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Buckskin Mountain State Park, Parker, AZ

buckskin-mountain-sp-028Louise Speaks:  This is the first stop on a 7 day 3 stop RV trip.  We are wagon masters for this so we got to pick the stops and the things to see and do…quite a powerful task.  Since we are trying to do all the state parks in Arizona and camp at all the parks that offer camping, Buckskin was the reason for this stop.  Parker is right on the state line of Arizona and California and sits right along side the river.  In fact the state line is in the middle of the river.  So if you are boating, you cross the state live very easily.  Buckskin Mountain State Park is right on the edge of the river, and just beautiful.  We are here in February and on a Wednesday so not much is happening, but the park is full.  There are 8 Rigs on this trip and we are ready for a fun time.  The weather today is just perfect.  The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and it is very comfortable.  This will not be the case in 4 months.  Parker’s temperature can exceed 100 degrees, but being along the river definitely helps.  With visiting Buckskin today we are half way through visiting all the state parks in Arizona, and we have camped at half the parks that offer camping.  Maybe this should be a goal for 2017…to complete this state park mission and be done with Arizona.

buckskin-mountain-state-park-az-019Buckskin Mountain is a  second developed area of the park is known as the River Island Unit or River Island State Park. Both park areas have shoreline on the  Colorado River  and views of the Buckskin Mountains.  We have not yet visited or camped at River Island State Park, so we do have to make another trip out this way but not during the summer months…looks like a fall or winter trip later in the year.  Like I mentioned, Buckskin is right on the rivers edge and the park provides camping and water recreation opportunities.  There is also plenty of fishing and one of our members spent a whole day doing just that.

Buckskin Mountain State Park is primarily operated by volunteers with only a few park rangers split between the two parks.  Both sites are home to many different kinds of birds, insects, fish & plant life, as well as a winter haven for travelers from up North.  What this means, is remember when I said the park was full.  Well because of the weather and the location, what Arizonians call “SnowBirds” people from the northern part of the United States flock to Arizona for the winter months, so parks like this are full to the brim.  Come May and later, you could just drive up and get a spot.

709550I’m just kidding about the park being empty during the summer months.  The area is just beautiful.  You have the river on one side and beautiful Arizona mountains on the other.  Buckskin Mountain State Park commands one of the finest views along the Parker strip, an 18-mile stretch between Parker Dam and Headgate Dam.   This picturesque park provides scenic respite, mountain hikes, a desert escape and fun-filled water adventure.  In the summer Buckskin is popular for boating, jet skiing, swimming and camping.  In the winter, visitors appreciate the mild climate and enjoy camping, fishing and hiking in the park. Buckskin is a  year-round destinations for those looking to discover a variety of recreational and cultural resources.  The Colorado River Indian Reservation is just east of Parker and archaeological sites are scattered up and down Arizona’s “west coast.”  Parker Dam, the world’s deepest dam, is located approximately five miles to the north on Highway 95.  About 25 miles north is Lake Havasu City, home of the famous London Bridge. This 1,677-acre park has been operated by Arizona State Parks since 1967.

101_0177Like I said we are half way through visiting the state parks in Arizona, and this one is moving close to the top.  It is just beautiful here.  I know it will be hot in the summer, but you  are walking distance to the rivers edge where there is a swim beach.  If you are lucky enough to have a boat or water vehicle, I’m sure you would not mind the temperatures at all.  There are plenty of trees so you are in the shade, so sitting outside, watching the hustle and bustle of the river would still prove to be a wonderful time, no matter what the temperature.  Each site has a fire ring, picnic table and the RV spots are very spacious so you are not right next to your neighbor.  The park is clean as are the restrooms and showers.

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We truly enjoyed this park.  We are here for two days so we are going to enjoy the sites.  There is a casino in Parker where we all went to play bingo our first night.  There are plenty of bars and night life along the river, but in February they are only open on the weekends.  Of course there is fishing and water activities, but we are visiting an old mining town…to be blogged about seperately.  I would highly recommend coming to Buckskin Mountain State Park.  There is lots to do, or it’s a great place to just do nothing.

 

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Fool Hollow State Park, Show Low, AZ

Louise Speaks:  As I have said earlier, now that we have completed all the county seats of Arizona, we are now going to visit all the State Parks in Arizona.  We are also going to camp in all the state parks that offer camping.  This is our second trip to Fool Hollow State Park.  I didn’t blog about it earlier because it wasn’t until recently that we decided to visit all the  state parks.  I don’t blog about the RV parks, that’s Thelma’s job, but since this is one of the state parks here I am.  Fool Hollow is one of the favorite spots for our RV club, so here we are again.

204This state-of-the-art recreation area  opened in 1994.  Fool Hollow Lake is a public lake located  near the city of Show Low.   The lake consists of 150 acres with an average depth of 23 feet and has a variety of fish species.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks the lake with Rainbow Trout  throughout the spring and summer.  Fool Hollow was named for a hapless settler who attempted to farm the rocky canyon in the 1880s.  The tiny town of Adair has long since been covered by the lake, but it was Thomas Jefferson Adair who was responsible for the name Fool Hollow.  In 1885, Adair moved into the area with the intention of farming.  The locals joked that only a fool would try and farm the place. The name stuck!  The Arizona Game and Fish  constructed the lake in 1957 specifically to provide water-oriented outdoor recreation.  Fools Hollow is now a complete recreational area.

img_0976Fool Hollow is a monster of a campground.  Virtually everything you would need is available, including showers, electric hookups and a dump station.  The 150 acre lake is set just a couple of miles west of Show Low and is extremely popular with local fishermen.  You may rent a boat in Lakeside which is just east of Show Low and they will even bring the boat out to the lake for you.  Heck, there is even a fish cleaning station. There are also two playgrounds for the kids set among the 123 campsites of which 91 are set up with electric hookups for RV’s. There are also day use ramadas for larger groups.

img_0978We love this place.  No wonder why the RV club comes here every year.  October seems to be theimg_0980 month of choice due to the weather.  How to describe Fool Hollow.  Imagine camping among 100-foot pine trees beside a quiet lake watching majestic great blue herons at a cool 6,300 feet in elevation, that’s a higher elevation than Prescott.  Here you will find year-round camping, fishing, picnicking,hiking, boating and wildlife viewing opportunities.  Camp fires are allowed and the October nights are just cool enough to enjoy them.  Roasting marshmallows and telling stories helps to pass the night away.  This North East part of Arizona has always been my favorite.  In fact when I was younger this is where I was going to retire.  I love Prescott, but I equally love this area as well.  At the elevation of Fool Hollow, the summer months are most popular, but it is open year round, so put this on your lists of places to camp in Arizona.


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Verde Valley Greenway State Park, Cottonwood, AZ

Louise Speaks:  As I have said previously, we are trying to visit all the state parks in Arizona.  We have already seen three today and this is our fourth and final stop of touring State Parks in northern Arizona.  We actually had a hard time to find this state park.  We weren’t even sure if it was a state park as it is just along the river.  We ended up asking a park ranger, and this green belt area where we were searching was in fact the Verde Valley Greenway State Park.

100_9836During the spring of 2007, a group of long-time river activists wanted to take a more “hands-on” approach to protect the longest free-flowing stream in Arizona, the Verde River.  At the same time, Arizona State Parks were seeking a non-governmental partner to assist with conservation and public outreach efforts to support the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area.  Friends of Verde River Greenway emerged as an affiliate of the Arizona State Parks Foundation committing to river restoration and enhancement projects as well as introductory canoe trips on the river.  In partnership with other environmental and civic organizations, FVRG conducted regular weekend volunteer projects to protect and enhance this delicate riparian corridor while promoting stewardship in the community.

100_9840The nearly 180-mile long Verde River is a significant resource in Arizona.  It is one of the desert’s last free-flowing rivers sustaining a large regional wildlife population and a lush riparian community.  In 1986, the state purchased the area that is now known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area between the Tuzigoot and Bridgeport bridges.  The Greenway encompasses nearly 480 acres and is six miles long. The 3,300 foot elevation means mild temperatures for hiking along the Verde, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water.  Life along the river changes with the season, giving visitors a glimpse of great blue heron, black hawks, coyotes, raccoons, mule deer, beavers, ducks, frogs, and toads.  The Verde River and surrounding riparian corridor support nearly twenty threatened or endangered species including river otter, southwestern bald eagles, southwestern willow flycatchers, and lowland leopard frogs.

The area along the river is very green, hence the name.  There are many water activities along the river and it is one of Arizona’s free natural treasures.  There is no camping at this location, but Dead Horse State Park is just around the corner.  We visited Dead Horse, but we have not camped there so we are going to wait to blog about Dead Horse, once we have camped there.  Greenway State Park is a fun place to go to get out of the Phoenix heat and just spend a day  at the river doing fun stuffs or doing nothing.  It’s a great park and a great place to visit.