While it is theoretically possible to drive from Albuquerque to my parent’s place just east of Phoenix in one day, the almost 400 mile trip is about twice what I like to drive per day when I am towing my house. It isn’t a bad drive when you can haul ass going 80+ on I-40, but when you are doing 60 max towing a trailer, 400 miles take a long time. And is quite exhausting. So I needed a place to stay half way.
Having lived in Arizona for 11+ years, I had never stayed at an Arizona State Park, so I thought now would be an appropriate time to do so. After consulting with the Google, the atlas, and my parents (who have camped a bunch in the area), I decided that Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area would be a nice stop over. High up in the Arizona Rim Country, Fool Hollow is actually in the City of Show Low, which is nifty if you need to do the city thing. Well, more like small town thing, but you know what I mean. I hope.
Fool Hollow Lake was constructed (via dam) in 1957 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. This 150 acre lake (not that big, and even smaller now due to the low water levels) was created for outdoor recreation. I suspect mainly fishing as there are a number of really nice fishing piers around the lake, as well as a couple of boat ramps. Of course there are a variety of fish in the lake that fisherman can catch. Which is handy if you want to accomplish something other than get away from your wife.
Jointly managed by the US Forest Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona State Parks, and the City of Show Low (makes one wonder how they get anything done with so many government organizations having their fingers in the pie), the actual park is run by AZ State Parks. So I guess it technically is an AZ State Park, thus fulfilling my needs.
And what a nice park it is! The campground ( PDF map ) has areas ranging from no hookups that are suited for tent camping, to full hookups (yes, full hookups at a state park!), with a couple of loops having just water and electric. They charge the same for the water and electric only sites as they do for the sites that also include the sewer connection (full hookups). Combine this with the fact that it appeared one of the full hookup loops had good views of the lake, made it a no brainer to reserve a full hookup site. So I stayed in the lap of luxury for the single night I was there.
Good spacing, great bathhouses (they combine the shower and restroom in an individual room, and have multiples of these rooms in every bathhouse), plenty of trees, and a trail around the lake made it a very pleasant stopover. I was VERY impressed with the quality of the campground. From the divided road entering the park, to the clean, well laid out sites, to an awesome day use area, to just the general feeling of the place, I couldn’t stop thinking how nice this place was. Even the cold weather (6300 feet elevation in April with a cold front moving through equals brrrrrr!) didn’t change my mind, and we all know how much I dislike the cold.
One night isn’t really enough time to spend appreciating a place (unless, of course, it is a Walmart parking lot), but I did as good of a job as I could. I wandered around a bit the evening I arrived, and went on a 5 or so mile hike in the morning, exploring the park (and the 1.5 mile trail that goes around much of the lake).
Fool Hollow is on my highly recommended list if one needs a place to stay in the Show Low area.