Apache Maid Mountain, Stoneman Lake, Arizona | Camping

Lone pine tree in green forest meadow

Apache Maid Mountain and nearby Stoneman Lake are in a beautiful corner of the Coconino National Forest about 15 miles southeast of Sedona, Arizona. Up here at 6,500 feet you’ll find tall ponderosa pine forest, several natural springs, and lush forest meadows. It feels like heaven, especially after escaping the desert heat at lower elevations. Stoneman Lake, one of Arizona’s natural lakes, is only 3 miles to the northeast.

Keep an ear open for no-see-ums (or juniper gnats as the locals call them) – these pesky little gnats will form swarms and bite, leaving itchy red welts on the skin. They are so tiny you won’t normally see them (hence the name), but you can sure hear their ear piercing buzz. If you keep moving, even at a walking pace, you’re fine. And a good breeze will usually keep them at bay.

It’s amazing how much things change when going up a few thousand feet in elevation. It’s obvious that with all the rain, snow, and natural springs comes a variety of lush plant life and tall healthy ponderosa pines.

At 7,301 feet, Apache Maid Mountain is the perfect place to knock off a few more degrees on the old thermometer. There is a road to the top and a fire lookout tower (no longer in use) on the summit. The views from here are excellent so bring along the camera. It’s best to visit Apache Maid Mountain on a breezy day, as the no-see-ums can get pretty bad up here when it’s calm.

Stoneman Lake is one of Arizona’s natural lakes and is thought to have been created by a deep, collapsed sinkhole. This medium-sized lake has a boat ramp, parking lot, and picnic area. Wildlife viewing, bird watching, and photography are popular activities at Stoneman Lake.

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Where in The World?

There are dozens of wild and free campsites off Forest Road 229, which runs east of Apache Maid Mountain. There are many more good campsites near Stoneman Lake, and along other forest roads in the area. This is a rather popular camping destination and there’s no shortage of good campsites. No campgrounds here – this is prime boondocking territory!

Camping Elevation: 6,455 feet

GPS Coordinates: 34°46’16.7″N 111°32’58.8″W

Directions to Camping Area: From Camp Verde, Arizona take I-17 north to Exit 306 for Stoneman Lake Road (Forest Road 213). Travel east on FR 213 for 6.4 miles. At the T-intersection either go left, to Stoneman Lake (staying on FR 213), or right on FR 229 to Apache Maid Mountain. FR 229 is a bit rough, so take it slow.

Apache Maid Mountain & Stoneman Lake Camping Area Map

This map will take you to the T-intersection, mentioned above. At the intersection, go left to Stoneman Lake, or right to Apache Maid Mountain.

Apache Maid Mountain RV Camping Journal

June 20, 2010

I’m at a good sized campsite off FR 229 near Apache Maid Mountain. The GPS coordinates are N 34 44.099’ W 111 31.685’

The weather at this elevation is perfect during this time of year. It’s been in the 70s and sunny almost everyday.

The only downside is the no-see-ums, or juniper gnats as the locals call them. Perhaps they are only a nuisance during a couple months in the summer. They bite and leave red welts on the skin that puss up later. If you keep moving, or if the wind is blowing, they aren’t a problem. They do form swarms when it’s sunny and calm to slightly breezy. Also, be careful when cooking, as this attracts them and they will fly right through your window screens and into your camper.

If it were not for the gnats and the 14 day camping limit I would definitely enjoy a longer stay here.

Apache Maid Mountain Video Slideshow

Lone pine tree in green forest meadow

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