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Mormon Lake

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Mormon Lake
Mormonlake 08.jpg
Location of Mormon Lake in Arizona, US
Location of Mormon Lake in Arizona, US
Mormon Lake
Location of Mormon Lake in Arizona, US
Location of Mormon Lake in Arizona, US
Mormon Lake
LocationCoconino County, Arizona,
United States
Coordinates34°56′33″N 111°27′21″W / 34.94250°N 111.45583°W / 34.94250; -111.45583Coordinates: 34°56′33″N 111°27′21″W / 34.94250°N 111.45583°W / 34.94250; -111.45583
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area600 acres (240 ha)
Average depth10 ft (3.0 m)
Surface elevation7,100 ft (2,200 m)
SettlementsMormon Lake and Lakeview

Mormon Lake is a shallow, intermittent lake located in northern Arizona in Pleasant Valley. With an average depth of only 10 ft (3.0 m), the surface area of the lake is extremely volatile and fluctuates seasonally. When full, the lake has a surface area of about 12 square miles (31 km2), making it the largest natural lake in Arizona.[2] In particularly dry times, the lake has been known to dry up, leaving behind a remnant marsh.

Two small settlements, Mormon Lake Village and Lakeview, were developed along the lakeshore in wetter years, but lie a distance south of the average shoreline. The surrounding area, which lies within Coconino National Forest, is part of the largest continuous stand of ponderosa pine in North America,[3] often hosting campers and hikers. The lake itself is occasionally stocked with fish species such as bullhead catfish and northern pike, but due to its intermittent nature, it may contain few or no fish following dry seasons.

The name of the lake commemorates Mormon settlers who migrated to northern Arizona in the 1870s. The settlers, who located their main communities along the Little Colorado River, established various cottage industries in Pleasant Valley: a sawmill in 1876, a dairy in 1878, and a tannery in 1879. All were abandoned when the Little Colorado colonies were disbanded. The Coconino National Forest archaeologists recorded the remains of the mill site, little more than a foundation and piles of rocks, about 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Mormon Lake, in 1978.[4][5]

San Francisco Peaks viewed from the meadows at Mormon Lake, summer monsoon 2010
San Francisco Peaks viewed from the meadows at Mormon Lake, summer monsoon 2010


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mormon Lake
  2. ^ "Mormon Lake". United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  3. ^ Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Colorado Plateau Archived 2015-04-29 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Arizona Pioneer Mormon: Chapter Nine". Archived from the original on 2006-09-05.
  5. ^ Stein, Pat H (2005). "The Mormon Lake Dairy, Sawmill, and Tannery" (PDF). Archaeology Southwest Magazine. 19 (2): 10. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
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Mormon Lake
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