Date of Stay: July, 2009
We've stayed at Mormon Lake Lodge twice per year since 2007 - for 4th of July (because they're one of the few places in northern AZ with fireworks) and in the cabins to enjoy snow in December/January. This place has progressively gotten worse and worse every year! The RV Park - You are crowded in like sardines! We reserved a specific spot 6-months ahead of time so we'd be on an end-spot for 4th of July weekend (and relieve a little of that sardine feel.) Management gave away our spot and placed us in a tiny spot with no fire-ring and no picnic table. The manager was telling everyone that she can no longer guarantee that you will get a specific spot when you arrive. They might give you a spot # when you call and make the reservation, or they might tell you that you can have the spot you want, but when you arrive, the story changes. The female manager would deal with customers that were upset by telling them that she had an "intimate" relationship with the district manager and that she had done all she could to accommodate the many visitors. Bragging about your affair with your manager - how tacky! We actually watched a man get into a yelling match with the manager about this because he's been reserving the same RV spot for twelve years and this year, 2009, they tried to take his spot away. He was furious, and I don't blame him. If you make your reservation one-year ahead of time, you expect to get what you reserved! During 4th of July, they have a rodeo going on and you hear the announcer ALL DAY LONG and into the late-night. It is BEYOND ANNOYING! The man in the RV right next to us had been camping up in the mountains for several days before he ended up next to us, and he decided to use his sewer connection as a dumping station and clean out his sewer tanks. There is a dumping station a couple miles away that charges $5 to dump your tanks, but I guess he decided he'd save the $5. The smell was soooo disgusting, and management did nothing about it. We packed up and left one-day early because we smelled sewer ALL DAY. It was so gross! We overhead some employees talking about how several goats in the petting zoo had died because the mother goat had given birth and had difficulties, and no employees were around to help, so mom and a few babies died. It was so sad to see those poor little animals caged up (and probably neglected) for the sake of providing a petting zoo! Management is uncooperative, unprofessional and down-right rude. I was nervous to give them my credit card for fear that it'll end-up in the hands of some meth-addict. And yes, it is true, there is no lake there. Mormon Lake is more of a marsh than a lake! Save yourself the $ and stay in one of the many surrounding campgrounds nearby. We will never stay in this disgusting place again.
Date of Stay: August, 2008
This is a forest campground, not an RV Park, just wanted to make that clear from the start. Only 32 of the sites provide electric hookups, and none of them are 50 amps. About half of the spots in this campground can be reserved on-line. The rest are available only on a walk-up basis. I believe all of the spots in Loop A have electric hookups; Loop B has no electric hookups. Canyon Point is the only forest campground in the Payson, AZ area that offers electrical hookups, so this campground is very appealing to many and difficult to get reservations on holidays and weekends. You have to make them way ahead of time. This is beautiful forest, seems to be frequented by very friendly, quiet, respectful campers (not the party crowd), far enough away from the highway (although you can still hear a loud truck now and again), nice shaded spots, and easy access to a general store a couple miles up the highway, 2 popular lakes within 5-10 miles distance - Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake and absolutely breath-taking views of the Mogollon Rim along Forest Service Road (FSR) 300 also known as Rim Road. Pros: Beautiful, spacious camp sites in a relatively quiet campground. We saw some big rigs in this campground, although I don't know if they have size limits. I'm not too familiar with electricity requirements on bigger rigs, but I know they don't have 50 amp electric hookups at this campground. Campground is very close to many activities and scenery. General store within 2 miles in Forest Lakes. Showers and flushing toilets available at the front of the campground (although they're not very clean), along with ice and firewood. There is a free non-potable and fresh-water fill-up area along with an RV dump area at the front of the campground, so this is an awesome amenity for a forest service campground. We took our 6 gallon refill jugs to the refill station a few times to get free water for our pop-up trailer tanks. Cons: $25 per night seemed a little steep for an Arizona campground, with no water hookups, but I guess one man's steep pricing is another man's bargain; and if you consider the free water at the front of the campground, the $25 per night might not be so bad. Some of the staff seemed very unorganized and scatter-brained and one was incredibly rude. This rude woman was confused, and just wasn't doing her job right. I asked her what other sites were available and she jumped all over me about how we had reserved a specific site # and if we wanted another, we'd have to cancel and pay a penalty, blah, blah. Wow, that lady had some anger management issues! We were unfortunate to always have to deal with her instead of the other friendly, knowledgable staff. This woman didn't give us a ticket to hang from the mirror on our tow vehicle and this resulted in several staff members decending on our site in their ATV's like the FBI raiding a terrorist camp asking where our tag was. Then it happened again when we paid for an extra night and she forgot to give us a new tag with a new date. We came back from an excursion and were allowed to enter past the "guard gate" with no problem, but then sure enough the little "police-men" came riding up on their ATV's to see why we were still there if our tag had expired. We thought they were going to ask us to prove that we had paid. Amazing how one rude staff member that doesn't have their act together could make it so hard on everyone. So, word to the wise, make sure you get one of those tag thingy's to hang from your tow vehicle's mirror or you may be "burned at the stake!" The vault toilets throughout the campground were absolutely disgusting and smelled to high-heaven. If you reserve a spot, look closely at the map to be certain you don't get a spot anywhere near those toilets. We were lucky not to be downwind of one of those toilets. Yuck! It's hit or miss when you are making a reservation on Reserveamerica's website or via phone for this place because frankly some of the spots can't accommodate a larger trailer or RV. No one can help you select a good spot for your rig, so you are literally taking a chance, and hoping that you get a larger back-in or pull-through site for your RV. We stayed in Loop A, spot #29 and this was fine for our pop-up trailer, but would just be unacceptable for anything bigger. Spot #31 also seemed small. We saw several back-in spots that were bigger in Loop A: #27, #40, and #36 are all that I remember. The flush toilets and showers at the front of the facility were a little better, but not much.
Date of Stay: July, 2008
Our experience @ Circle Pines KOA did not warrant a return visit. We had heard bad things about KOA's in Arizona and Circle Pines pretty much confirmed most of it. This place is not anything special. Is this place for sale? We saw a real-estate sign and wondered if that might explain our experience with this place. The woman that helped check us in didn't explain anything - nothing about the amenities of the KOA, the activities -- NOTHING! I overheard some of the other staff going over everything with the other people that were checking in, but our boring blah woman said nothing. When I asked her about the activities/amenities, she gave me the shortest answers possible to just get rid of me. We were so unfortunate to always get this woman again and again every time we went back into that store/office. It made for a terrible impression about customer service at this place. We also went into the store once after it had rained a lot and our spot was slippery and muddy. We were hoping we could move to a less muddy spot. The KOA manager quickly disappeared as soon as she heard us mention that we wanted to move - like she didn't want to deal with us - and again left us to have to deal with the awful customer service lady that, of course, said they were full and couldn't move us and explained it in as few words as possible hoping to get rid of us. In addition to awful customer service, this KOA is right off Interstate 40 and right near train tracks, so you hear the freeway traffic "ALL THE TIME" and the trains aren't too bad, but you do hear their horns. Plus this place seems old and buildings seem run-down. The playground equipment is neglected and the sandbox is more like a dirt and weed pit. No one enforces the rules regarding young children running around by themselves, so you end up with some pretty scary teens running around intimidating the younger children, jumping around and abusing all the playground equipment that is obviously meant for younger children and of course, no parents anywhere in sight to correct the out-of-control teens. I took my toddlers to the playground and literally stood in between them and some out-of-control teens that were throwing the swings around with all their might for fear that one of the swings might break off and go flying toward my children. These kids were fighting and abusing the playground equipment and staff just walked by and said nothing. Meanwhile parents were nowhere to be found. This is not completely the KOA's fault, but I'm sure there are some parents that love coming to this place because they know that none of the staff will say anything and they can just cut their little monsters loose to go terrorize the place and give them peace. If the parents knew that the KOA had a no tolerance policy for this sort of thing, they wouldn't let their kids run wild for others to take care of and to terrorize other guests. If most KOA's are like this one, we're really not interested in staying at a KOA anytime in the near future and definitely not interested in returning to Circle Pines.
Date of Stay: May, 2008
This is a US Forest Service campground, not an RV Park. Just wanted to make that clear from the start. I was forced to input a phone number by this website, but just FYI: the number listed is for the Prescott National Forest, not the campground host. There are no showers, and since "N/A" was not an option, I had to answer "I Don't Know" to the shower question. This campground is in the Prescott National Forest, but you'd never think that when you are first visiting, because it is literally 5 minutes from civilization. That could be good or bad depending on what you prefer when you go camping. You see tons of stores, restaurants, etc, and then, all of a sudden, you're amidst pine trees and the city noise is gone. Our day temps in mid-May were 88 during the day and 50's during the night. Pros: The camping spots were nice size, and we did see some larger pull-through spots. $10 per night. Lynx Lake and the Lynx Lake Recreation area is right around the corner from here, and is a great place to take the family for a picnic, boating or fishing, etc. There is a wonderful trail, approximately 3/4 mile walk that takes you right to the south shore of the lake. Their website indicates that there are some lake view spots, although we didn't see any of these spots. The south shore of Lynx Lake has the Recreation area with picnic tables (some shaded), charcoal grills, great shaded lake access for fishing and the boat ramp. The north shore has a store and boat rental. Stores and restaurants are very close by, so if you forgot something or just want to give the cook the night off, you have many grocery store, fast food and even sit-down restaurant choices. Cons: No electric or water hookups. There are water spigots throughout the campground, but nothing for filling RV tanks, no showers, or flushing toilets. There are some larger pull-through spots, but their website says that a rig can't be any larger than 40', so it might be difficult to maneuver a larger rig around this campground. Campground does not accept reservations and is first-come, first-served, so you are really taking your chances trying to get a spot in this campground on a holiday, or weekend during the summer months. Most of Phoenix is trying to escape to these campgrounds on the weekend, so it can fill up quickly. The pine trees at this campground have really taken a beating in this forest: not sure if it's drought related, forest thinning, or the bark beetle, but many trees have been chopped down and many look dry and are missing their lower limbs. This makes for a lack of shade in many spots. We stayed in Loop C, site #14 and our spot along with most in our area had the sun beating down on us between 11:00am and 3:00pm making for a hot, uncomfortable, sun-burn kind of day. We have other campgrounds that we prefer, but this one is a good one to return to if we can get some time in the middle of the week and just want to stay for a couple of days.