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Pintail Lake Wildlife Area


category : Wildlife Refuges
Pintail Lake is a waterfowl marsh habitat project borne of the spirit of cooperation with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest who initiated its wetland management program with the objective of improving and increasing waterfowl habitat. The Forest entered into a cooperative agreement with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Show Low Sanitary District, and the City of Show Low, Arizona. Construction of Pintail Lake began in 1977. Within an existing natural depression, water control structures, two dikes, and fourteen nesting islands were built.

Some waterfowl species you may see today are: Mallard, Northern Pintail, Cinnamon and Green-Winged teal, Northern Shoveler, and Gadwall. Some scientists feel that Pintail Lake has the highest nesting density of any marsh island ecosystem. In addition to waterfowl, the marsh area attracts a variety of other wildlife including deer, elk, antelope, Bald Eagles, songbirds and numerous shorebirds and wading birds.

An observation platform at the end of the entry trail provides excellent opportunity to view and photograph wildlife in the area. To further enhance wildlife viewing, an observation blind is planned on the edge of the middle marsh across from a nesting island. This will provide a rare educational opportunity to view and photograph a unique marshland ecosystem in the arid high country of Arizona. Please remember, we ask that you stay on the designated trails or in the observation area so nesting waterfowl will not be disturbed.

Waterfowl habitat in North America is decreasing at the alarming rate of 2,000 acres per day, every day of the year. This loss further underlines the importance of projects like Pintail lake. Although the acreage here is small, it is none-the-less an important waterfowl habitat project because of the scarcity of marshland ecosystems in the arid Southwest and its high productivity.


Go north 3.5 miles on AZ 77 from the east edge of town, then turn right 0.4 mile on Pintail Lake Road (between Mileposts 345 and 346). A paved 0.3-mile trail (wheelchair accessible) leads to a viewing blind. A side trail leads to another viewing platform.

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Pintail Lake Wildlife Area

Pintail Lake is a waterfowl marsh habitat project borne of the spirit of cooperation with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Fore...