Coconino National Forest – Plateau Lakes Scenic Drive

South of Flagstaff, a collection of large and small lakes fill natural depressions in the area’s volcanic caprock. Plateau Country is popular with anglers, boaters, birdwatchers, campers, and hikers. It is also popular with photographers for the lakes serve as reflecting pools for the surrounding mountains and forests. During the appropriate seasons, birdwatchers and other wildlife enthusiasts come to take advantage of the annual waterfowl migrations and to observe rare bald eagles that spend the winter here fishing the open water of the surrounding lakes.

In the vicinity of Mormon Lake you may want to visit the picturesque little village along its western shore. This requires a short detour along FR 90 and FR 240. In the village you’ll find a lodge and restaurant, along with a number of rentable cabins. You can also rent a riding horse here, or a mountain bike or even cross country skis and snowmobiles in winter.

After leaving Forest Highway 3, the Plateau Lakes Scenic Drive takes you down a little traveled country road through meadows and forests where you’ll see vestiges of the area’s ranching heritage and perhaps catch a glimpse of some of its plentiful wildlife. The return trip is via Interstate 17 which features an excellent long distance view of the San Francisco Peaks.

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