Arizona, a state in the southwest of the United States, is a refuge for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its mountains, plains, deserts, and rivers. It has a very varied topography and has some breathtaking vistas. The state has no coastline, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bask under the sun with a stunning body of water within reach.
Arizona is replete with lakes, and while it is one of the driest states in the country, it hosts some of its largest lakes. The proximity of some of Arizona’s most beautiful lakes to major cities makes traveling there quick and simple, a great benefit on sweltering summer days. However, most of these lakes lie in Arizona’s southern and central portions.
Arizona’s desert vistas, golf courses, five-star resorts, year-round activities, towns like Phoenix, one of the driest in the nation and the globe, and the Grand Canyon may be its best-known features. But there are also lots of lakes to discover. Below, we will explore the 10 biggest lakes in Northern Arizona and other interesting facts.
What Makes Up Northern Arizona?
Unofficially and informally defined, Northern Arizona is a part of Arizona that is geographically dominated by the Colorado Plateau, whose southern boundary in Arizona is known as the Mogollon Rim. It typically consists of Apache, Mohave, Navajo, Coconino, and Gila counties.
The region is home to various mountain ranges, including the San Francisco Peaks. The majority of the state’s natural lakes are also found there. The White Mountain range is located in the east, the Grand Canyon is in the west, and the Painted Desert is in the middle. The region is renowned for its untamed nature and diverse ecosystems. Millions of acres of mixed-conifer, aspen, and ponderosa pine forests may be found in northern Arizona, including the biggest ponderosa pine forest in North America.
The 10 Biggest Lakes in Northern Arizona
10. Blue Ridge Reservoir – 70 acres
The 70-acre Blue Ridge Reservoir sits at an elevation of more than 6,720 feet above sea level. The lake is cared for by the Coconino National Forest division and is located in the Mogollon Rim region. It is also one of Arizona’s most scenic reservoirs because it is encircled by lovely, vibrant trees that reach the water’s surface.
Blue Ridge is a long, deep ridge surrounded by dense vegetation, and it resembles a canyon-bound river more than a lake. The Arizona Game and Fish Department supplies Blue Ridge Reservoir with various trout species, including rainbow, brown, and tiger trout. As a result, it’s a fantastic area to go fishing. Additionally, it provides excellent chances to catch catfish and sunfish.
9. Kinnikinick Lake – 126 acres
Kinnikinick Lake covers 126 acres, lies 7,040 feet above sea level, and is located 38 miles southeast of Flagstaff, Northern Arizona. This little trout fishery is located in the Coconino National Forest, a few miles southeast of Mormon Lake, on a barren plateau populated with scraggly junipers.
The sandy, 9-mile trip over kidney-jarring country roads are defined by vast meadows where domestic cattle graze among occasional patches of ponderosa pines and water tanks. Kinnikinick Lake is accessible for daytime boating, hiking, fishing, and animal viewing.
Kinnikinick, a Native American term for plant-based smoking concoctions, is largely shadeless and has an unsettling attraction. It also makes for an odd voyage.
8. Willow Springs Lake – 158 acres
In Northern Arizona, at the top of the Mogollon Rim and about 23 miles east of Payson, lies Willow Springs Lake. It is a stunning cold water lake encircled by canyons and a component of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The lake spans 158 acres and teems with rainbow trout, brown trout, green sunfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. The Arizona Game and Fish Department built Willow Springs Lake as a trout fishing lake in 1966.
7. Chevelon Canyon Lake – 208 acres
Chevelon Canyon Lake is situated at a height of 6,300 feet in Northern Arizona, about 15 miles west of the community of Heber-Overgaard. It has a surface area of 208 acres, is more compact, and has an average depth of 35 feet. Despite the lake’s isolation and difficulty of access, it is a top fishing spot because it supplies rainbow and brown trout. While Colorado sucker spawns naturally in the lake and brown trout breed in the stream that feeds the lake, rainbow trout is supplied once a year.
6. Big Lake – 450 acres
Big Lake has a surface area of 450 acres and is elevated at 9,000 ft above sea level. In Arizona’s White Mountains, which are located in the northeastern section of the state, Big Lake is regarded as one of the top fishing lakes. It has an average depth of 30 feet and is home to primarily trout-related fish species.
Although the lake is open from April to December, the finest fishing months are April and May. Arizona regularly introduces Apache trout, the state fish, to the lake along with brook, rainbow, cutthroat, and brown throat trout.
5. Mormon Lake – 600 acres
A sporadic lake called Mormon Lake can be found in Pleasant Valley in Northern Arizona. The lake typically has a size of 600 acres, making it one of Northern Arizona’s largest lakes but not the state’s largest. However, when full, the lake becomes the largest natural lake in all of Arizona, with a surface area of 7,680 acres (12 sq mi).
The lake has a history of drying up during extremely dry periods, leaving a patch of marsh in its wake. The lake’s surface area is extremely unstable and changes annually, with an average depth of just 10 feet. When present, anglers can catch trout, bullhead catfish, and northern pike for some enjoyable fishing.
4. Lake Mary – 601 acres
Located in Northern Arizona, southeast of Flagstaff, Lake Mary is a pair of lakes with a combined surface size of 601 acres. A modest earthen barrier on Walnut Creek creates Upper Lake Mary, the lake further upstream of the two lakes. It has nine fishing-friendly fish species, including walleye, bluegill, green sunfish, black crappie, northern pike, and channel catfish.
Lower Lake Mary is situated just below the main lake, the furthest downstream of the two lakes, and was the first to be built. During the rainy seasons, its greatest length reaches 3 miles. Numerous animals, such as deer, elk, bald eagles, and great blue herons call both lakes home.
3. Lake Havasu – 19,300 acres
One of Arizona’s top boating lakes is Lake Havasu, which has 60 miles of navigable canals along the state’s northwest border. Spring breakers enjoy it because they can party on the water and at Lake Havasu State Park’s immaculate beaches. It has a surface size of 19,300 acres (7,800 ha) and a maximum depth of 90 feet (27 m).
The lake is quite popular with tourists during the summer and with snowbirds during the winter. Anglers from around the world come here searching for record-breaking striped, largemouth, and smallmouth bass.
It’s a terrific place to spend time outside all year long, whether you like hiking, paddling, swimming, or taking landscape photos. In other words, Lake Havasu City is a nature lover’s paradise!
2. Lake Mohave – 26,500 acres
Downstream of the Hoover Dam, a reservoir known as Lake Mohave, serves as the border between Nevada and Arizona. The lake’s 26,500 acres of water surface makes it impressive. It is 8.69 billion cubic feet (246.1 million cubic meters) and is 75 feet (23 meters) deep. The principal freshwater species in the lake are rainbow trout, striped bass, largemouth, smallmouth, channel catfish, crappie, common carp, and sunfish.
The lake’s full 22 miles, created out of tiny canyons, are interesting to explore and provide opportunities to get back in touch with nature. The water feels frigid as Lake Mead’s lowest levels continue to trickle over the Hoover Dam.
1. Lake Powell – 161,000 acres
The second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, Lake Powell, is situated on the Colorado River about 205 miles north of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona and extends up into southern Utah. The largest lake and reservoir in Northern Arizona, Lake Powell, has a total storage capacity of 26,214,900 acre-feet and a surface area of 161,000 acres.
In addition to offering significant water storage for the US states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico, Lake Powell is renowned for its magnificent landscape, drawing roughly two million tourists and visitors annually. Lake Powell was likewise built by a dam on the Colorado River, the Glen Canyon Dam, similar to Lake Mead. It is situated where the states of Arizona and Utah converge.
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