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Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain hug Lyman Lake. Ridges from the second and third highest mountains in Arizona surround the 1500-acre reservoir. Located in northeastern Arizona, Lyman Lake is smack dab in the middle of the 1200-acre state park bearing the same name.
Lyman Lake was created by damming the Little Colorado River. The first dam, built of earth and rock, was completed in 1912. It was rebuilt in 1915 after a collapse.
The water stored in the reservoir was originally intended for irrigation. It is fed by snowmelt from the surrounding mountains which are a part of a 790-square-mile watershed that reaches into New Mexico.
In addition to irrigation, Lyman Lake has also become a big draw for water sport enthusiasts. It is one of the only bodies of water in northeastern Arizona that does not have size restrictions on motor boats. The west end of the lake is designated a no wake zone (5 miles per hour) so anglers have the opportunity to reel in one of the lake's legendary largemouth bass or channel catfish without being disturbed by speedboats or water-skiers.
In addition to largemouth bass and channel catfish; anglers have a chance to reel in green sunfish, carp and a few walleye.
In 2002 the Arizona Game and Fish Department issued a mercury warning in reference to eating fish caught in Lyman Lake. Check with the Arizona State Parks for conditions and any warnings at Lyman.
Water levels fluctuate at Lyman Lake because the water is drawn down for irrigation. At full pond the average depth of the warm water reservoir is 22 feet. At its deepest, the lake is 57 feet.
Water-skiing and pleasure boating are popular pastimes on the wide open portions of the lake. Canoeists and swimmers also enjoy the Lyman Lake waters. On shore there is horseback riding and hiking.
The Lyman Lake State Park Visitors Center details, in its exhibits, archeology sites and prehistoric ruins found in the park. Petroglyphs, rock art, dating from 6000 BC to 300 AD, are visible via the trails. Some are even accessible by water.
Lyman Lake State Park is open all year. Arizona's first state park opened in 1961. It has grown to include 23 tent camping sites, 38 RV sites with water, sewer and electric, four cabins, and four tent-like structures called yurts. Restrooms and bathhouses are also included in the amenities.
More vacation rentals are available in and around the cities of Saint Johns and Springerville.
Lyman Lake is located 11 miles south of Saint Johns and 17 miles north of Springerville in the White Mountains area of Arizona. The area is rich in history. Just five miles away is the Raven Site Indian Ruins. Springerville is home to the Casa Malpais ruins, occupied by the Mogollon People for 200 years until they mysteriously abandoned their homes around 1400 AD.
The Kinishba Ruins are accessible by visiting the White Mountain Cultural Center and Museum. The ruins area located about four miles west of Fort Apache. They were occupied by Zuni and Hopi ancestors until around 1400 AD.
The White Mountains area is a four season destination. 47 miles south of Lyman Lake in Greer, is one of Arizona's premiere snow skiing resorts. If you head about 55 miles north of Lyman Lake to the City of Holbrook, you will find The Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert.
The climate is pleasant year round. Temperatures in the mid-40s to lower 50s are the norm in the winter. The lower 80s are the normal high during the peak summer season.
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