Prime Lake is located on Anderson Mesa approximately 10 miles south of Flagstaff. It is an ephemeral water source and the water level fluctuates greatly during the changing of the seasons. The lakebed is fenced to prevent habitat damage from domestic animals, though features have been incorporated that allow access by pronghorn antelope and other native species. The Arizona National Scenic Trail also runs through this area. 

What You'll See

Prime Lake offers visitors an excellent opportunity to view waterfowl, elk, migratory birds, osprey, pronghorn antelope, bald eagles, butterflies, and much more. 

Getting There

From Flagstaff, travel approximately 9 miles south on Lake Mary Road. Turn east (left) on Forest Road 128 towards the NPOI Observatory. Continue on the paved road until it tops out next to the NPOI entrance. You can park at the beginning of Forest Road 129A (high clearance/4-wheel drive recommended) and walk 100 meters east on the Arizona National Scenic Trail to the lake. You can also take the rough road east about 1.4 mile and park on the side near Prime Lake. 


Helpful Tips


USFS campgrounds nearby. No amenities on site. 

Access Info 

Lake access is seasonal, approximately May-October depending upon weather. Road may be closed on impassible in wet of snowy conditions. 


Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff Ranger District