Motors Allowed?
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Perched on the eastern side of Mount Graham, Frye Mesa Reservoir is an excellent place to camp out for a night or spend a day escaping the southern Arizona heat. A winding and sometimes sketchy dirt road leads you up to a small reservoir in the shadow of Mount Graham. Frye Mesa Reservoir contains both Apache and Gila trout, making it one of the only places to legally catch Gila trout in Arizona. Frye Mesa offers spectacular views of the Gila River Valley below and the rocky peak above. Swim, paddleboard, or kayak on cool clear waters of this tiny lake. Keep an eye out for cactus blooms and rattlesnakes.

The reservoir is fed by a canyon-bound creek. An easy walking trail around the reservoir leads you to a small rock alcove with a waterfall and a shallow pool. A series of waterfalls and pools can be found above this one, but they can only be accessed with technical climbing gear or from a rugged road that continues after the Frye Mesa Reservoir turnoff and continues up the mountain.

There are no services at Frye Mesa Reservoir, not even a vault toilet, so please bring wag bags or use the bathroom before you head there. Please pack out all trash; this place often has a problem with litter and graffiti. Locals often camp right next to the lake, and there is enough room for two small groups or one bigger one. If you do camp there or intend to have a fire, please check with Coronado National Forest for any fire bans and make sure the fire is dead out. This place is known to have strong winds that can easily re-ignite smoldering coals and cause a forest fire. Secure all food items in your car. There are black bears in the area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Beautiful views.


Sketchy road. Graffiti and litter.


Campgrounds + Campsites

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Pinaleno + Chiricahua Mountains Area, Arizona


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.