Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail Loop
★★★☆☆ Easy / Payson Area:
Perks run wild and free on the easy Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail, like: traversing a bog on a log, skipping stones and walking under bald eagle nests! Circling the shores of the lushly beautiful Woods Canyon Lake (where the only muffled sounds to be heard are families, fishermen and kayakers having fun – no noisy motorboats allowed here) this family and pet friendly hike is custom made for a weekend escape.
TRAILHEAD: Rocky Point Picnic grounds Parking area at end of forest road 105, mogollon rim • DIFFICULTY: easy • DISTANCE: 3.7 MILE loop • APPROX. TIME: 1.5-2.5 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: minimal • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 470-550 • BEST TIME OF YEAR: april – oct. • PETS: yes • KID FRIENDLY: extremely • FACILITIES: yes • FEES: $7 Day Use (or annual National parks pass)
Situated on the top of Arizona’s Eden-esque Mogollon Rim, the Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail offers a little bit of paradise in the midst of this desert state. Here tall pines wrap cool lakes in abundant shade. And billowing clouds (accumulated from the heat and moisture below the rim) soften the sun. For all these reasons Woods Canyon Lake is a popular retreat for hikers, campers, fishermen, kayakers, and picnickers alike. The area houses a small country store, a boat rental dock and loads of wonderful spots for an outdoor barbecue.
The hike itself mostly hugs the shore of this tranquil scenic lake, as it gently circumvents its broader expanses and intimate coves. Starting at the end of the parking lot behind the Rocky Point Picnic Grounds, it’s common to pass families fishing on the lake’s edge and kayakers paddling it’s waters. At the lake’s westernmost tip the path crosses over a tiny bright green bog to the adjacent side on a conveniently placed log (and marked by a small blue marker) .
On the opposite bank the Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail follows the lake’s edge for awhile and then moves inward, into the pines, for about a mile. In this area there is a very quiet and protected area, where bald eagles have nested (they like fishing the lake too). Their large stick nests can be seen at the tops of the tallest pines.
At the easternmost tip of the lake the trail crosses the small dam that contains its cool waters. This section of the hike, from the start of the dam back to the Rocky Point Picnic area, is the most populous, passing near a couple of parking areas, the general store and the quaintly bobbing boat dock.
After passing the general store, there is a gap in the trail back to the Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail trailhead at the Picnic Area parking lot. Walk along the side of the road and you’ll quickly arrive back at “Go”.
Woods Canyon Lake was created 100% for fun. It is about 25 feet deep and is stocked with Rainbow Trout each Spring.
Directions From the intersection of 89A and 260 (in Payson), take 260 east for 30 miles to Forest Road 300 / Rim Road (located on the left side of the road – directly across from the Mogollon Rim Visitor Information Center). Turn left / north on FR 300 and drive 5 miles to Forest Road 150. Turn right on FR 150 and continue a little over 1 mile to the last parking lot, behind the Rocky Point Picnic Ground. The Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail begins at the end of the parking area.
- Dayhike, Family Friendly, Lake, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Pet Friendly, Water
- July 12, 2015