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Alamo Lake is an outdoor person's wonderland with great fishing, a unique Sonoran desert landscape and a plethora of desert animals. Wildlife viewing is superb with quail, wild burro, deer, squirrels, bald eagles, golden eagles and an infrequent mountain lion just some of the visitors. Remote Alamo Lake is the only permanent water body in the area. The lake thus has become stop-off place for large flocks of birds of many species. Spring rains create great wildflower viewing, colorful sunsets inspire awe and the stark beauty of the desert imparts a peacefulness found in few other places. Cacti can be seen on the surrounding mountain sides, and cottonwoods can be found around and under Alamo Lake's surface. "Alamo" translates to Cottonwood in Spanish.
Alamo Lake is at a normal elevation of 1125 feet and is found on the Bill Williams River where the Big Sandy River and Santa Maria River meet. This junction is some 35 miles from the river's confluence with the Colorado River. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water conservation, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement. The 1968 completion of the dam certainly met its flood control goal, being able to capture large amounts of water in a short time during infrequent floods. Alamo Lake has even risen 11 feet overnight! The earthen dam is 283 feet above the streambed and normally backs up 3000 acre-feet of water (being designed as a flood control reservoir, it could hold as much as 1,390,000 acre-feet). Historical high flows in the 1970s and 1980s increased the size of Alamo Lake, making it one of Arizona's best fishing sites.
Alamo Lake State Park is a relative unknown outdoor fun area, and part of its charm is its relative remoteness. It is located 40 miles north of the small Arizona town of Wendon and US Route 60. Alamo Lake's busiest months are February through May, before the summer heat. For all of its remoteness, Alamo Lake State Park is open 365 days a year and has excellent facilities including:
With water and electricity
Restrooms and showers
Fish cleaning stations
Two multi-lane boat launch ramps
Ranger Station/Visitor Center with fishing licenses
Marina store with fishing supplies
As one would expect, fishing is excellent and there are frequent fishing tournaments. Anglers will be able to catch bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and black crappie. Although many anglers fish from their boats, shore fishing is quite good.
In keeping with Alamo Lake's relative remoteness, there are 13 geocaches nearby, many easy to find. Like many geocaches, they are located in quite picturesque sites.
Alamo Lake covers the site of Alamo Crossing, a mining camp offering supplies to prospectors and boasting a post office in the late 1800s. Many abandoned mines and prospecting 'holes' entice the adventuresome with their metal detectors and other prospecting equipment. In addition, there are a number of ghost towns to find and explore in the area. Among these are Greenwood City, Signal and Virginia City.
Alamo Lake is for the outdoor person, angler or someone who just wants some peace and quiet with the added benefit of superb stargazing. It's a wonderful experience of nature's best.
Reference: Lost Mines of Arizona by Harold O. Weight, published 1959
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