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Lyman Lake State Park, Saint Johns

#102 of 121 in Nature in Arizona
State Park Nature / Park
Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It is fed by snow melt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, the second and third highest mountains in Arizona. Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico. Note: There are no boat rentals at this park, but the park does sell gasoline.

Because of its size, Lyman Lake is one of the few bodies of water in northeastern Arizona with no size restrictions on boats. The west end of the lake is buoyed off and restricted as a no wake area (5 mph). This allows the angler a chance at a variety of fish without the proximity of speedboats and water-skiers. The fishery consists of walleye, channel catfish and large mouth bass. The large remainder of the lake is open for all other types of water sports.

Lyman Lake really comes into its own during the spring, summer, and fall. Summer days, with temperature highs in the 80's to low 90's, are perfect for fishing, swimming, leisure boating, water-skiing, hiking or just plain relaxing.

Prehistory of the Area: Petroglyph Trail

Lyman Lake re-opening May 24

The central petroglyph is the water serpent. When Hopi ancestors were given a sign to stop and settle in an area, sometimes there would be no water. So these people, through ceremony, would pray to the water serpent underground. The water serpent. whose domain is under the ground. would answer by churning around, which would force water to seep out of the ground. Learn more by downloading the Interpretive Guide below.

Note: Rattlesnake Point is currently closed to the public. The prehistoric inhabitants of the upper Little Colorado River drainage left a rich material record of their time in the valley. The ruined buildings, artifacts, and petroglyphs ("rock art'') provide the scientific evidence that permits archaeologists to understand the area's prehistory. Hopi people see the abandoned houses, broken pottery, and markings on the rocks as a record left by their ancestors during the migrations described in Hopi oral tradition. Scientific archaeology and Hopi oral tradition provide two ways of assigning meaning to the physical record of human occupation of this area.

Science provides a framework for seeking testable answers to an evolving set of questions. For scientific archaeology, these questions concern past human behavior. The artifacts, the architecture, and the petroglyphs that archaeologists study provide the evidence that allows them to answer the questions they pose.

Hopi oral tradition provides, for Hopis, a different way of knowing the past. At Hopi, each dan has a narrative of its own history, from emergence, through migration, to eventual settlement on the Hopi mesas. These dan narratives, passed down in both secular and sacred contexts, together comprise Hopi history. This knowledge of the past is deeply grounded in religion, reinforced through ritual, and made apparent in ruined villages, ancient pottery, and the marks left on the rocks.
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Where to stay in Saint Johns

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28 reviews
  • You have to try this lake, it has everything. They have full hookups, cabins, tent camping, RV camping, fishing, and large spaces for any size RV. The campgrounds are well maintained and the staff is ...  more »
  • Very smooth water. It was off season so the store had minimum hours and supplies. We will come back in the summer.  more »
  • Stopped here on our way to the Grand Canyon which is quite close by. The park was rather remote, but only about 45 min from the Petrified Forest NP. It is in between two small towns (Springerville and...  more »
  • If you like high desert you'll love Lyman lake. I have camped there many many times. The place is peaceful, clean and serene, The camp hosts are always helpful and polite. It's a great place if you enjoy relaxing and taking it easy. Will be going there again this year.
  • Wonderful overnight stay, would have stayed longer if I could get cell reception.
  • Just returned from our 4th of July weekend. Beautiful property! Lots of broken stuff, bathrooms were disgusting, the $5 pay dump didn't work, dumpsters were full when we arrived Friday, muddy showers no cleaning going on at all. Over zealous Ranger upped the fire status to Stage 2 when the park service indicates Stage 1. The difference is Stage 1 can use charcoal and have a camp fire. By far the worst AZ state park I have been to. Absolutely no possibility of a return visit.
  • I'm a local to this lake and have always enjoyed going out for the day. The lake was low this year so the conditions for swimming and boating were fair but the fishing was great. It's to bad the other reviewer had a bad time but she could have called the lake and got more current info. The state does need to update there website, but you should always call. In all the years coming out to Lyman I've never had a terrible time.
  • We had the camp site to ourselves. Toilets, clean camp grounds and the best view to wake up to.