register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Big Lake Nature Trail, AZ

Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
63 7 0
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 9,009 feet
Elevation Gain 87 feet
Accumulated Gain 87 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 30 min
Kokopelli Seeds 0.94
Backpack Connecting Only
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2015-07-17 Crzy4AZ
19  2014-07-18 Crzy4AZ
14  2012-08-18 Crzy4AZ
16  2011-08-21 Crzy4AZ
10  2010-07-19 Crzy4AZ
Author Crzy4AZ
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 96
Photos 2,637
Trips 603 map ( 2,178 miles )
Age 48 Female Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Sep, Aug, Jun, May → Any
Seasons   Summer to Autumn
Sun  5:30am - 7:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2011 Wallow Fire29.45

Little loop by a Big Lake
by Crzy4AZ

Likely In-Season!
remove free decal offer
The name "Big Lake" dates back to the early 1900s when this area was a shallow wet meadow/bog where the wild game would roam and take refuge. Over three summers from 1935-37, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a dam and spillways, turning Big Lake into a larger, stocked fishing lake. It spans 450 acres with an average depth of 16 feet, and fish species include Rainbow, Apache trout, Brook & Cutthroat. The Big Lake Nature Visitor Center is a nice place to stop and stretch your legs before a day of fishing or boating. There are several picnic tables under the shady cover of aspen and ponderosa pine, but no water or bathrooms (there are several down by the marina).

The Nature Trail has seventeen markers on the short loop, and copies of the guidebook can be found at the sign-in book or Visitor Center. The trail wraps clockwise back in an easy half-mile loop with one small stretch of elevation gain at the start. From the trailhead at the picnic area, you climb gently to a flat area near Rainbow Campground with Big Lake to your back. You will turn west at marker #4 and follow the path back into the forest. The last two markers will lead you back down rocky steps to the Visitor's Center. This trail is perfect for small kids to hike independently for a short distance with a short attention span.

Nature Trail Markers
#1: Metamorphic rock with lichen.
#2: Gooseberry and use by Hopi for stomach ache.
#3: Overlook on the edge of 10,000 acres of open grassland to the North. The forest edge is behind you and only on north-facing slopes of knolls.
#4: Mt. Baldy in the distance.
#5: Rangeland and management strategy by ranchers with cattle and sheep underpaid permits from Apache-Sitgreaves national Forest BLM
#6: Aspen leaves and bark.
#7 Blue spruce and how to tell the difference between evergreens (pines vs. spruces vs. firs vs. Douglas-fir) by looking at needles, cone scales, and pine cones.
#8: tree measuring for timber sales.
#9: Southwestern white pine compared to Ponderosa pine.
#10: Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine comparison.
#11: Grocery Store - area around the tree for squirrel.
#12: Common Juniper.
#13: Rotting Logs home for insects and fungi.
#14: Witches Broom - parasite fungus on Douglas-fir tree.
#15: Fire scar at the base of the tree.
#16: Common chokecherry - sacred plant to Navajos.
#17: Red raspberry and Baneberry - the juice of baneberry fruit to poison arrows.

More info:
* Springerville Ranger District of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest 928 333 6200.
* The Civilian Conservation Corps In Arizona's Rim Country: Working In The Woods. R Moore. 2006. ISBN#978-0-87417-677-3

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-08-20 Crzy4AZ
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Highway 260, take AZ-261-S Big Lake Turnoff road 18 miles to AZ-273-S and turn left passing by Crescent Lake. Travel 2 miles to Big Lake Road and turn right. Visitor Center will be 0.4 miles on your left.

    Check road conditions before traveling: 273-S is closed in the winter. Fire and flooding in summer can affect travel as well.

    If you are going to Big Lake to fish after this light hike: Fishing licenses available online with AZ Game and Fish or at Big Lake General Store by the marina.
    page created by Crzy4AZ on Aug 20 2012 11:43 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
    help comment issue

    end of page marker