In 1885, Thomas Jefferson Adair moved into the area with the intention of farming. The locals joked that only a fool would try and farm the place. The name stuck! The tiny town of Adair has long since been covered by the lake, but it was Adair who was responsible for the name Fool Hollow.
The park along the lake, located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, opened in 1994 as a result of cooperation between the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish and the city of Show Low in partnership with Arizona Public Service and McCarty Construction Company. Today, visitors can camp among the tall pines and hike along the lake at a cool 6,300 feet in elevation. Year-round camping, fishing, picnicking, boating and wildlife viewing opportunities make Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area a popular place.
Nice spots for your gathering or a picnic are available on both sides of the lake.
Stay alert: Venomous snakes and insects inhabit the area. Do not feed the animals and store all foodstuffs in secure containers or in your vehicles.
Waterfowl: (viewing varies with time of year) mallards, Canada geese, various species of divers & dabblers, great blue heron, snowy egret, American egret, white-faced ibis.
Neo-Tropical and Passerine species: (viewing varies with time of year) Stellar’s jay, lesser goldfinch, numerous species of bluebirds, acorn woodpeckers, nuthatches and red-shafted flicker.
Raptors: Bald eagle (winter), osprey (summer), American kestrel, northern harrier, goshawk, and red-tailed hawk.
Common Mammals: Eberts squirrels, rock squirrel, gophers, skunk, raccoon, beaver, and muskrat. Sightings of elk, bobcat, coyote and deer are not uncommon.
Snakes do inhabit the area, including the western diamondback snake.
Amphitheater & Interpretive Area
The Amphitheater and Interpretive Area is located on the east side of the recreation area between the tent area and RV area. Weather permitting, join us for an interpretive program. Ask in the Ranger Station about current programs; topics include Smokey Bear, elk, wildfire, birds, or special programs.
Canoe & Kayak Rentals (Summer only)
Get a whole new view of Fool Hollow Lake by renting a canoe or kayak! They also offer paddle board rentals, bait/fishing supplies, snacks and drinks.
Camping at Fool Hollow Lake
Non-hook-up (Tent Only) Sites
31 sites: Maximum of two vehicles and six adults per site, 12 people total. Concrete pads, fire ring and picnic table, restrooms and showers.
Electric RV sites
92 sites: 30 Amp service (some 50 Amp available). Can accommodate up to 40-foot rigs. Water available at all sites. Mallard and Redhead Loops also have sewer available. Maximum of two vehicles and six adults each, 12 people total.
Check out time is noon. Site renewal fees are due by 11 a.m. Important Note: At this recreation area, the entrance gate is closed nightly at 10 p.m.
Visitors are invited to swim in Fool Hollow Lake, but safety is always our biggest concern. So before you head into the water, here are some tips to help keep you safe:
- Fool Hollow Lake is surrounded by the tree-lined beauty of rim country, so the shoreline may be rocky. That's why we recommend a light mat to put under your towel for when you come out of the water.
- We also recommend that swimmers wear water shoes to protect their feet from hazards in and out of the water.
- The lake does not have a designated swimming area, so make sure you swim close to your boat or the shore and in full view of others. If you swim in open water, please be cautious of motorized watercraft.
- Do not swim near boat ramps, docks, or near the dam.
- The lake's temperature can vary from temperate in the shallows to near-freezing in open water. if you're concerned about temperature drops in the water, be sure and bring an insulated swimming outfit, like a thermal swimming suit.
- In all situations, swimmers should exercise caution. There is no lifeguard on duty, so swimming is at your own risk.
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area invites all watercraft users to enjoy the lake, but we ask that you do so responsibly. That means ensuring that your watercraft meets all of the state's regulations for motorized and non-motorized watercrafts.
Fish Arizona's High Country
Show Low Creek flows into Fool Hollow Lake, providing a natural feeding ground for a variety of wildlife and a very diverse fishery. The lake is at 6,300 feet in elevation, and comfortably nestled within Arizona’s White Mountains. Large and smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, and trout are all swim the depths of this Arizona high-country gem and offer anglers an exciting chance at a mixed bag of fish. This moderately sized 150-acre lake has an average depth of 23 feet and a great variety of habitat types to target when fishing from either boat or shore.
A 1.5-mile walking trail runs along the south and west sides of the lake. Other arizona hiking trail opportunities can be found throughout the state so adventure is always a short drive away!