Sunrise Lake

Sunrise Lake

Whiteriver, Arizona 85941

Tips for Birding

The Sunrise Area is located on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation.  Every location under this area requires a Reservation Permit held by anyone who isn't a tribal member.  Failing to have a permit and using the land will result in fines.  Permits are ten dollars for the day and they are sold at the Sunrise General Store.

Birds of Interest

In spring and summer, the grasslands surrounding this long and narrow lake are good for viewing Vesper and Savannah Sparrows, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Horned Lark, American Kestrel, and perhaps a Swainson's Hawk.  In colder months, watch for a possible Rough-legged Hawk.  Around the lake, look for Osprey and Bald Eagle.

About this Location

There are several spots to stop and scan this deep reservoir. Ducks, grebes, loons, gulls, and other waterbirds may be present. The road in runs through high-elevation grassland with breeding Mountain Bluebirds and Swainson’s Hawks.

At 2.7 miles after turning south on Highway 273 from Highway 260, look for a turnoff on the left (east) side of 273 for Sunrise Lake.  This road accesses the immediate dam area of the Lake quickly, and another road branches off to the north and heads east along the northern side of the lake for 2.4 miles.  Any stop along this road to view the lake is suggested. Once past the Sunrise General Store at 4 miles on the 273, look for a few dirt roads veering north towards Sunrise Lake.  These roads give closer access to the south and southeastern side of the lake.


  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Northern Arizona Audubon Society and Birder From Maricopa

Last updated October 1, 2023