The park entrance gate opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 8:30 p.m. Campers who arrive after 8:30 p.m. need to call the park with a confirmation number to get the entrance gate code.
Arizona’s White Mountain region is full of wildlife viewing opportunities and offers a large variety of interesting birds and animals to see. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is right in the middle of great wildlife habitat, from small mammals like the Abert’s squirrel, to large game animals like elk, encounters are common here and we urge visitors to be ready with their cameras during a visit to this rich Arizona wildlife viewing destination!
The Fool Hollow Lake area is right in the middle of amazing high-country elk habitat which is perfect for campers and park-goers looking for an unforgettable elk experience! The best times to view elk at Fool Hollow are just after the calves are born in May or June, and also during the annual rut in September and October. Elk are extremely vocal animals. In the spring and through summer cows and calves can be heard communicating with high-pitched mew’s. During the rut, bulls produce a powerful mating sound called a bugle. Follow the sounds to find elk in the thick ponderosa forest. Keep the wind in your face and walk slowly. If the elk see or smell you, they’re gone!
These little guys are so much fun to watch as they scurry around the campground and climb ponderosa pine trees throughout the park. Abert’s squirrels are relatively common sight here, but please don’t take an encounter with these expert climbers for granted! Have you ever been hiking along a trail and the tell-tale “bark” of a squirrel disrupts the silence of the forest? Yep, that’s the Abert’s just warning everything within earshot that you’re coming. Watch as these expert tree dwellers play and jump in the highest ponderosa pine trees! They really are an amazing little creature to watch, and it’s easy to get lost in the “free” entertainment during your trip to Fool Hollow Lake!
Mule deer are commonly seen from the trail, your campsite, or even from the roads that traverse through this ponderosa lined park. Their activity level is generally highest early or late in the day as they feed, water, and move to or from daytime bedding sites. If you’re looking for an encounter with the Fool Hollow Lake area mule deer, try taking a hike around the park with the wind in your face while looking for movement or the tell-tale white rump or throat patch. Approach slowly, and if possible as their heads are down feeding, or looking the other way. Before you know it you will be close enough to get some great images to document a beautiful encounter.
The silence of calm, cool northern Arizona nights is routinely broken by the howls and other social sounds of coyotes. These prolific predators can be found statewide, although seeing them during daylight hours can be a slight challenge. Chance sightings are most often fleeting glimpses as they run through the park during a hunt. Coyotes can also be seen from the trail, or a boat early or late in the day when their activity levels are the highest. The coyotes up here have beautiful coats and do a great job of keeping the rodent population from getting out of hand. Please keep your dogs on a leash while visiting the park to avoid a confrontation with a coyote.
Imagine you’re out for an early morning stroll by the lake, or on a boat casting lazily towards the shore. Out of nowhere the water explodes and seems as if someone (or something) is throwing large boulders into the water. Most likely, it’s just one of the Fool Hollow Lake beavers letting you know he or she is there by splashing their paddle-like tail on the lake surface. There’s a good population of beavers in this area but they’re most active at night, and rarely seen. Beaver sign can be observed by way of chewed vegetation and dugout dens, although lucky park visitors with a keen eye can spot them along shore or see the tell-tale ripples of a swimming beaver during daylight hours.
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