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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alamo Lake is remote, but popular boondocking area

Do you like bright city lights, the roar of traffic along a freeway, and the rhythmic thumping of boom boxes? Do wide-open spaces with the sparkling of millions of stars overhead intimidate you? Well don't go to Alamo Lake. It's about as quiet and as far away from anything civilized as you can get by a paved road. But it is precisely because of this that snowbirds from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Canada, and even as far away as Germany trek down the lonely road to camp here.

This is a pretty wild area out here. Lots of migratory birds use the lake and the river below the dam. Coyotes are regular visitors as are wild burros, who frequently come foraging right into the campground, and an occasional mountain lion.

The lake was formed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Bill Williams River in 1968 for flood control. Along with the Santa Maria and Big Sandy Rivers that come together at the upper end of the lake, the rivers drain an area of over 4700 square miles. The heavy runoff during severe rainstorms has caused the lake to rise as much as three feet an hour, 20 vertical feet in a 24-hour period!

The big attraction here, in addition to the remoteness and the solitude, is the fishing. Recognized as one of the best warm water fisheries in the Southwest for bass, bluegill, and catfish, there are dozens of tournaments a year.

Take a hike down below the dam and you can see the water rushing out of a concrete spillway with a roar, restoring the Bill Williams River. Receiving water year round, the area is luxuriant and green, as lush a vegetation as can be found in the desert, attracting a variety of wildlife and birds. Deer, rabbit, and coyote tracks formed easily identifiable impressions in the mud along the banks.

With more than 200 campsites (full, partial, and no hook-up sites) they fill up only on the busiest week-ends and holidays, but even if you drive the 38 miles up here from Wenden (on AZ 60) and they are full, they will not turn anyone away. They will always find space for you.

1 comment:

  1. We were there several years ago and loved it.

    ReplyDelete