Lake. Follow signs to the boat ramp/camp store, not the daily use/fee area or camp ground. Parking by the store is free, but it gets packed early. We arrived by 10 am, and there were no spots available. If that happens to you, there’s an overflow parking lot back up the road you drove in that still gives you access to the lake loop trail. We encourage you to allow 2 ½ hours for the drive up.
The trail is behind the camp store and human restrooms. From the upper lot, you will follow a paved path down to the store. The information we had said the loop was 5 miles, but we clocked it at 4 miles total. We think there is an upper or wider loop trail, but we never found it. As long as you stay close to the shore and follow the lake, you will be fine. The trail has blue diamond markers, too, so you won’t get lost.
Because the lake has picnic tables and offers fishing and boating, it attracts tons of people from Phoenix and Fountain Hills. It was an incredibly busy day, but we assumed the further out we hiked the quieter it would get. Off we went! We headed to our right from the restrooms and began the Woods Canyon Lake loop trail.
The elevation is about 7,500 feet, and the pine trees offer some nice shade. The trail is easy and mostly flat with a few rocky areas to maneuver. I loved having access to the water and immediately took a dip. Yeah, baby!
Throughout the entire trail, we enjoyed spectacular views of the lake. It is bigger than we thought we deep inlets. We stopped often to say hello to humans and my kind. As we hoped, trail traffic lessened the further we hiked. The terrain changed, and we came to a fern forest – in the desert! Isn’t that something?
About half way in a nice cove, we found some rocks to sit on and have a picnic. We had a guest join us. He seemed friendly enough as long as he didn’t eat any of my food. Woof! We sat and watched the clouds roll in. A storm was brewing, so we packed it up. We started hiking the second part of the lake.
The closer to the boat ramp we got, the busier it got. The day-use area parking lot gives folks access to this area without hiking, so that makes it easy for them to fish and picnic. We continued on until we completed the loop, which took us about 2 ½ hours. You might want to allow 3 just in case.
We walked back up the paved path to the upper, overflow parking lot, which was completely full at this point. What a great day! We stopped at one of the vistas off the Rim Road. Man, it was gusty, but you can see for miles and miles.
Unfortunately, we had a bummer of an ending to our adventure. On the way home off the 260, a car exploded and caused a fire. We saw it happen and watched as the Bush fire took hold. We were the last group of cars to pass before they closed the road down. As of this blog, 14,000 acres and counting have burned. Such a tragedy! Please humans, be careful. Our desert and forest land are treasures. Treat them with respect and don’t smoke or let chains drag. Adhere to camp fire bands so that future generations can enjoy this great state we live in. Signing off until next time!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!