Camping Near Elk Rub Canyon in Arizona
In the northern woods of Arizona along the 200-mile-long clifflike formation known as the Mogollon Rim, Chevelon Creek meanders through rugged canyons en route to its confluence with the Little Colorado River near Winslow.
Elk Rub Canyon, 17 miles northwest of Heber, houses an unnamed seasonal stream that transports snow melt into Chevelon Creek. Its rugged terrain is home to elk, deer, mountain lion, bear and other wildlife that lure hunters to the area, and Chevelon Creek at its mouth teems with trophy-size wild brown trout.
Hike into Elk Rub Canyon to set up a backcountry campsite for up to 14 days. Pitch your tent where you won’t trample grasses or other vegetation, and use Leave No Trace ethics. Bury all human and pet waste a minimum of 6 to 8 inches below the surface of the ground, or pack it out in a portable composting waste bag. Pack out your toilet paper or burn it in a coffee can with a few vent holes along the lower edge.
Use a fire pan or camp stove to prevent scarring that takes nature years to erase. Store your food, garbage and scented items in bear-proof containers at least 100 yards from where you sleep. Change out of food-soiled clothing before entering your tent, and store those as well.
Forest Road 504 runs from Heber to Elk Rub Canyon, intersecting with forest roads and spurs at various points. You’ll find dispersed camping areas along the way where large areas of vegetation have been cleared, leaving room to set up tents or park a self-contained RV or trailer in a secluded spot where you can stay for up to 14 days in any 30-day period.
Some areas have stone fire rings where you can build a fire using downed wood you find in the forest. There are no toilets or other amenities, so use Leave No Trace and bear safety techniques.
Forest Service Campgrounds
You’ll find primitive campgrounds operated by the Coconino National Forest (fs.usda.gov) at Chevelon Crossing and Chevelon Canyon Lake, less than 2 miles downstream of Elk Rub Canyon. Both campgrounds have six or fewer campsites with fire rings and picnic tables. Vault toilets are provided on-site. The campgrounds are free and are open from May through October.
Drinking water is not provided at either campground. Bring your pole and a valid Arizona fishing license with trout stamp and angle the blue-ribbon fishing waters of Chevelon Canyon Lake. A steep 3/4-mile hike will bring you from the parking area to water’s edge.
If you’re looking for more amenities, you’ll find campgrounds providing them in Heber, 17 miles from Elk Rub Canyon. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (fs.usda.gov) has a modern developed campground at Canyon Point that provides electrical hookups, potable water and flush restrooms with hot showers.
You’ll also find privately owned RV parks in the Heber-Overgaard area, providing extra comforts such as free Wi-Fi, community recreation rooms, swimming pools, laundry facilities and hot showers.