Monday, August 10, 2009
BISMARCK LAKE Coconino National Forest The high country bog known as Bismarck Lake is all that remains of an ancient volcanic crater in the watershed of Arizona’s highest peaks. The lake’s volume expands and contracts with nature’s whims, often shrinking to a wildflower-choked wetland by mid-summer. The trail that leads to the lake passes through a canopy of delicate aspens, old growth Ponderosa pines and willows that attracts more than 40 species of birds and countless critters. At the one-mile point, in the middle of a windswept prairie, turn left at a signed junction to visit the lake. Here, abundant sunlight bathes fields of yarrow, lupines, and a variety of mushrooms. HIGHLIGHTS: Volcanic lake, alpine meadows, pine forests and wildlife. LENGTH: 2 miles roundtrip RATING: easy ELEVATION: 8,550 – 8,800 feet INFORMATION: (928) 526-0866, refer to the Coconino National Forest map DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 160 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, go north on Highway 180 for 10 miles to Hart Prairie Road (Forest Road 151) near milepost 225. Turn right and continue 5.6 miles to Bismarck Lake Road (Forest Road 627), turn right and go .6 mile to the trailhead.