Kelly Vaughn

Tonto National Forest, Apache Junction

Just 6 miles south of the spectacular Roosevelt Dam and along the waters of Apache Lake, Burnt Corral Campground doesn’t live up to its name at all. That’s because it’s green and lush and surrounded by fantastic views of saguaro-studded mountains.

Many of the sites are right along the banks of the lake, including site 42, which is a great one if you can grab it. All sites feature standard amenities, and they’re accessible by a paved road that winds through the campground.

In terms of recreation, the lake beckons boaters and anglers. For those who love to drive, the campground is right off the Apache Trail (State Route 88), a winding mountain road that was once a stagecoach trail. It climbs among saguaros, drops into surprising riparian areas, then climbs again as it approaches Roosevelt Dam, and it’s something everyone in Arizona should experience at least once.

Elevation: 1,900 feet
Directions: From Apache Junction, travel north on State Route 88 (the Apache Trail) for about 38 miles to the campground. The last 20 miles of SR 88 are an unpaved, one-lane gravel road. Alternatively, from the intersection of State Route 87 and State Route 188 south of Payson, travel east on SR 188 for about 33 miles to its junction with SR 88 and turn right. Continue on SR 88 for about 6 miles to the campground.
Information: Tonto Basin Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 928-467-3200 or
Season: Year-round
Fee: A $6 Tonto Pass per vehicle is required.
Reservations: No
Amenities: Toilets, Pets, Water