Reservation Lake Campground0
Location: South of Greer, Arizona.
Elevation: 9,050 feet
Season: April through November
Access: Gravel road
Fee: $9.00 per vehicle per night
Reservations: No reservations. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Usage: Low / Medium
Days Limit: 14 days
Amenities: 60 camp sites, tent camping, trailer camping, no hookups, no potable water, picnic tables (at most campsites), rock fire rings, vault toilets, pets must be restrained or on a leash
Information: Pinetop Game & Fish Department (928) 367-4281, the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest at (928) 368-2100 www.fs.usda.gov/asnf or White Mountain Apache Tribe Game & Fish Department @ (928) 338-4385.
Directions: From Show Low, take SR 260 east, 20 miles past the Hon-Dah Convenience Store to SR 273, turn right onto SR 273 and travel 14.3 miles to FR 116. Follow this graded gravel road for 11 miles to the entrance of the Reservation Lake recreational area.
Reservation Lake is located about 11 miles south from Hwy 273 between Sunrise Park Resort and Big Lake. It is one of a few lakes on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation with maintained campgrounds. Reservation Lake is a 280 acre lake stocked with Rainbow, Brown and Brook trout.
There are no reservations, most campgrounds on the reservation are first come first serve.
Permits are required for camping, fishing, boating, recreation and hunting. You do have to remember that you will not be able to purchase permits at the campground. All permits need to be purchased at selected locations, for your entire stay, prior to arriving at the campground. One convenient location is at the Hon Dah store. Another is at the Sunrise General Store.
For exact rules and regulations regarding camping and fishing, especially if it’s your first visit to the Reservation, grab yourself a free visitors guide while you’re buying permits.
Before you plan your stay at the Reservation Lake Campground, you need to be aware that it offers very limited amenities. It is technically a maintained “designated camping area”, however I would actually consider it a semi-primitive camping area, especially the east side of the lake.
Unfortunately the store at the campground has been closed for few years. According to the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game & Fish Department, there are plans to reopen the store in the summer of 2020, however it’s not confirmed yet.
The cabins are not available for rent as of 2019, and there is no information about future plans for renovating them.
There is unfortunately no potable water available at the Reservation Lake campground. The closest source of fresh water is at Big Lake, about 12 mile drive back down FR 116. Another option is the Sunrise General Store about 21 miles away.
There are vault toilets in two locations at the campground. One by the store and the boat ramp, and one at the Nod Hill campground, west of the store.
There are no vault toilets on the east side of the lake. Campsites at Antelope Ave, Bear Blvd, Deer Drive and Turkey Meadow, only have the old school wooden outhouses, some of which are in very poor condition.
Due to the remoteness of the lake, permits required and limited amenities, Reservation Lake campground is never really busy and crowded.
The lake and surrounding forest are absolutely beautiful. You do feel like you’re in the middle of a wilderness. It is really quiet during the day. Each night however you’ll hear many wild animals living their lives in the area. The elk are grazing and calling each other, the wolves are hunting the elk (you will hear the entire pack of wolves howling loudly after killing their prey), owls are hooting, and fish are splashing in the lake, hunting for insects.
If you like to experience nature at it’s best, this is the place to visit.
If you require more creature comforts while visiting White Mountains, you could rent a cabin in Greer and make a trip to Reservation Lake for a day of boating and fishing (remember to have your permits). It would be a 23-mile drive and should take about 1 hour each way.
If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these camping guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!