Chevelon Canyon Lake is a BEAUTIFUL place, it's away from the city, its in the middle of nowhere and the only people out there are true nature enthusiasts (or so it seems).
We drove out monday morning from Peoria, AZ and took the 87 up to Payson. A beautiful drive in all, just remember to put your radiator cap back on before attempting those hills!
We knew it was "out there" but once we hit the 260 and then Heber...we knew we'd gone too far! Luckily you can sneak a forest road just across from the first Circle K in Heber, phew! Sorry, I don't remember which FR it was, it WAS 8am and I'd been driving since 5
After another hour or so of driving on lovely back forest roads and plenty of wild flower (and a very angry cow!) photos to be taken we made it to the Chevelon campground, parked, unloaded and without a second thought picked up our two, forty pounds kayaks and loaded backpacks and headed down the "slight hike" to the lake...
yeah, bad idea guys! DON'T DO IT! unless you have a light pack, an inflatable kayak and are BUFF out of your mind haha it took us two hours to carry those suckers down(each of us carrying one end of each yak), just my husband and I, luckily a man and his sons helped carry mine down the last 70 feet or so, my hands were blistered from the darn tiny rope "handle". Now that I look back, it FELT like two miles down but in reality it was probably just under a mile from the campsite and maybe three quarters of a mile from the "gate" which my little chevy malibu obviously could NOT drive to, I saw two jeeps turn back from this road, you'd need high clearance and confidence
okay so here it is almost noon and finally made it to the lake, ahh! The clouds were rolling in, a light monsoon headed our way, BEAUTIFUL but a bit of a thorn in my paw as we still had to paddle into a canyon we'd heard so much about and set up camp.
Off into the lake we go, trout were leaping all around us, the wind was in our faces and there was not another soul around once we launched from the tiny "dock".
This place is a MUST if you have the guts, gear and gusto to do so! We ended up camping on a little outlet that had a nice sandy beach to tie up the yaks. It had obviously been used many times before, probably a popular party spot for Quad riders and teens. Lots of litter, we picked up quite a bit and packed out a good amount (not all of it, but what we could!)
didn't get a chance to fish but the skinny dipping was fun! Not a soul in sight, I will for sure do this trip again, maybe plan ahead better next time!
and I think the hike down wouldn't be SO bad if we had lighter kayaks or perhaps "dollies" for the boats, but who knows.
And all the stories are true, lots of abandoned boats down there.
saw a deceased deer with fawn in the middle of the hike down, the next day up she had been dragged down by a bear (fresh bear poo said so) her chest cavity was still visible from the trail, mmm yummy! lots of foul, fish, flora and fauna, a photographers fantasy!