Rocky Park in the Coconino National Forest South of Munds Park, Arizona
RV camping with green pines and blue skies
View of the expansive forest and San Francisco Mountain beyond
Biking on Forest Road 127 to the Lee Butte Fire Lookout
The Rocky Park RV camping area is amidst a tall ponderosa pine forest. At 7,000 feet, it's a great place to beat the desert heat. The area is about 8 miles southeast of Munds Park in the Coconino National Forest. Woods Canyon and the Lee Butte Fire Lookout (no longer in use) are nearby.
Some Arizona camping areas are very popular, but thankfully this isn't one of them. Rocky Park makes a nice and quiet camping area and sees only light traffic.
The directions below will take you to one great campsite near the intersection of FR 80 and FR 239. There is plenty of room at this campsite, even for big Class A motorhomes; though I’m not sure there would be enough clearance with some overhead branches. I had no problem with my 25 foot 5th wheel with a height of 11 feet. There are a few more campsites along FR 80 suitable for larger RVs, and there are many more campsites accessible for those with a truck camper.
Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 34 49.505’ W 111 35.452’
Elevation: 6692 feet
Campsite Directions: From Camp Verde take I-17 north to exit 315 (about 10 miles south of Munds Park). At the stop sign take a right (east) onto Rocky Park Road (Forest Road 80). Take FR 80 south for about 2 miles then turn left (east) onto FR 239. Take this road for about ¼ mile to the campsite on the left.
The view from my campsite is of the forest and the blue sky above. I don’t have to hike or bike far to get a lay of the land. There is a good view from the peak to the northeast, which only takes a few minutes to hike to. I can see the San Francisco Peaks and some of the Oak Creek Canyon area from up here. There is also a good view found by heading south down FR 80. From here Apache Maid Mountain (to the south) is in view and I could also see some of the Sedona area to the west.
I don’t see much traffic down this road (FR 239) except on weekends. There was quite a bit more traffic over Memorial Day weekend. It’s mostly ATVs and dirt bikes on this road. In all, this road is quiet and this area isn’t that popular. There were many more visitors to the Stoneman Lake and Apache Maid Mountain area when I was there last year.
This campsite isn’t right next to the road which is nice; but the road is still visible and audible.
Weather: The weather has been very nice, except for the wind and strong gusts. It’s been in the 70s with lows in the 40s and sunny with very few if any clouds. It gets a bit chilly in the mornings so I’ve used the cat heater a few times.
Cell Signal: Verizon mobile broadband internet has worked excellent here. I believe it’s the fastest it’s been – and it’s not hard to see why. The tower is just a short walk away (south down FR 80). Of course my cell phone signal is superb as well.
Insects: There are no juniper trees in the immediate area; however, if you take FR 80 a little ways south (past the communications tower) you will come to an all juniper forest – and with the junipers comes the juniper gnats, or no-see-ums. I see why they call them juniper gnats. It appears they don’t exist among the tall pines, unless juniper trees are in the mix. And in an all juniper forest there are swarms of these annoying gnats. I’ve only seen a couple no-see-ums at my campsite, thankfully.
I’ve seen many yellow jackets around. They are very curious of my trailer and truck. I had a couple actually find their way inside the trailer. It appears they got into the wall, probably via the battery compartment.
Wildlife: I spotted several species of birds here including robins, mourning doves, woodpeckers, humming birds, blue birds, yellow birds, and turkey vultures. I’ve also seen tree squirrels with long ears, a grey body, and a brown stripe on their back - no doubt Abert's Squirrel, also called Tassel-eared Squirrel. I spotted several deer and a few cows. A sonora gopher snake was crossing the road today and I got some pictures of it.
I saw a couple lizards fighting, right next to my camper. It appeared one was getting too close to the others territory and the battle began. I wish I had it on video. They were jumping off rocks and spinning in the air while wrestling and biting each other. I saw a bat too. It was down in Woods Canyon. It flew down from its shelter to get a drink of water in a small pool among the rocks of the canyon.
Overall, it’s been a great camping experience in a beautiful pine forest. There are several National Forest roads to explore and hiking cross country is fun and relatively easy among the tall pines.