For Memorial Day weekend camping this year we decided to head to Fool Hollow Lake State Park up in Show Low, Arizona. I actually booked this campground a year ago because this state park is really popular and fills up quickly, especially on a holiday weekend. I booked the “Cinnamon Teal” loop, site #19. This loop has electric and water hookups. I picked this particular site because it looked like it had a nice view of the lake and I was right.
The trip from home
There are two ways to get to Show Low: taking AZ-87 up through Payson and then AZ-260 over to Show Low; or US-60 up to Globe and then following that all the way to Show Low.
Dealing with holiday traffic through Payson is not ideal. It can take an hour just to get through that town because of all of the traffic trying to go up to all of the campgrounds up on the Mogollon Rim. Going through Globe means having to traverse the Salt River Canyon towing the trailer, which is a slow, winding, and steep road that crosses the Salt River but is further than going through Payson.
We decided to take the route through Globe and deal with the Salt River Canyon. When the truck is in towing mode it’s pretty aggressive about shifting down to use the engine as a brake instead of having to ride the breaks down the hill so much. The breaks still get plenty hot. On another trip through that way we stopped at the rest area at the bottom and I could smell the brakes. This time we didn’t stop at the rest area (it’s not really convenient to do so with the trailer anyway) and made our way up the other side.
Being that it was a holiday weekend, we really didn’t run in to much traffic (certainly nothing like going through Payson), which was kind of surprising. In the end, it probably was the same amount of time as going to a campground on the Rim.
I booked this campsite pretty much a year before we showed up. This place is popular and books up quickly. I picked Cinnamon Teal, site #19 (all the loops in this section of the park seemed to be named after different duck species), which backed up to the lake. I thought the site would be level with the lake but it turned out that the campground is above the lake.
The way the campsites are laid out we really didn’t see any neighbors despite them being pretty close. We could hear them, of course (especially the really bad singing that went on pretty late at night from one neighbor) but the campsite felt pretty private.
The campsite came with water and power hook-ups. For my birthday I got one of those Zero G hoses specifically for drinking water that is flexible so that when it’s not pressurized with water, it’s much smaller to store and much more pliable (which is a big plus for the limited storage in the trailer). We used it in our Thanksgiving camping trip to Kartchner Caverns and it got pretty cold at night. When I hooked up the Zero G hose to the campground’s water spigot, it kind of sprayed water everywhere when turned on no matter how much I tightened it so I think it might have gotten a little freeze damage back in November damaging the washers. Not wanting to waste water for several days, I just filled up the trailer’s water tank to use that instead. The next problem was after I switched the water pump on, it would just run constantly but it didn’t seem to be pressurizing the water pipes. Usually when this happens opening multiple faucets lets the pump pressurize everything but this time it wasn’t. So I got access to the water pump and did the usual checks. It had power because it was definitely running. I opened the strainer that sits in front of the water pump to catch something chunky coming out of the water tank but it was clean. I could feel suction on the water tank side of the pump so the pump was working. I didn’t know what else to do with it when I got the idea to prime it with some water and that did the trick.
Fool Hollow Lake
I’m not misspelling the lake’s name. It’s actually “Fool Hollow Lake” not “Fools Hollow Lake,” which seems more natural to say. Even Google Maps and Apple Maps incorrectly label the lake as “Fools Hollow Lake.” Actually Google Maps has the correct name when you zoom in far enough.
Since we were right next to the lake, we brought the inflatable boat that I got for my birthday a few years ago. It holds two people and Karen won’t get in to it so I got a workout paddling first one kid out onto the lake and then the other when I got back. The kids did help paddle some, which is much more than the first couple of times we went out in the boat.
There’s also a trail that winds around the lake so we explored that for some distance. We probably walked around the lake for about a mile or so.
It was a holiday weekend so you’d expect the lake to be busy but the park and the lake are big enough that it really didn’t really feel crowded.
Buena Vista Trail
For something else to do in the area, we decided to find a hike we could all do. We ended up at the Buena Vista Trail that’s just at the border between the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the reservation. The Buena Vista Trail there is actually quite extensive but we just did the three-mile loop that’s right around the trailhead. The portion that we did was well-marked.