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Greater Arizona: Willow Springs

This past weekend we left the heat behind and headed up for cooler weather and fishing.  Maybe you should thank me because I am wondering if we brought some of it back with us.   

We decided to fish at Willow Springs, located on the Mogollon Rim, about 45 minutes past Payson.  Willow Springs Lake is right next to Woods Canyon Lake, but usually isn't as crowded.  That is a big bonus in my book.  We saw people, but we still had our space to spread out and enjoy nature.  Here are my top reasons for taking a little day fishing trip:

- young children can be entertained for hours by just throwing rocks into the lake
- beautiful scenery
- only a 2 hour drive away
- quality time away from it all (I did get one bar on my cell phone if I held it just the right way - but that was only when I needed to call family)

And here is my fishing tip:  Rainbow PowerBait and patience.  Also, don't forget your jackets, snacks, camping chairs to sit on, and maybe a change of clothes for little ones.  They tend to get up close and personal with the lake.  

If you are planning to head up to Willow Springs Lake, take US 260 past Payson.  Once on top of the rim there will be a visitor's center on your right.  Just after that you should see a sign for "Willow Springs" or Forest Road 149 on your left.  Take that turn and follow the paved road.  After a few minutes, take the first road on your right.  That opens up into a parking lot with a clean outhouse.  This is where we usually park and walk down to the lake.  If you don't turn right, you will eventually reach the dock.

I could go on and on about what a wonderful and relaxing day it was, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

After a day up in the mountains, my family usually likes to eat before coming all the way home.  We find our kids are happier with full stomachs.  We have been trying to find a place in Payson that is still fast, but not completely on the fast food level.  Someone recommended Bashas' to us.  So we gave it a try.  We had them cook us a custom wood fire pizza for $8 and picked up some produce for $7 and ate in the deli area.  We found we preferred this set up over others.  I can't say that the tables were perfectly clean, but the workers were very kind and accommodating.  For a family with 4 small children, I think this is our new go to eating location.  We are putting the Bashas' number in our cell phones so that we can call our pizza order in while driving into Payson so we don't have to wait the 20 minutes in the store.  The Payson Bashas' number is: 928-474-4495.



D said...

I love your blog - thanks for all the work you guys do. I was a Jackrabbit and my husband was a Warrior, though we technically live in Gilbert now (just barely, though :).

Our favorite place to stop on the way home in Payson is Alfonso's. It is like a Filliberto's, sort of. It is right on Beeline and always tastes so good before coming home.

iheartmesa said...

Thanks so much for the advice and for following us. We hope we appeal to many residence of the east valley, not just Mesa.