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Prime and Vail Lakes - 3 members in 16 triplogs have rated this an average 3.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
16 triplogs
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16 Triplogs
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Aug 28 2020
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 28,903
 Triplogs 1,111

65 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime Lake Perkins Telescope, AZ 
Prime Lake Perkins Telescope, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2020
tibber
Hiking1.00 Miles
Hiking1.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
mjmr89
Between my niece's studies, we (my brother, wife, daughter and Mia) went up to Anderson Mesa and took a walk to Prime Lake and a hike around Perkins Observatory. It was nice to touch the Arizona Trail, even if for a moment. And, of course, the cooler temps were to be relished. My brother Wayne and I did the Prime/Vail Lake hike back in 2008, so it was nice to share even a small piece of this memory with the rest of the family. There was a flock of geese that flew off the little bit of water that there was in the lake. We walked out on the reeds before turning back. My brother's wife doesn't do well in high altitude with her asthma.

Next we drove over to where the observatory road ended hoping to be able to see over the mesa but with no such luck. We enjoyed hiking around the observatory, lots of buildings up there with domes so I assume they house telescopes. There seems to be work going on up there.

On the drive back to where we were staying we stopped by a pullout by Lake Mary to capture some pictures of the sunflowers. It seems all members of the family like to take pictures so this venture was entertaining to watch.
Named place
Named place
Prime Lake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
Sep 08 2018
MountainMatt
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 194
 Photos 3,407
 Triplogs 514

male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 08 2018
MountainMatt
Hiking3.54 Miles 38 AEG
Hiking3.54 Miles   2 Hrs   2 Mns   2.56 mph
38 ft AEG      39 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Was hoping for wildflowers or water but didn’t really get either one but still a pleasant walk nonetheless.
Although still downright warm even at 5:30pm but luckily was walking away from the sun for the most part.

Ended up seeing a nice pronghorn buck that hung out for a few minutes because I wasn’t trying to shoot him and later on I came across the people that were but he got away to live another day.

Very pretty country out in this general area as before the hike I did miles of road driving around the Kinnikinick Lake area and nothing but pleasant rolling hills as far as the eye can see.
Fauna
Fauna
Pronghorn
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Prime Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full
Prime Mud Puddle :-/

dry Vail Lake Dry Dry
_____________________
Aug 07 2016
JoelHazelton
avatar

 Guides 16
 Routes 10
 Photos 967
 Triplogs 406

35 male
 Joined Mar 22 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 07 2016
JoelHazelton
Hiking2.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Afternoon trip to Flagstaff. Prime Lake looking beautiful. I didn't realize that area (outside the fence around Prime Lake) was open to vehicles. A handful of people car camping in the area. Lake was full of leeches. All over anything that was submerged. Something to keep in mind..
_____________________
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com
Jun 04 2011
jkinnear
avatar

 Photos 73
 Triplogs 109

34 male
 Joined Sep 10 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2011
jkinnear
Hiking5.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
50 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We ended up going along the AZT a little extra distance to check out Lost Tank south of Vail Lake. Not much to see there, it's a little pond. The short section on the AZT where you are walking along the edge of the Anderson Mesa rim is really nice and offers great views of Lake Mary and Mormon Mtn. Lots of various birds flying around the 2 lakes, and one very bold small one that landed 5 feet from my dog and then chirped loudly at the dog and then ran away very quickly. Last year when I did this in August then were several dozen cows and many bulls up here as well. The bulls did not appreciate our presence and they let us know about it. No cows at all on this trip up there though
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
_____________________
Apr 10 2011
fotogirl53
avatar

 Guides 5
 Photos 1,229
 Triplogs 181

female
 Joined Mar 18 2008
 Flagstaff, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2011
fotogirl53
Hiking1.50 Miles
Hiking1.50 Miles   15 Hrs      0.10 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was just a short hike around Prime Lake this afternoon. I needed to get out of the house, after yesterday's snowstorm. I got 11 inches at my house. Needless to say, I am ready for spring and summer!

The road up to the observatory was clear and I noticed that the gate to Marshall Lake is open. Next time I'll bring the truck and my kayak to explore Marshall. The road past Prime Lake is still blocked, but the trail starts at the parking area at the top of the road. A forest service person drove up checking out the area. I followed someone's snowshoe tracks, but I didn't need mine. There wasn't 10 inches of snow up here. There were alot of ring-necked ducks on the lake and tracks from deer in the snow. The snow crystals looked like glitter in the afternoon light--too bad photos don't show it.
After going all around the lake, the sun was getting low. I was home before dark.
Culture
Culture
Fraley Pose
Named place
Named place
Prime Lake
_____________________
Allergic to cities.
Mar 27 2011
fotogirl53
avatar

 Guides 5
 Photos 1,229
 Triplogs 181

female
 Joined Mar 18 2008
 Flagstaff, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2011
fotogirl53
Hiking1.50 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   1 Hour      1.50 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nursing a cold, but thought a little fresh air would make me feel better. Made a trip around Prime Lake late afternoon. Saw various ducks--mallard, canvasbacks, coots, some songbirds.
_____________________
Allergic to cities.
Mar 22 2011
hippiepunkpirate
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 36
 Photos 2,877
 Triplogs 657

35 male
 Joined May 30 2008
 Peoria, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2011
hippiepunkpirate
Hiking1.30 Miles 85 AEG
Hiking1.30 Miles
85 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Only went to Prime Lake on this trip. Headed out this way for a sunset shoot. Apparently I don't know my way around out here like I thought because I set off cross country a good 90 degrees away from the actual direction I needed to reach Prime Lake. Figured it out quick enough, but then hit the barbed wire fence surrounding the lake and walked around to the gate. Yeah, looking at the GPS track is pretty laughable, I'm not posting it though. Anyway, shot a nice sunset while getting my knees soaked from kneeling in the snow.
_____________________
My website: Mountain Tripper
I also write for: Territory Supply
Mar 19 2011
skatchkins
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 22
 Photos 3,278
 Triplogs 222

43 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Marshall Lake to Prime Lake, AZ 
Marshall Lake to Prime Lake, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 19 2011
skatchkins
Hiking5.10 Miles
Hiking5.10 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
bigredjeepchick
The brother-in-law was taking his niece up to snow board so sis and I hitched a ride up with to bum around in the trees. We didn't have too long so we headed out to Marshall Lake for starters. The road was closed still one mile out so we hiked down then walked half the lake until deciding to head away on the 9482Q. We took the fence line cutting across to Little Dry Lake (which was decently full), and ate lunch at the old Ford work van. We set out from there towards Prime Lake staying off the road in hopes of coming across more critters. The wind Saturday added some headwind work crossing the mesa. Made it to Prime and then headed back to the truck. Getting closer to their pick-up time, we headed back up the mountain and did a quick hike to Veit Springs.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Sep 25 2010
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 33
 Photos 2,350
 Triplogs 1,158

63 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Marshall Lake to Fisher PointFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 25 2010
mazatzal
Hiking11.50 Miles 570 AEG
Hiking11.50 Miles   5 Hrs      2.30 mph
570 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Out and back. Also went further down Walnut Canyon past the caves.
_____________________
1 archive
May 23 2010
tonyp
avatar

 Photos 4
 Triplogs 15

54 male
 Joined Aug 20 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar May 23 2010
tonyp
Hiking4.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   5 Hrs      0.80 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This would have been an easy hike except for the 35 mph winds. My poor daughter nearly froze to death.
Found a multi-stage geocache, despite gale-force gusts at the edge of the mesa.
The kids got too far ahead and missed the road that cuts across the bank of Vail,so we ended up following them around the ridge a bit. Fine, except it kept getting colder. We were getting bits of snow by the time we reached the trailhead.

My time is round trip with some little legs.

Still made it back to an Irish pub in Flagstaff for the second half of Game 3. Can't askfor more than that.
_____________________
"Where am I to go, now that I've gone too far?" - Golden Earring
Mar 10 2009
JoelHazelton
avatar

 Guides 16
 Routes 10
 Photos 967
 Triplogs 406

35 male
 Joined Mar 22 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 10 2009
JoelHazelton
Hiking5.50 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After spending a couple days in the Mazatzals I drove up to Flagstaff Tuesday evening. I arrived at the trailhead for Prime and Vail Lakes and had just enough time to get out to Prime Lake for sunset, which was quite pretty. Finding a place to car camp that night was a disaster since Coconino NF has closed every single road in the area until they dry out. I thought I found an open forest road and camped that night only to wake up the next morning and saw I was on couple hundred yards away from a house :sweat:

I went back on Wednesday afternoon to Prime and Vail Lakes and hiked the loop. Finished the loop up in the late afternoon, sat at my truck and had a beer and some trail mix, then headed back to the lookout for sunset. The sunset was covered by clouds and therefore uneventful for nice light, but still better than nothing.

I was going to camp that night at the trailhead, but decided I was tired of cold weather after I was in my sleeping bag and headed home on a whim with thoughts of hitting up the Superstitions the following day. The desert is better than the high country ;)

Prime and Vail Lakes are incredibly beautiful and I will undoubtedly be back during monsoon season for clouds and flowers.
Geology
Geology
Basalt
Named place
Named place
Prime Lake
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunset
_____________________
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com
Feb 14 2009
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2009
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.60 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Snow trek with Lynn, Hannah, Tobyn, Skippy and Pauli. Tobyn drove us in her F-150 to get some driving experience in the snow :scared:
Culture
Culture
HAZ Rides
_____________________
1 archive
Sep 14 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 14 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   3 Hrs      1.33 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Loop hike with Hannah and the dogs. Amazing yellow seas of wildflowers punctuated by these marshy wetlands. Got slightly off-track picking up an old 4x4 trail that we thought was the Arizona Trail. Should have brought that GPS along...
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
_____________________
Sep 14 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Marshall Lake to Fisher PointFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 14 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking2.50 Miles 570 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.67 mph
570 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After exploring Prime and Vail Lakes, Hannah and I took the dogs over to Marshall Lake for another loop hike...
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
_____________________
1 archive
Sep 13 2008
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 28,903
 Triplogs 1,111

65 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 13 2008
tibber
Hiking4.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   3 Hrs   45 Mns   1.07 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After a couple different tries at figuring out where the trailhead really was, we ended up parking just northeast of the Lowell Observatory at the top of FS 128. We did find the 3 roads mentioned in the Hike Description but they were pretty rough and we weren't sure they were the right ones so we turned around. We investigated the immediate area and reviewed the hike description a couple times and just decided to go for it as we did find the AZ Trail marker that was heading east.

We felt pretty comfortable in our decision as we approached Prime Lake per the sign that was there talking about the habitat and such. We continued a southerly track with the Observatory to the west and crossed over the first of several barbed wire fences that had a PVC covering that day (oh and thank goodness :D for the PVC covering as a couple of those 4-wire fences were pretty tall). We didn't see any other sign indicating the AZ Trail so we continued along a road once we crossed the fence.

We eventually determined that we may have been doing the hike counter clockwise. We continued along the road through a couple thousand acres (we figured about 2 mi x 2 mi)of a yellow carpet of flowers. It is just INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!! We now call it our "Follow the Yellow Flower Road" hike. We saw some stray cows on the back end of our journey, a couple ducks, blue birds, a couple lizards and an itsy bitsy hummingbird - no other hikers except for some people down by Vail Lake and a hunter... oh, and a cowboy on his horse with a couple dogs herding about 20-25 cows.

We finally got to the Vail Lake sign and tried to pick up the hike description from there as we approaced the fence around Vail Lake. We could see the rock outcropping mentioned in the Hike Description on the east side so we hopped the fence in but decided we saw another boulder area that was covered in shade for our lunch; plus there were some Indian paint brush nearby... so we hopped the fence again to get to our lunch area.

After lunch we hopped back over the fence to the Vail side and continued along the east and south side of the Vail Lake fence line. On the south side, we hopped over the fence again as it was easier walking. There was this one area where my brother could see the top of the trees (looking south) so we went up and over the berm (this berm surrounds the whole lake so my brother wonders if something caused an impression here at one time) and were treated to an incredible display of a solid yellow carpet of flowers. It took your breath away! :worthy:

We then went back to the fence line and followed it to the northwest corner where we decided to take a shortcut back to the road we had walked on getting from the AZ Trail to Vail Lake... thinking that the lookout mentioned in the Hike Description was more by the observatory (assuming we may have missed the trail alongside that fence up by Prime Lake, but that was not the case). It was difficult making that short cut as the terrain dips here and there and you can't see it for all the flowers, plus you had to watch out for cocko-burrows and small prickly pear cactus.

Anyway, we finally got back to the road (incidentally - you just can't get lost out here because you can continually see the San Francisco Peaks) and ran into a hunter on one of those fancy ATVs who happened to have several maps of the area. He helped us try to decipher where this lookout point might be but we didn't feel comfortable in trying to find it so we decided to just head back to our trailhead.

It was a really amazing day for a hike with nearly perfect weather and a slight breeze. And even though the Lakes are really Ponds, they are very interesting to look at plus you can hear the duckies carrying on. Other than getting sun burned, not finding the lookout and not quite following the trail as described in the Hike Description and getting our socks and the bottoms of our pants covered in yellow from the flowers, it was a very successful day! This is an easy hike for almost any level of hiker, even if you do end up off trail :D . You just can't imagine what it is like to hike through a couple thousand acres of these yellow flowers, almost up to your knees. It's like you're in a movie.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
Sep 06 2008
hippiepunkpirate
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 36
 Photos 2,877
 Triplogs 657

35 male
 Joined May 30 2008
 Peoria, AZ
Prime and Vail LakesFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 06 2008
hippiepunkpirate
Hiking4.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   3 Hrs   25 Mns   1.17 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My padre introduced me to this nice little stroll. Lots of visual and audible wildlife observation!
Geology
Geology
Basalt
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
_____________________
My website: Mountain Tripper
I also write for: Territory Supply
average hiking speed 1.56 mph

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.

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