|Lee Valley Reservoir|
This is a scenic, high-elevation lake at the foot of Mount Baldy with outstanding views. Surrounding the reservoir are open meadows and spruce-fir forests. Near the dam, excess water flows through a natural spillway, creating a wetland marsh. Extensive stands of aspen provide magnificent fall c...
Mount Baldy Loop Drive
|Description: This 36-mile scenic driving loop offers excellent views of high elevation grasslands along the entire route; river riparian habitat at Sheep Crossing on the West Fork of the Little Colorado River; lake and marsh vistas at Lee Valley Reservoir, Crescent Lake, Basin Lake Marsh, and Mexican Hay Lake; and a scenic overlook of Great Basin grasslands to the north at Point of the Mountain rest stop.|
Wildlife to Watch: Large mammals are easily seen from vehicles, especially at sunrise or sunset. There are overlooks at Lee Valley Reservoir and Mexican Hay Lake.
Look for elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and coyote, as well as Abert’s, golden-mantled, and red squirrels. Waterbirds seen here include great blue heron, pied-billed and eared grebes, and ducks such as mallard, ring-necked, American wigeon, bufflehead, and common merganser. Many birds of prey are seen at the higher elevations. Birders hiking the West Baldy trail may encounter some of the most local nesting species in Arizona including gray jay, pine grosbeak, Swainson’s thrush, orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s warbler’s, Lincoln’s sparrow, and green-tailed towhee. By carefully checking the creek above and below Sheep Crossing, you may find American dipper.
Special Tips: On weekends, the first miles of the West Baldy trail are possibly the most heavily utilized by hikers of any trail on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
Large mammals are easily seen from vehicles, especially at sunrise or sunset, during most times of year. To view from vehicles, there are overlooks at Lee Valley Reservoir and Mexican Hay Lake, and additional excellent viewing is on the trails.
Other Activities: Two hiking trails are available along this loop – West Baldy and East Baldy Trails. Each trail is 7 miles in length and parallels a portion of the East or West Fork of the Little Colorado River. The trails meet near the top of Mt. Baldy; the summit is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and access is closed to non-tribal members.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Size: 36 mile driving loop
Closest Town: Eagar
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: