Coconino National Forest, Oak Creek Canyon
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer
It isn’t easy to stay at Manzanita Campground — not because it’s hard to get to or because bears have taken over the grounds, but because it’s small, creekside and very, very popular.
Amid the ash and box elders along Oak Creek, Manzanita features 18 sites that fill up early on weekends, thanks to families that love to splash around and fish in the water. It’s so beautiful that you might be tempted to stay awhile.
If you do decide to leave the campground during your stay — and that’s a big “if” — there’s no shortage of things to do, from slipping and sliding around Slide Rock State Park to hiking down the trails in the Sedona and Oak Creek areas to swimming at Grasshopper Point. Just hurry back. You wouldn’t want anyone to claim your site.
Campfire Tale: The literal translation of the Spanish manzanita is “little apple,” but no apples fall from the shrub. Characterized by red bark and twisted, gnarly branches, manzanita is common in Arizona, and there are 106 species of the plant worldwide.
PHOTO: Oak Creek runs along Manzanita Campground, nourishing a variety of grasses and trees. | Elias Butler
Information: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-282-4119 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Fee: $18 per night
Reservations: Yes, for sites 9 through 19 only. Reservations must be made at least two days in advance.
Amenities: Pets, Toilets, Water