Spillway Campground is one of several pine covered campgrounds around Woods Canyon Lake in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and is popular for fishing. Spillway Campground, with only 26 campsites, is much smaller than neighboring Aspen Campground, which has 136 campsites. The campground sits at an elevation of 7,500 feet, and located close to the shore of the lake under a mix ponderosa pine, oak and douglas fir. Woods Canyon Lake is a quiet 52-acre lake that attracts wildlife such as squirrels, deer, elk and a variety of birds, including the occasional bald eagle.
Nearby hiking trails offer views of the Mogollon Rim, a 200-mile long cliff in northern Arizona that ranges between 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation and serves as the geographical dividing line between the cool high country above and the hot, dry desert below.
Each campground includes a picnic table, fire ring, and access to bathrooms. A small camp store is located at the Woods Canyon Lake boat dock.
Spillway Campground Bottom Line
Spillway Campground is the better of the two campgrounds on Woods Canyon Lake if you are looking for a more private camping experience. During the peak summer camping season the campground can be busy, but since it is smaller it is not overwhelming. There is decent separation between the campsites from natural barriers in the form of trees and shrubs. While Spillway Campground is not huge, it is next to the lake which offers a lot of activities, including fishing , standup paddle boarding, and kayaking. A great way to spend the day with the family is to hike/walk around the lake. The hike is strenuous or difficult and can be done in an hour or so.
Reservations are recommended for Spillway Campground, however if you show up without booking in advance and the campground is full, there are 27 campsites at neighboring Aspen Campground that are reserved for first-come, first-served camping. Be prepared for heavy and potentially violent thunderstorms during the summer monsoon season. The storms usually develop in late afternoon.
The bottom line on Spillway Campground, is go if you have a family and are looking for a developed campground next to Woods Canyon Lake.
Spillway Campground Features
|Number of Campsites:||26 Campsites|
|Beach/Lake Access:||Yes – Lake Access, no beach|
|RV/Trailer Length:||16 Feet|
|RV/Trailer Amenities:||Dump Station nearby at Aspen Campground|
|Cell Phone Service:||Verizon & At&t – Spotty Coverage|
|Operating Season:||Campground open late spring – late fall, weather dependent|
Rim Road is closed during the winter, usually through April.
|Geo Coordinates:||34.332591, -110.940313|
|Nearest City/Town:||Payson, Arizona|
|Location:||Coconino County, Arizona|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes|
|Proximity to Stores:||10 miles to Forest Lakes|
|Directions:||From Payson, take AZ 260 northeast from Payson toward Heber. Turn left (west) onto Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) and follow for 4 miles. Turn right towards Woods Canyon Lake and Spillway Campground.|
|Web:||Apache Sitgreaves National Forest||Twitter:|
|Reservations:||Online Campsite Reservations|
When To Go
Summer – Spillway campground is a great escape from the Phoenix desert heat, later in the summer to fall there are often afternoon monsoon thunderstorms that build up on the Mogollon Rim (which can be fun to experience also).
What To Do
Woods Canyon Lake provides for fishing and kayaking. Hiking around the lake is also a great way to spend the day. The Rim Lakes Vista Trail is less than a mile from the campground, and others in the area lead to spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim. An easy hiking trail meanders around the lake, and the paved roads in the recreation area make for great afternoon bike rides.