You won't find much but fields of wildflowers, pristine forests and clean mountain air at Hannagan Meadow in Arizona. Hannagan Meadow sprawls along the Coronado Scenic Byway virtually in the middle of nowhere, at an elevation of 9,100 feet in the White Mountains of Arizona. One campground, a country store, lodge and restaurant are all the signs of civilization you'll see for miles around, yielding a truly serene getaway where you not only can camp, but explore trails leading into wilderness and primitive areas.
Your RV unit must be less than 16 feet in length to access this cozy eight-site campground 22 miles south of Hannagan Meadow Lodge. The campground provides the basics -- potable water, vault toilet and picnic tables -- and sits convenient to the Clell Lee Loop, a trail circling 4.2 miles through the meadow and surrounding forest, and the Fish Creek Trail, which descends a steep canyon to give you fishing access to both Fish Creek and the Black River. Within a mile, you can access the Hannagan Meadow Snowmobile Trail and the Steep/Foote Creek Trailhead that connects to more than a half-dozen trails in the Blue Range Primitive Area. Hannagan Meadow Campground is officially open from May until the first snowfall, with campground hosts on site from May through September. The facility may open sooner when warm temperatures trigger early snow melt.
You can find level, vegetation-free spots along forest roads at Hannagan Meadow where you can park your rig at no charge. No facilities are provided, so you should fill your water tanks ahead of time and practice low-impact, self-contained camping. The Hannagan Meadow area was damaged by the Wallow Fire in 2011, so be aware of dangers you wouldn't ordinarily expect, such as treefall, areas of flash flooding, or holes left by burned-out stumps. You can camp in any dispersed site of your choosing for up to 14 days at a time.
Nearby Camping Options
If your rig is less than 32 feet long, you can camp 25 miles northeast of Hannagan Meadow at Luna Lake Campground (fs.usda.gov). The campground is 5 miles from the town of Alpine and has handicap-accessible facilities. You'll find the basic Forest Service amenities -- pit toilets, fire rings, picnic tables and drinking water -- as well as a boat rental and tackle shop. Garbage service is provided from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You'll also find a few private RV parks near Alpine where you can park bigger rigs and have the convenience of hookups.
Hannagan Meadow's alpine climate provides a refreshing summer getaway from the heat of the low Arizona deserts. The 9,100-foot elevation keeps summer temperatures in the mid-to-high 70s Fahrenheit with nights dipping down to the mid-40s. July and August bring monsoon thunderstorms from the south, with thunderheads building on the horizon in early afternoon and dumping heavy rain later in the day. If you are dispersed camping, make sure you are not camped in a dry wash or other area where mud or flash flooding might endanger you. Temperatures can drop up to 30 degrees within a matter of minutes when rain hits, so be sure to carry storm gear and an insulating layer such as a fleece jacket when you are going to be away from the shelter of your RV for any length of time.
- United States Department of Argriculture Forest Service: Hannagan Campground
- United States Department of Argriculture Forest Service: Luna Lake Campground
- United States Department of Argriculture Forest Service: RV Camping
- United States Department of Argriculture Forest Service: Dispersed Camping
- Arizona Highways: In the Meadow
- Camp Arizona: Hannagan Meadow
- Photo Credit NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images