Situated atop Anderson Mesa, Vail Lake is an ephemeral water site that hosts a surprising amount of local wildlife species. Depending on the amount of rain and snow the area receives, Vail Lake is dry at different times of the year. During the winter (generally October-May) access to Vail Lake is closed. 

What You'll See

Patient observers will be rewarded with viewings of diverse waterfowl, songbirds, eagles, osprey, pronghorn and elk. The activity during the spring and summer are especially good viewing as birds set about courting and nesting. 

Getting There

From Flagstaff, travel approximately 9 miles south on Lake Mary Road. Turn east (left) on Forest Road 128 and drive 1 mile to Forest Road 129. After 1/4 mile, turn right onto Forest Road 129A and proceed 1.7 miles, turn right on Forest Road 769 and continue for an additional 0.5 miles before reaching Vail Lake. This road is only passable by high clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicles even when in good condition.


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 or impassible in wet or snowy conditions.