With so many recreation opportunities in the nearby Mogollon Rim country and White Mountains, Show Low has become an important year-round resort. Attractions include scenic drives, hiking, camping, horseback riding, golf, trout fishing, and skiing. The town of 9,200 (more than double in summer) sits on the pine-forested Mogollon Rim at an elevation of about 6,400 feet.
Show Low got its name from a poker game played in 1876. Corydon Cooley, a noted Indian scout, and his partner, Marion Clark, established a 100,000-acre ranch here in 1870, but found the place wasn't big enough for both of them. Agreeing to settle their differences with a game of cards, they sat down at Cooley's kitchen table for a game of "seven up." The two played through the night until finally Clark said, "Show low and you win." Cooley pulled out an unbeatable deuce of clubs and took the ranch.
Several years later, Mormons bought the property, and their church now occupies the gaming site. Show Low's main street took its name, Deuce of Clubs, from the winning card.
Show Low Historical Society Museum
Native American artifacts, old photos, post office, kitchen, and changing exhibits tell the town's story at this museum (541 E. Deuce of Clubs, 928/532-7115, www.showlowmuseum.com, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Wed.–Sat., donations welcome). Visits by appointment (phone numbers are on the door) also can be arranged. A gift shop sells handicrafts.
Fool Hollow Recreation Area
The 140-acre, U-shaped lake contains trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish, northern pike, bluegill, and a few walleye in this year-round multi-agency park (3 miles northwest of Show Low, 928/537-3680). Ponderosa pines and junipers surround the cool waters at an elevation of 6,300 feet. East and west shores have boat ramps fish-cleaning stations. Boaters can use motors up to 10 horsepower. A 1.7-mile trail along the south shore connects the two boat ramp areas. The campground, which fills on many summer weekends, has sites with and without hookups, showers, and a dump station. Group day-use areas can be reserved. Camping fees run $15 tent or RV with no hookups, $20 at sites w/hookups. Day use costs $6 per vehicle, $1 pedestrian or bicyclist. Interpretive programs take place on Saturday evenings in summer. Kids have playgrounds in both the day-use and camping areas. Take Hwy. 260 west almost two miles, turn right on Old Linden Road and follow the signs one mile.
Show Low Lake
Known for its walleye, the lake also contains channel catfish, trout, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. Fishermen have a boat ramp and can use motors to 10 horsepower. The Navajo County campground (5 miles south of Show Low, 928/537-4126, $12–14 no hookups, $18 w/electricity) on the lake's west side is open year-round with water, showers ($3), and a playground; groups can reserve ramadas. Picnicking in the campground costs $2. The store, open May–Sept., offers supplies and rents fishing boats. Go south four miles on AZ 260, then turn east 1.3 miles onto Show Low Lake Road at Wal-Mart.
A natural volcanic depression filled with treated wastewater attracts waterfowl and other wildlife north of Show Low. Artificial islands serve as nesting sites. Go north 3.5 miles on AZ 77 from the east edge of town, then turn right 0.4 mile on Pintail Lake Road (between Mileposts 345 and 346). A paved 0.3-mile trail (wheelchair accessible) leads to a viewing blind. A side trail leads to another viewing platform.
On to Show Low Practicalities
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