We all know just how intense the Arizona heat can be, and we also know there’s no better remedy than spending a day or weekend around a refreshing body of water. That’s why Lyman Lake State Park is known by Arizonians as one of the best places to visit during the spring and summer months. Not only is there plenty of cold water and fish in the lake, but this state park also offers plenty to explore on land too! It’s only a little over an hour from the Petrified Forest National Park which is another great place to visit in NE Arizona.
If you’re interested in visiting Lyman Lake State Park, this article is for you. We will cover what Lyman Lake State Park is Known For, the area’s must-see spots, hiking trails, park information, and available camping and cabin accommodation.
1. What Lyman Lake State Park Known For
Lyman Lake was created by damming the Little Colorado River and is one of the only bodies of water in Arizona that has no size restrictions on boats that enter the lake. In other words, all are welcome! Happy visitors can always be found enjoying boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking at Lyman Lake State Park from the springtime until late fall.
Lyman Lake State Park is known for having no motor restrictions. This means boats of all levels are welcome to partake in their favorite water sport activities! Every day, the lake is buzzing with water skiers, wake-boarding, inner tubes, and more.
While Lyman Lake State Park does invite all watercraft users to enjoy the lake, they do ask that you do so responsibly. To ensure the utmost safety, please make sure that your watercraft meets all of the state’s regulations for motorized and non-motorized watercrafts. To learn more about the required registration, we recommend checking out the Arizona Game and Fish’s Watercraft Information Page and calling the Lyman Lake Visitor Center with any questions.
There are two paved boat ramps available for use at Lyman Lake State Park. Both of these paved ramps are located inside of the park.
- North Boat Ramp – Paved with a double-wide lane. Two boats can launch at a time.
- East Boat Ramp – Paved with a single lane. Only allows one boat to launch at a time.
Don’t forget your fishing pole! Lyman Lake State Park has roped off the west end of the lake and restricted it as a no-wake area. These rules allow fishers of all experience levels the chance to catch a large variety of fish without worrying about speedboats, swimmers, water-skiers, or large waves. Commonly caught fish include walleye, catfish, and largemouth bass. Bait and tackle are available at the park store.
For safety purposes, Lyman Lake has declared a designated swimming area between the park store and the Peninsula Petroglyph trailhead. In addition to staying within the designated swimming area, here are some other tips to maximize your safety in the water:
- Bring your water shoes! The shore at Lyman Lake is rocky and can cut your feet.
- Do not boat or fish inside of the designated swimming area.
- Do not swim outside of the designated swimming area.
- Exercise caution and avoid swimming alone. There is no lifeguard on duty, so swimming at Lyman Lake is at your own risk.
This northern Arizona state park has activities on and off the lake. For those looking to spend time on land, Lyman Lake State Park offers roughly five miles of hiking paths with great views and well-marked trails.
2. What are the Top Spots to See in Lyman Lake State Park?
If there is one thing you must take the time to see while you’re at Lyman Lake, it’s the park’s infamous petroglyphs.
Lyman Lake Petroglyphs
If you are unfamiliar with the term petroglyph, it essentially is what archeologists call prehistoric drawings that are found etched into rocks. At what is today Lyman Lake State Park, prehistoric inhabitants of the upper Little Colorado River left many of these drawings behind to record their time in the valley.
While you’re visiting the park, you’re invited to gander down the Peninsula Petroglyph Trail where you can see these ancient petroglyphs up close. There is nothing quite like it. And while the trail is lined with educational signage, the park has also prepared a Lyman Lake State Park petroglyph trail guide to help visitors interpret the drawings and better understand the history of the surrounding area. Check it out!
3. Hiking and Trails Information
When you need a break from the water sports, why not hit the trails? Lyman Lake State Park offers three different hiking trails for all of their visitors to enjoy:
- Peninsula Petroglyph Trail – This is a quarter-mile self-guided trail. On this hike, you will be delighted to find a number of ancient petroglyph drawings on the surrounding rocks. If you’re not familiar with petroglyphs, don’t worry! The educational signage along the path will help you understand what you’re seeing.
- Buffalo Trail – This is a two-mile trail with some steep, vertical inclines and steps. Bust rest assured, the views are well worth the increase in heart rate!
- Pointe Trail – This is an easy short trail that is roughly one mile long. With only a moderate incline toward the beginning, it’s great fun for the whole family.
4. Park and Camping Information
Park and Facility Hours
Lyman Lake State Park is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. On holidays, the park is open from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Lyman Lake Park Store is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Park Entrance Fees
- Per vehicle (up to four adults): $7.00
- Per individual/bicycle: $3.00
Lyman Lake has 16 different picnic tables around the park and three group picnic areas underneath shaded ramadas:
- Group Ramada – Located in the day-use area, provides eight picnic tables, large barbecue grill, electric outlets, lights, water spigots, and horseshoe pits. Restrooms and the park store are within walking distance.
- Pointe Ramada – Located near the swimming beach, provides three picnic tables, a barbecue grill, fire pit, and restrooms.
- Store Ramada – Located near the park store, provides one picnic table, a barbecue grill, and a playground.
Visitor Center and Park Store
The Lyman Lake State Park Visitor Center is located inside of the Lyman Lake Park Store. Inside, the market sells souvenirs, day-use and camping permits, hunting and fishing licenses, ice, beverages, and simple grocery items. You can also find supplies for camping, boating, and fishing — including bait, tackle, firewood, propane, and more.
If you love Lyman Lake, why not make a weekend out of it? This state park offers visitors a chance to camp out within park limits, and even offers high-quality amenities like showers, restrooms, and a fully stocked park store. There are 56 available campsites; 38 of these sites have access to electricity and 18 do not.
You can make campsite reservations online at the Lyman Lake State Park website or by calling 1-877-MY PARKS during normal office hours.
If you’re planning a large camping event, Lyman Lake also offers a group camping building with two restrooms, a full kitchen, a storage room, indoor/outdoor lighting, electrical outlets, water, a cement patio with a large barbecue grill, picnic tables, heater, cooler, fire pit, boat dock, fishing area, and swimming cove. You get the whole place to yourself. Talk about a good time!
5. Where to Stay Near Lyman Lake State Park
For those who prefer indoor accommodation, Lyman Lake still has you covered! This state park offers eight camping cabins with lake views, covered patios, and air conditioning. Each Lyman Lake cabin is located within walking distance of restrooms and showers and sleeps up to four people with a maximum capacity of six people.
To make a Lyman Lake cabin reservation, visit the Lyman Lake State Park website or call the Arizona State Parks Reservations Desk at 1-877-MY PARKS during normal office hours.
Regardless of where you decide to stay, one thing is certain: you will always remember the time you spent at this gorgeous Arizona state park. Lyman Lake is a special place. Whether you’re looking to swim, boat, hike, or simply enjoy the beverage of your choice on the porch of a rustic cabin, this is the place to be!