10 Places to Go to Beat the Arizona Heat

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Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

Just two miles from Show Low in the White Mountains, the 150-acre Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area sits in a forest of ponderosa pine trees – is there anything more relaxing in the summertime than the sound of the wind in the tall trees or the sharp smell of pine? The lake is popular for fishing, camping, and bird watching – during our visit we spotted a blue heron, Canadian geese, and a very large woodpecker. Campsites (123 hookups and non-hookups), named for the species of birds found in the area and located in the pines with views of the lake and modern day- and group-use ramadas, are perfect spots for birthday parties and summer barbecues. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout; largemouth and smallmouth bass and other kinds of fish have also been caught. There are two boat launches, numerous fishing docks, and a walking and biking path meanders around a good portion of the lake. While swimming is permitted, the water stays cold enough to keep most visitors content simply to dip their toes on the shore.

Fool Hollow reportedly received its name when father and son farmers set up homestead in the late 1800s – locals said only a fool would farm in the area. The Mormon settlement of Adair was built in the late 1870s but dried up when Show Low Creek was dammed in 1957. Fool Hollow has become a popular spot for Phoenicians trying to beat the summer heat so expect campgrounds to fill up on the weekends when the 6,300-ft. elevation park only warms up to the mid-80s. Aside from the weekend crowds, a subdivision has sprung up around the southeast shores of the lake, detracting from area’s remote feeling and serving as a constant reminder civilization is nipping at your heels.

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is located off Hwy 260, two miles north of US 60 near the town of Show Low. The lake is open 365 days a year. Fees: $6/vehicle for the day; camping: $19 – $30 per night for hookups and $12 – $15 per night for non-hookups (tents). For more information, visit www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/foolhollow.html or call 928-537-3680.

Grand Canyon – North Rim

Ninety percent of Grand Canyon’s 5 million+ visitors head to the easier-to-access South Rim; this is why we love the North Rim, which remains comparatively uncrowded, even in summer. And with an average elevation of 8,000 ft., temperatures hover around 80 degrees even in mid-summer.

The North Rim is a sub-alpine oasis with blue spruce, Douglas fir, mountain ash, lupines, and grassy meadows. Try to spot the elusive yet comical Kaibab squirrel with its furry ears and bushy silver tail, or keep an eye out for porcupines, black bear, mule deer, and elk. The North Rim has one lodge literally perched on the edge of the canyon – the dining room and deck jut out over the canyon for an ethereal feeling and amazing views. There’s also plenty of camping underneath the cool pines. Drive out to Point Imperial for views of the Painted Desert and the eastern end of the canyon or take in the sunset at Cape Royal with its frequently photographed arch, Angels Window. If you have a four-wheel-drive and are up for some adventure, make the two-hour (one-way) drive to Point Sublime for a breathtaking view of the canyon. The North Rim offers many day hikes – we enjoyed the half-mile Bright Angel Point trail – while the North Kaibab Trail takes you to the bottom of the canyon. A word to the wise: Dining is limited – the Grand Canyon Lodge dining room is wonderful, but reservations are a must for dinner. Otherwise, your only alternatives are a deli, saloon, coffee shop, or general store.

Grand Canyon North Rim is located 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Hwy 67, a six- to seven-hour drive from Sedona. Park facilities are open May 15 to Oct. 15. Fees: $25/vehicle for seven days. Camping: fees range from $18 to $25 per night (no hookups). For more info, visit www.nps.gov/grca or www.grandcanyonnorthrim.com or call 928-638-7888.

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