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Monday, March 27, 2017

BUBBLING PONDS PRESERVE

BUBBLING PONDS PRESERVE
Blackhawk Trail at Bubbling Ponds Preserve
Hikers who enjoy wildlife viewing will have a heyday at the Bubbling Ponds Preserve in Cornville. Cradled among desert hills, wineries and dewy green zones along Oak Creek, the site has two formal trails that loop among the property’s rare and varied habitats. The flat, soft paths pass through mesquite forests, meadows, cattail wetlands, a warm water hatchery for raising native fish and a shady riparian corridor. Informational signs, viewing benches and observation decks help maximize the visitor experience.
Lower Oak Creek Important Bird Area
Because of its reliable water and favorable nesting niches, the property is a sanctuary for resident and migratory birds, reptiles and mammals including several threatened species. Hikers are practically guaranteed sightings of Great blue herons, Red-winged blackbirds and many common species of waterfowl. With luck, you might also spot a more elusive Snowy Egret, Vermillion Flycatcher or river otter flitting among reeds and willows. In addition to the two main trails, the adjacent Lower Oak Creek Important Bird Area and Page Spring Fish Hatchery offer more miles of wildlife-rich exploratory hiking.
Mesquite forest
Dedicated in May 2016, the preserve is a joint effort between the Arizona Game & Fish Department that owns the property and Northern Arizona Audubon Society which funds site improvements and trail maintenance through private donations. Ongoing Audubon volunteer projects work to eradicate invasive plants and protect sensitive ecosystems while providing public education events and recreational opportunities.
Hatchery ponds for native fish species
LENGTH: 2.3 miles
Black Hawk Trail: 1.8 miles
Willow Point Loop: 0.5 mile
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 3328' - 3492'
HOURS: open daily dawn to dusk
GETTING THERE:
From Interstate 17 near Cornville, take the McGuireville exit 293, go 8 miles west on Cornville Road, turn right onto Page Springs Road and continue 4.8 miles to the entrance on the left. 
An osprey glides above the ponds
INFO: Northern Arizona Audubon Society
Arizona Game & Fish
Coconino National Forest, 1970 N Page Springs Rd, Cornville, AZ 86325