Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Lakeside Ranger District
The city of Show Low, cooperating with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and Arizona Game and Fish Department, became the first Arizona community to create artificial wetlands for disposal of wastewater effluent. The marshes here treat and purify wastewater, resulting in eye-pleasing wetlands.
The wetlands offer an array of water birds, including waterfowl such as cinnamon teal, ruddy duck, gadwall, bufflehead, American wigeon and pintail.
Other wetland avian species seen here are black-crowned night-heron, black-necked stilt, long-billed dowitcher, sora, Virginia rail, yellow-headed and red-winged blackbird, great blue heron and American avocet.
Keep an eye on strategically placed snags and in the air for various raptors, including bald eagle (in winter), red-tailed hawk, northern harrier and prairie falcon.
Pinyon-juniper woodland surrounds the wetland, offering observations of Townsend’s solitaire, juniper titmouse and mountain chickadee. Big game species, such as elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope may be seen in the distance, offering a different type of wildlife to enjoy.
This is a good area to find collared lizards, with their bright colors rivaling the showy plumage of songbirds.
Note that hunting in season is allowed in this area.
Habitat: Wetland riparian, pinyon pine and juniper woodland
Seasons: All year. Birding is best in spring, summer and fall.
Location: From the traffic light at the junction of U.S. Highway 60 and State Highway 77 in Show Low, drive north on Highway 77 for three miles to the signed turnoff. Take the dirt road east for a half-mile to the cindered parking area. The quarter-mile trail to an enclosed viewing blind with interpretive signage and open observation deck is paved and fully accessible.
Access: Sunrise to sunset. Parking is at designated site only.
Near: Show Low