Dedicated to finding campgrounds that have beautiful views of natural settings, I recommend Bog Springs and Lakeview campgrounds located near Tucson, Arizona in Coronado National Forest for their beautiful views of the unique terrain of southeastern Arizona. They’re also great for bird watching and hiking.
Bog Springs Campground
Bog Springs is the only campground in Madera Canyon – a world-class birding area with over 200 species of birds. Hawks, Quail, Doves, Road Runners, Owls, Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds, Jays, Cardinals, Mockingbirds, Thrashers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Bridled Titmice, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and many more bird species can all be seen in the Madera Canyon area. The campground is at an elevation of 5,200 feet and is small (only 13 camp sites). Once the birds arrive in early spring, it fills up fast. Weekdays are best for finding a camp site during the peak bird watching season.
It’s also a great base camp for hiking, biking and stargazing. Three trails leave from the campground to nearby springs and the campground is just a short walk away from Madera Picnic Area, where there is access to a nature trail. Within driving distance are over 65 miles of Forest trails that lead into the Mt. Wrightson Wilderness, a mountain bike ride around spectacular Elephant Head Rock, and three scenic drives, one of which visits the Smithsonian’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory.
If you’re not a bird watcher and don’t like to hike, Bog Springs is still a great campground to visit with beautiful views of the Santa Rita Mountains and surrounding desert/arid landscape. The campground is open all year. We visited the campground in Late November (not many birds that time of year). The weather and scenery were gorgeous. Most of the camp sites had beautiful views of the mountains and desert landscape. There were only 2 other campers in the campground at the time. Most of the camp sites are shaded and well spaced with boulders, trees and other vegetation providing good separation between sites. Some of the sites are terraced which also provides separation. The campground has a rustic feel but is very easy to get to with paved roads almost all the way to the entrance.
Getting to the campground is easy. From Tuscon, go toward Green Valley (about 25 miles). Off Interstate 19, take the Continental Road/Madera Canyon Exit. Turn east and follow the Madera Canyon signs 12.5 miles to the campground.
For more information on this campground, call the District National Forest office at 520-281-2296.
Lakeview campground is located on a hill overlooking Parker Canyon Lake. Many of the campsites are well shaded and are spread among a stand of oaks and junipers. Although the campground is just a short walk to the lakeshore, only the tent sites have views of the beautiful clear waters of Parker Canyon Lake.
Lakeview Campground is more remote and less accessible than other campgrounds which is a plus if you don’t like crowds. There is a five mile trail hugging the shoreline that leads around Parker Canyon Lake. The lake is great for watching ducks and other waterfowl as well as bald eagles, osprey and even hummingbirds in season. The trail has several viewing areas with benches and interpretive signs.
Parker Canyon Lake is also great for fishing. It offers both cold and warm water species, including stocked rainbow trout and resident bass, sunfish, and catfish. There is a fishing pier and a paved boat ramp at the lake. There is also a small concessionaire-operated store at the lakeshore for boating, fishing and other supplies.
Getting there from Tucson isn’t quite as easy as Bog Springs. A good bit of the access roads are not paved. From Tucson, travel east on Interstate 10 to State Route 83 (exit 281) and turn south 50 miles through Sonoita to Parker Canyon Lake.
For more information on Lakeview campground call the District National Forest office at 520-378-0311.
If you like bird watching, hiking, fishing or boating and appreciate beautiful views from your camp site, try Bog Springs or Lakeview campgrounds.
Carl Zimmerman is owner and webmaster of Camping with a View, dedicated to finding campgrounds with beautiful views. Visit the Arizona Campgrounds – Coronado National Forest Campground Reviews page for photos, reviews and more information on Bog Springs and Lakeview campgrounds.