Wildlife Viewing Areas
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Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area offers year-round wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as camping, fishing, picnicking, and boating. A dam on Show Low Creek forms 180-acre Fool Hollow Lake, creating a natural feeding ground for a variety of wildlife.
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Canyon Creek and Hatchery
Description: Canyon Creek, an outstanding high elevation riparian community just under the Mogollon Rim, is a very popular fishing and birding destination. Canyon Creek Hatchery is one of Arizona’s five fish hatcheries and is built at the headwaters that feed into Canyon Creek. In 2000, a large wildfire swept through much of the country surrounding the hatchery, destroying many large trees. After the fire, elk, deer and other wildlife species moved into the area to take advantage of the lush growth that resulted from the burn.

Wildlife to Watch: Canyon Creek is an excellent place to view elk, mule deer, turkey, waterfowl, trout, and a wide range of riparian birds, especially during the spring migration. You may see black-chinned, broad-tailed, and rufous hummingbirds, Mexican spotted owl, northern goshawk, red-naped sapsucker, acorn woodpecker, western bluebird, belted kingfisher, and American dipper. The cottonwood and willow stands along the drainage attract many nesting birds including common black and zone-tailed hawks, Cassin’s kingbird, black phoebe, American robin, Virginia’s and MacGillivray’s warblers, black-headed grosbeak, and Brewer’s blackbird. Elk, mule deer, Merriam’s turkey, and Abert’s squirrel can be seen year round; there is a possibility of seeing black bear in summer. In winter and spring, bald eagles may forage at the hatchery show pond. It is not uncommon to see 5-6 eagles at one time. Canyon Creek is home to rainbow and brown trout, and many of the small fish that can be seen from the shore are speckled dace, one of Arizona’s native fish species. Greater short-horned lizards and plateau lizards are common sights on the rocks and in the woodlands surrounding the hatchery and creek. Hikers are likely to see terrestrial gartersnakes, canyon treefrogs, or Arizona toads on any warm weather walk along the creek.

Special Tips: The access road is a winding dirt road that can be closed to access during wet or snowy conditions. This road is best traveled with high clearance vehicles.

Other Activities: No formal trails but wildlife can be viewed by walking the forested area along the creek. There is a self-guided tour of the hatchery work areas; hiking routes at the hatchery are paved but grades are steep.

Ownership: Arizona Game & Fish Department 
Size: 840 acres 
Closest Town: Payson / Forest Lakes

RestroomsParkingTent CampingVisitor CenterDrinking Water

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Canyon Creek Hatchery
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Driving Directions:
Forty-five miles east of Payson on Highway 260. Turn south on Young Road (Hwy 288) and continue for approximately 3 miles. Turn east on FR 33 (under the power lines) and continue 5 miles to the hatchery

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Canyon Creek and Hatchery : Wildlife Viewing Area