In late 2015, the Flagstaff area saw some of the biggest wetting storms in recent years. Marshall Lake and the rest of Anderson Mesa's perched seasonal wetlands filled, creating complex wetland habitat for all manner of birds and wildlife, along with gorgeous scenic views. The lake is often dry with very low water and can be marshy at times.
The Arizona Game & Fish Department received a grant in 2015 from the Intermountain West Joint Venture Capacity Funds to study the need for feasibility of wetland improvements at Marshall Lake. Working closely with Natural Channel Design and other wetland experts, the Department and partners from the US Forest Service, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and Northern Arizona Audubon Society have developed a plan to improve wetland habitat and secure better water accumulation into the lake bed. Funding also allowed us to inventory and plan for wetland improvements at all of AWWE's wetland and riparian sites.
See our Strategic Action Plan for more information.
What You'll See
Located on the Coconino National Forest, Marshall Lake offers visitors an excellent opportunity to view waterfowl, elk, migratory birds, osprey, bald eagles, and much more. While its location makes it relatively accessible, this undeveloped site can provide a quiet escape for novice and avid wildlife watchers alike.
From Flagstaff, travel approximately 9 miles south on Lake Mary Road. Turn east (left) on Forest Road 128 and drive another 3 miles to the lake. The last mile or so is unpaved and may be impassable at times due to mud or snow.
In this AWWE audio guide, you’ll learn where to go to see and hear a local bird of global importance – the pinyon jay. There’s also information here on what kinds of waterfowl you’ll find during the open water season, and other birds to watch for when the lake dries up. You’ll hear some of the beautiful and varied vocalizations made by elk and what they mean.
Narrated by Rose Houk, recorded and produced by Diane Hope with funding from the AZGFD Heritage Fund.
USFS campgrounds nearby, but only dispersed camping locations are available adjacent to Marshall Lake. There's a small unpaved parking lot at the lake access area. No amenities on site.
Lake access is seasonal, approximately May-October depending upon weather. Road may be closed or impassible in wet or snowy conditions.
Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff Ranger District