Indian Gardens Spring (CCC campsite), Kohls Ranch, AZ


Posted: October 28, 2009

Category: Arizona, North America, United States, View All

Kohls Ranch
Kohls Ranch, AZ
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This is an awesome spring! The site surrounding the spring was once a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Their project, was to replant forest in the surrounding area that had been logged as a result of the dense Ponderosa Forest found in the region. The CCC, called “Indian Gardens” home in the spring of 1933. Since that time, the town of Kohls Ranch has placed a tap over the spring to bring it back into their subdivisions. The spring itself however, has overflown the restraints of the tap. Now days, the spring is found gushing out over the wall of what could be the construction of a cement retaining wall that the CCC had built. Just two weeks ago, I was meditating near the spring, when I noticed the water change color. It had gone from clear, in a low turbidity zone, to dark muddy waters in a matter of seconds. As I ran over to the spring, I was amazed to see that the spring had made a new birth. This new place where the spring was pouring out had completely bypassed the tapped section, and now was coming out from just beneath the above mentioned cement retaining wall. It was a very cool thing to be witness to, as I had just filled my water there moments before.

Nearest Address

Kohls Ranch

Directions from Nearest Address

Head East out of Payson on highway AZ-260. Travel approximately 15 miles. Look for the “Paleo Site”, which is the turn just before the Indian Gardens site. Make a right onto the unmarked road. (If you have made it to a left hand turn after the “Paleo Site”, you have gone too far. A turn around can get you back in just a few moments time.) The unmarked road is paved initially and maintains for only 100-150 yards, and then turns to gravel. Approximately 10 yards after it has turned to gravel you will come across a gate. The state of Arizona keeps the gate locked as Indian Gardens is used as a pick-up spot for huge water pillows which are used in the event of a fire in the surrounding area. Get out of your car, and cross the small gate. Proceed down the dirt trail roughly 100 yards. As you start to approach a small bridge, the sound of gushing water should be unmistakable. The spring is to the West of the small bridge by roughly 10 yards.

Vital Information

  • Fee: No Fee
  • Access: Private
  • Flow: Continuous
  • TDS: 250
  • Temp: N/A
  • pH: N/A

Hours Spring is Open:

Open day/night


Submitted by: Andrew Fiala

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  1. Anthony says:

    Went there yesterday…was hard to use larger containers, but the most accessible in the area.
    If you visiting from Phoenix, the spring north of Sedona is a FAR superior choice. We had to walk across a small thruway with a pool of larvae – it could have been pretty bad. No place to bring large glass containers – very risky. The flow was SUPER strong though, the strongest Ive seen. Water came in at 250ppm – Sedona reads 100ppm. And the area was much drier and not quite as magical as that Sedona spring area. Truly memorable on 89A north.

    Kind of a dingy place too, they should really take care of such a truly sacred place. I can only imagine how much life that spring supports. Its sad to see it in a decrepit area. I would be TERRIFIED there at night.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Very easy to get to, however I wouldn’t drink the water from here. They have fenced off the actual area around the Spring. The opening of the Spring is inside of a small brick building that has 6″ wide PVC pipe coming out of it (for overflow?). The small creek is fed from these PVC pipes. Water on ran out the bottom 1″ of pipe, leaving a lot of space for ‘junk’ to grow, therefore leaving me with the impression that the water could be contaminated from the pipes. Horton’s Spring is not far away, although a lot tougher to get to, but the water comes straight from the mountain and tastes wonderful!

  3. Donna Street says:

    I’ve gone here 3 times over last year,,,this is on forest service land and is now fenced and has their horses grazing there…. once you find the turn off you park at closed gate and go around it on foot, hike down the hill, climb another gate/fence at bottom then follow to small building and water is indeed coming out of the small house from a pvc pipe. I filled my bottles from the overflow and have drank at least 100 gallons. My daughter and boyfriend drank as well. All was fine, tastes great.

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