Coconino National Forest Flagstaff, Arizona 86001Official Website
Perhaps the most consistently birdable of the “M Lakes”, since it always has water (usually with at least some open water even in freezing weather) and is accessed by a paved road, so access is fairly consistent in winter. The deep end near the dam is a good place to check for loons and scoters. Use the various pull-offs along the road to scan for rafts of ducks, grebes, herons, gulls, Bald Eagles, Osprey, and shorebirds. Warblers and sparrows use the willows and cottonwoods along the lake, and this is a good spot to find Mountain Bluebirds and Pinyon Jays.
Lower Lake Mary, Upper Lake Mary, and Mormon Lake are linked by one of Flagstaff’s most scenic drives. Accessible from Flagstaff or from Stoneman Lake Road along I-17, the drive can be done in roughly 2.5 hours or can be combined with camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, or a meal at the Mormon Lake Lodge.
Upper Lake Mary is the largest of Flagstaff’s twin lakes. It is also the one farthest from town. This long, narrow impoundment is especially popular with power boaters and water skiers because there is no motor size limit on it. But it’s also popular with those who prefer people power or wind power over horsepower. For that reason, you’re liable to see everything from jet boats to rubber rafts, canoes and sailboats all sharing this same body of water.
A lot of people come here to fish, too. The lake has northern pike, channel cat, crappie, and some trout. Lake Mary Narrows Recreation Area provides excellent access facilities for disabled anglers by means of paved lakeshore ramps. Two developed campgrounds, Lake View and Pine Grove are nearby. There are two paved boat ramps at the parking area with picnic tables/ramadas and bar-b-que grills and toilets. You’ll find a lakeside picnic area and another boat ramp at Lake Mary Narrows further southeast in addition to its paved fishing access ramps.