Coconino National Forest Flagstaff, Arizona 86005Official Website
Unfortunately, this tends to be the first of the “M Lakes” to dry out. When there is water present, it is usually a shallow finger adjacent to the marker and is often visited by dabbling ducks. In good years, parking at the dam and scoping the lower end of the lake has produced rare dabbling ducks and geese, which favor the shallows here.
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.
Sometimes it’s a lake; sometimes it’s not. Lower Lake Mary, the smaller of Flagstaff’s twin lakes, has a tendency to disappear during the long dry spells that periodically hit this area. When the lake has water in it, which actually is much of the time, its banks are usually lined with anglers trying to catch the trout that the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks here. If it stays full for a year or two, it will pick up a population of northern pike and catfish.
Access to this lake is directly off FH-3 at the Lower Lake Mary Picnic Area and Boat Launch (open summers only). This day-use area is a great picnic location no matter how high or low the water is with wide open views and lots of tables and grills under ramadas. Parking is ample but trailer/RV parking can be limited on a busy day.
Sign indicating rules and regulations for boating on Lower Lake Mary
During the warm season, it is a good place to watch elk, deer, bald eagles, great blue herons and other waterfowl. This is also a good location to bring a kite or bicycle (FH-3 is a popular road for bicycle fans and racers).