Priest Draw features impressive overhanging limestone rock of the Kaibab Formation, formed 250 million years ago. This small canyon is south of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest. There's a nice hiking trail here and the overhanging rock is popular for bouldering - a type of rock climbing where no rope is used. It's a great place to just kick back and relax in a scenic park like setting. Green meadows and ponderosa pines make it a nice picnic spot too. Hike in camping is allowed at the draw and RV camping can be found along the nearby forest roads.
RV Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 35 04.470’ W 111 35.419’
Elevation: 6920 feet
Campsite Location: Southwest of Lower Lake Mary near the intersection of FR 132D and FR 6114, off FR 6114. This campsite is suitable for small RVs. The area is a bit sandy so be careful you don’t get stuck on some of these primitive forest roads.
More Camping: There are more campsites in the area, and some will accommodate large RVs. Many sites have lots of shade, which is great if you want to keep cool – but bad if you want to charge batteries with solar panels. There are a few campsites off FR 296 next to Lower Lake Mary that have excellent views of the lake (or meadow, as it was at the time). These campsites are small so small RVs are best here. There are also some great RV campsites near the west end of Priest Draw at Kelly Canyon.
This is a nice spot to camp among ponderosa pine forest. The site is on a small grassy clearing with a good amount of sun to the south/southeast. The opening among the forest is great for my solar panel. Unfortunately my Verizon cell signal is bad.
Recreation: The trailhead for Priest Draw and Howard Draw is just northwest of my campsite off FR 132. Sightseeing, camping, and rock climbing are popular activities at Priest Draw. This area is lovely and a must see. There are several forest roads that are great for exploring on mountain bike. FR 132 is a good road to bike, though there is a lot of washboard heading north to Lake Mary Road. Going south is smoother, but rocky in spots. There are some neat places south including Coulter Park, Coulter Hill, and Antelope Park. Biking FR 296 northeast of here is a great ride with excellent views of Lower Lake Mary.
Weather: I’ve been here for about 6 days now. Most days have had mid 70s for highs, except for yesterday – which was cold and rainy all day and a high in the low 60s. It dropped down into the 40s on a few nights, which is colder than it had been. It’s still monsoon season and clouds build up by late morning. I didn’t have any rain until 2 days ago, so rain for 2 out of 6 days. It’s been a little breezy during the day. Mornings and evenings have been calm enough to fly my micro RC airplane and helicopters...and it's got to be dead calm to do that.
Wildlife: I saw a small herd of elk just 5 minutes after leaving my campsite while hiking southeast on FR 132D yesterday afternoon. I saw a falcon, turkey vultures, and ravens today. I’ve also seen squirrels and other birds. I found a few baby lizards outside my door, very cute. I also spotted some prairie dogs in the meadows at and near Lower Lake Mary. There’s morel mushrooms down there too, first ones I've seen in Arizona! I found them along FR 296.
Insects: I’ve seen just a couple mosquitoes around in the evenings, otherwise no problems. There aren’t many bees, but a few yellow jackets and paper wasps. There are a lot less insects here than at my last campsite near Mormon Lake.
Peacefulness: It’s quiet here. I can’t hear any highway traffic which is nice. There’s just a couple other RV campers further southwest on my road (FR 6114) and a tent camped a little ways southeast on FR 132D. The traffic is very light around here. My campsite is close to the road, as are most sites I’ve found here.
Cell Signal: Verizon cell phone calls cut out often. I’ve biked much of this area and could not find a campsite with better reception. It may be that much of this area south of Lower Lake Mary is too far from a tower. I have no Verizon mobile broadband internet, only extremely slow National Access service.
RV Solar: There’s plenty of sun for my solar panel in the mornings and early afternoons at this campsite.
RV Campsite Rating: 7 out of 10. Unfortunately my Verizon cell signal is very bad. Overall, it’s a good campsite and a nice area to camp in with several cool places to explore.