- South of Flagstaff
- Flat to Hilly
- Paved and Dirt / Gravel
- Suitable Vehicle:
- Any Vehicle
- 80 mile loop
- 2-3 hours
- April - October
Note: Drought in 2007 has left many of the described lakes dry. South of Flagstaff, Plateau Lakes Scenic Drive takes you past a collection of large and small lakes fill natural depressions in the area's volcanic caprock. Plateau Country is popular with anglers, boaters, bird watchers, 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, bird watchers 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's 90 and 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 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 I-17 which features an excellent long distance view of the San Francisco Peaks.
Drive south out of Flagstaff on Forest Highway 3 (Lake Mary Road) about 33 miles to Forest Road 213. Turn west 15 miles on FR 213 to I-17 and return 32 miles to Flagstaff. Hwy 3 is paved. FR 213 is graveled but suitable for passenger cars in most weather. It is sometimes closed after winter storms.