Short Stories

A family visits Tonto Natural Bridge and poses in front of fall colorsVisiting Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

What an awesome day we had at Tonto Natural Bridge today! I took my parents and my kids, and everyone loved the changing colors on the trees, the hiking, and having a picnic in beautiful weather! ~ Katie






A Visit to Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Campground has become our favorite place in the spring! Two years ago we camped there with my brother and sister in law. By a wonderful stroke of luck, it turned out there was a birder festival that week and my sister in law is an avid birder! The birder festival was a wonderful experience and I had a whole new outlook on birds! Immediately after that trip, I booked a site for last year’s trip.

The campground is a very relaxing, beautiful environment with small lakes for fishing and lots of hiking and biking paths. It is in an excellent location with easy drives to Jerome, Cottonwood and Sedona plus Tuzigoot and other historical sites. I look forward to our next trip to Dead Horse. ~ Kathy








Camp Hosting at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

Our story is not one of camping, but one of camp hosting. . .about 14 years ago after retirement, my wife and I decided to try the "camp hosting" life. After a phone call to Fool Hollow Lake campground, we found ourselves as camp hosts at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area. What a wonderful decision for our lives. The experience was great, the staff and rangers were the greatest, and the campers and visitors were wonderful too!

Our five summers at Fool Hollow were the greatest times in our years of retirement and will never be forgotten. Thanks to Arizona State Parks for five great summers in Show Low!! ~Kenneth



Display of Nature at Roper Lake State Park

My husband and I were blessed with this display of nature during one of our many stays at Roper Lake State Park. This phenomenon is called a “murmuration.”  While relaxing outside our camper, as the sun was beginning to set behind Mt. Graham, we saw what appeared to be a small black cloud in the distance. Then we realized that several of these “clouds” were approaching from all around us! We sat there, absolutely mesmerized as we realized that these “clouds” were actually several flocks of starlings, all coming together right above us; thousands of them! They moved and swayed with such choreographed rhythm that we felt as if this was a private showing of artwork—just for us. 

As the sun got lower on the horizon, the flock gathered more tightly, right above the lake, all the while continuing the fluid-like motion, as if they were one unit. They were so low that we could hear the whooshing sound of their wings. Lower and lower the flock went, and almost at the same moment the sun disappeared, all at once the flock disappeared among the reeds around the lake’s shore. We just sat there, awestruck at the gift we had just received.

After a little research, we found out that starlings typically feed during the day in farm fields, and roost at night among the reeds around a lake or stream. We have not seen this visual feast since that time, but I will always have my camera ready near sundown at Roper Lake State Park! ~ Monica

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Outdoor Recreation Info Center
Visitors Welcome!
23751 N. 23rd Ave. #190
Phoenix, AZ 85085

 (877) MY-PARKS

Mission Statement
"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners."