Kelly Vaughn

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Hannagan Meadow

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t camp here. It’s that simple. Even though it’s not on the edge of anything, at about 9,000 feet, KP Cienega Campground is one of the highest in Arizona. It’s also secluded, and more popular among deer, elk, black bears and squirrels than it is among people.

Campers access the campground via Forest Road 55. About a mile in, you’ll notice a beautiful meadow to your right. Don’t be surprised to see Steller’s jays or rare Northern goshawks flitting about. Not even a half-mile farther down the road, you’ll come to KP Trail 70, a strenuous, 9-mile hike that wanders along the south fork of KP Creek as it ambles toward the Blue River. You’ll also see a burn area that predates the 2011 Wallow Fire — it’s experiencing a rebirth of vegetation.

The campground and its five sites lie just beyond the burn area. Although KP Cienega is small, it’s mighty in beauty — grasses, ferns, enormous pines, and Colorado blue and Engelmann spruces. This is Arizona’s backcountry at its finest.

Elevation: 9,000 feet
Directions: From Hannagan Meadow, travel 4.75 miles south on U.S. Route 191 to Forest Road 55 and turn left. The campground is 1.3 miles down FR 55.
Information: Alpine Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, 928-339-5000 or
Season: April through September
Fee: None
Reservations: No
Amenities: Bathrooms, Water, Pets