Cholla Bay on Roosevelt Lake in Tonto National Forest is dispersed camping area located on the western shore of the lake, which is accessible via car camping and boat-in camping. The mouth of Cholla Bay has wide-open views of the Four Peaks Wilderness, the Sierra Ancha Mountains, and the rest of Roosevelt Lake. The camping area is larger than nearby Bachelor Cove, and offers similar beach-style camping as well as shaded camping under mesquite trees. The entrance to Cholla Bay is on the west side of Arizona Highway 188 and allows for camping on both sides of the highway depending on the water level of the lake. Often when the water level of the lake is high access to Cholla Bay is limited to hike-in and boat-in camping only.
Roosevelt Lake is the largest of the reservoirs on the Salt and Verde Rivers run by Salt River Project to provide water the Phoenix Metro Area. Roosevelt is also Arizona’s largest lake and is very popular with boaters and anglers. The Native American ruins at Tonto National Monument are located just a short drive away from Cholla Bay and are worth checking out. Wildlife is abundant in the area with mule deer, coyotes, geese, and fox near the campground.
Camping at Cholla Bay is a primitive experience. Port-a-potties are the only amenities provided for the camping area. A Tonto Pass is required for camping at Bermuda Flat Campground.
Cholla Bay Campground Features
|Number of Campsites:||Not Defined|
|Cost:||$6 per vehicle, $4 per watercraft via Tonto Pass|
|Toilets:||Yes – Port-a-potties|
|RV/Trailer Length:||Not Defined|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible on Verizon|
|Operating Season:||Campground open year-round|
|Other:||Camp store located at Roosevelt Lake Marina -Tonto Passes sold at Tonto Basin Ranger Station – 28097 N. Az Hwy 188, Roosevelt, Arizona 85545|
|Geo Coordinates:||33.718346, -111.204249|
|Nearest City:||Globe, Arizona|
|Location:||Central Arizona – Gila County, Arizona|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes to Cholla Bay, all camping is on unpaved surface|
|Proximity to Stores:||Store located at Roosevelt Lake Marina|
|Directions:||From Mesa, drive north on AZ-87, the Beeline Highway for approximately 60 miles to its junction with AZ-188. Turn right onto AZ-188 and continue southeast for 29 miles to the entrance to Bachelor Cove on your right.From the Globe area, drive north on AZ-188 for 30 miles to the junction of AZ-88 and AZ-188. Continue on AZ-188 across the bridge for 4 miles to the entrance to Bachelor Cove on your left.|
|Phone:||928.467.3200||Facebook:||Roosevelt Lake Facebook Page|
|Web:||Tonto National Forest – Roosevelt Lake||Twitter:|
|Reservations:||Not Accepted – First-come/First-served|
When To Go
Spring, Early Summer, & Fall – Mid-summer at lakeside camping areas like Cholla Bay can be very hot.
Use caution when camping as snakes and scorpions can be found in this area, especially in warm weather.
The official name of the lake is Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The lake is a large reservoir formed by Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River in Arizona as part of the Salt River Project (SRP). Both the reservoir and the dam that created it, Roosevelt Dam, were named for U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who dedicated the dam himself in March 1911. Roosevelt Lake is the oldest of the six reservoirs constructed and operated by the Salt River Project. It also has the largest storage capacity of the SRP lakes with the ability to store 1,653,043 acre feet of water. When the dam is in flood-control mode, the lake can store 2,910,200 acre feet of water.