Lynx Lake, Arizona, and the nearby attractions around Prescott proved to be a great place for a week-long RV camping shakedown cruise in our toy hauler. This trip gave us a chance to do some exploring and test our solar power upgrade and generator repair before we headed out on our summer travels.
Lynx Lake is a quiet spot in the higher elevations of north-central Arizona that is known for great fishing. Sitting at 5,500′ altitude, it is cooler than the Verde Valley and Sonoran Desert parts of Arizona.
We were hoping to get some nice photos, and we played a lot with bracketing our photos (taking identical shots at different exposures) and HDR (combining those images to get the most out of the highlights and shadows).
Lynx Lake is manmade and has two recreational areas, one at the north end near the dam and the other at the south end. The South Shore Day Use area is a wonderful spot with picnic areas and lots of places to fish. That’s where we spent most of our time.
Lynx Lake is known for good fishing and it’s well stocked! There were fishermen along the shore and trolling in boats at every time of day.
We followed the shoreline to the far southeast corner where we found a large gravel beach that was perfect for kids and dogs to play in the shallow water.
A stream ran through a small craggy canyon to the lake. I suspect this area is usually dry or just a trickle, but because of the heavy winter and spring rains, the water spread out into marvelous shallow pools that mirrored their surroundings.
We caught the trees making lacy shadows in the water.
Buddy just loved this part of the lake. He loves going in the water, but only up to his armpits! The water was the perfect depth, and he and a few other dogs had fun chasing sticks.
A slightly overgrown trail followed these pools far back into the canyon and took us to a surprise manmade waterfall. It was wonderful to be here when there was so much water flowing.
At dusk, we wandered back through the canyon along the stream to the main part of the lake where the sun was beginning to do its magic.
After all that fresh air and fun at the lake Buddy crashed when we got back to the RV!
There are two campgrounds at Lynx Lake: Lynx Lake Campground and Hilltop Campground.
Lynx Lake Campground has hookups and the sites are better suited to larger RVs. It’s also located halfway between the two main access points to Lynx Lake — the North Shore and the South Shore.
Hilltop Campground is near the South Shore and is better suited to smaller RVs and tents. It is dry camping only. Campsites at both campgrounds can be reserved.
We decided to take our chances on squeezing into a site at Hilltop Campground. Some campsites are first come-first serve, which we prefer because you can see what you’re getting yourself into. But with busier campgrounds these days, and not knowing how busy Hilltop Campground might be, we opted to reserve a campsite ahead of time.
We chose a campsite the USFS website said was suitable for a trailer up to 40’ long. Since ours is only 33’ we thought it would be fine. Not!
As we stood there scratching our heads trying to figure out how to shoe-horn our rig into the sloped and tightly curved pull-through campsite, the campground host showed up in his golf cart and kindly offered to put us in a big former campground host site that he kept available for people in a bind like we were. Phew! It was plenty long enough and didn’t have any weird sharp turns.
Many sites at Hilltop Campground are called pull-through sites, but they are really just pullouts along the campground loop road. You’re basically just pulled over on the side of the road. We would have fit into several of those but they were full.
The campground pads in the campsites themselves are beautifully constructed, however. It’s a very hilly area, and each site has a large tent pad, picnic table and fire ring, often at different levels and facing into the woods.
There are wonderful hiking trails running all through ponderosa woods around Hilltop Campground and down to the lake. These would be ideal for mountain biking. We didn’t bring any bikes with us, but we walked these trails every day. Well, Buddy ran them at full speed sometimes! We were always the only ones on the trail.
We love ponderosa pine woods because the trees are spaced wide apart, creating a natural park-like atmosphere. You don’t feel closed in by the trees and have lots of open areas between them strewn with soft pine needles.
Each evening we wandered down to the lake to catch the sunset.
There is a hiking trail that goes all the way around the lake. On the eastern shoreline it is a narrow trail that is very lightly used. On the western shore it is a paved walking path that is very popular. We liked the intimacy of the eastern shoreline trail.
The sunsets were lovely. The week we were there was windy, but on a few evenings the wind quieted down completely and all the ripples in the water disappeared.
It is amazing how much we relax when we’re out in our RV. As soon as we set up camp, we both let out a huge sigh of relief.
It’s not that our conventional home-based lifestyle is stressful, but somehow there’s always a lot to do that keeps us busy all the time. Also, the focus is very much inward and homeward.
On the road, the focus of the RV lifestyle is outward and full of curiosity about what lies around the next corner. The “busy-ness” of day-to-day living slips away. When we’re camping in the woods, our to do list dwindles to the simplest things: eat, sleep, smell the fresh air, hike, ride the side-by-side, take photos and relax. Napping sneaks in here and there too!
Our newly upgraded solar power system worked great. The batteries never dipped below 12.5 volts. We also had a chance to run the generator, and it purred like a kitten. Yay!
But our real reason for this trip — besides doing a shakedown and exploring Lynx Lake — was to spend some time at nearby Watson Lake and Willow Lake, home to the spectacular Granite Dells.
Here’s a sampler of what’s over there — with lots more to come!
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More info about Lynx Lake:
Other blog posts about the lakes near Prescott, Arizona:
More fun articles about Arizona’s many lakes:
- Balloons and VW Buses in Lake Havasu AZ
- Camping World Video Shoot — RVing is for Everyone!
- Canyon Country Highlights – Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend & More!
- Catalina State Park & Roosevelt Lake: RV Camping in AZ
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park + Tuzigoot and Clarkdale
- Dolly Steamboat – Gliding Through the Arizona Desert on Canyon Lake
- Drag Boat Races in AZ – Top Speed FUN on the Colorado River!
- Fall Color in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert near Roosevelt Lake
- Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ – SPECTACULAR!
- Lake Pleasant & Canyon Lake – Waterfront Camping in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert
- Magical Moments in the RV Life
- Roosevelt Lake – Lakeside Camping in AZ
- Roosevelt Lake, AZ – Desert Oasis
- Saguaro Lake – On the Waterfront in Phoenix
- Sandhill Cranes in Willcox Arizona – What a Party!
- Spring Has Sprung! – Sweet Days at Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
- Waterfront Dining in Arizona – Scorpion Bay & River’s Edge Cantina
- Willow Lake (& more) around the Granite Dells in Prescott AZ
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