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Burnt Corral Camping

April 10, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Leisure, Travel

Recently Donna and I were searching for a place to camp during Spring Break 2009, and since the winter had been so cold up north we knew we had to choose carefully if we wanted to not be too cold at night. A few friends recommended different places, and the wife and I finally agreed on Burnt Corral on Apache Lake three miles south of Roosevelt Dam. Initially a large group was going but everyone fell out except for us. The Burnt Corral Campground descriptions I found said that the temps were mild, there was swimming and fishing, and it was within two hours of our home.

There are two ways to get to Burnt Corral. One is through Apache Junction and up the Apache Trail. The other is to take the Beeline Highway north and cross back before you hit Rye, AZ. I had heard the Trail was very scenic but a harder drive. I also knew it was a shorter distance, so we figured it was the best way to go. I didn’t realize that this was 22 miles of unpaved, pot holed, dirt road. I enjoyed the drive, but the wife didn’t like it so much; she would’ve been more scared if the GPS didn’t show up exactly where we were.

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After about 90 minutes we pulled off Highway (if you can call it that!) 88 and down to the campground along Apache Lake. We pulled into a mesquite grove with limited shade, and I had expected more greenery but I was ok with the site we found. We drove in around 2pm on a Friday and most sites were already filled with people. The flat area below was very crowded and was completely open where you were up against your neighbors, so we opted for a site up the hill a bit. Our site had a large mesquite tree that gave us some shelter, but this also dripped some sap on our camp. Because we were camped near the lake, gnats and mosquitoes were all over the place (but they never bit us). After setting up camp a man two sites over was playing his music loudly but because it was midday and quiet hours weren’t until 10pm, there was nothing we could say.

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When researching camp grounds online, I went to http://www.camparizona.com; this site said that I could buy firewood from the host. While we were unpacking the site, the Forest Service came around to check tags. I asked about the firewood and he said the hosts do NOT sell firewood and the closest place to buy it was 16 miles away! Seriously. We also had forgotten some other things, so I made the round trip 32 miles (of which 8 miles were on the Apache Trail). This wasn’t cool, but I was only gone for about 75 minutes.

When camping in AZ we try to find something cooler that the valley, and this was not that place. It was in the 80s and really sunny; at night it dropped to 50s and 60s. One night I wore my fleece and shorts and the other night I only had on my pants and tshirt. In our attempt to go somewhere not to cold, we ended up somewhere almost too warm. That was ok with Claire who immediately was drawn to the beach. It was a sandy beach without fear of rocks. Other little children were sprinkled across it, but to my chagrin, I didn’t realize that Apache Lake doesn’t have limits on boat noise. Believe me that these speed boats was very loud!

If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful place, this is not it. Also, this place is close to Apache Junction and some of the locals were obviously here. The man with the loud radio, also played it at 1AM. I was just glad we could fall back asleep. By the second night when he was playing the radio again at 2AM, Donna went over to yell at him. The next morning we complained to the Forest Service Ranger who asked him to leave the camp immediately.

Moreover, we did get to do some fishing, but most spots were too choppy from the boats or too shallow. Claire and I walked down the trail to the north side of the camp and found some rocks that dropped of into the lake where she proceeded to reel in a 10″ small mouth bass within minutes. I shot several photos and then tried to catch myself one, but after about an hour we gave up. I was concerned about killing and gutting the fish in front of her, but I wasn’t about to sugar coat it. I was being honest with her, and gutted the fish together, and Mama picked us up.

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We spent three days camping here, and I am not about to run back there, but we sure did have a nice time, met some nice people (with a daughter Claire’s age), swam each day, got too much sun, played cards, ate smores, and took naps.

  • Yellowstone Cabins

    Such a nice place to go camping, I envy the girl did she catch that fish by herself, if yes she is amazing.

  • Such a nice place to go camping, I envy the girl did she catch that fish by herself, if yes she is amazing.


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