Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Springerville Ranger District
Nelson Reservoir is a mile-long lake nestled in a canyon between two large mesas. It’s a great place to find pinyon jay in the early morning. Large numbers of migrating waterfowl generally congregate at the southern end of the lake. Yellow-headed, red-winged and Brewer’s blackbird nest here.
Black-crowned night-heron, osprey, Virginia rail and sora are seen mostly in the summer. Look for bald eagle here in the winter months. Elk and an occasional mule deer can be found along the mesa slopes, primary at sunrise and sunset.
Habitat: Aquatic, wetland riparian, pinyon pine and juniper woodland
Seasons: All year. Spring and fall are best for migrating birds.
Location: From the traffic light in Eagar, take State Highway 260 (the designation changes to U.S. Highway 180/191 at the rodeo grounds) east and south towards Alpine 9.5 miles to the north parking area. The south parking area is one mile further along the highway.
Access: 24 hours daily. Park only in the designated parking areas at each end of the lake.
Near: Eagar or Springerville