Sunday, August 14, 2022

Cycling the Mormon Lake Loop

Mormon Mountain beyond the mostly grassy lakebed of Mormon Lake. There are elk in this photo but they are too far for the iPhone camera to resolve.


I meant to ride my bicycle around Mormon Lake since about the first year I moved to Flagstaff, but for some reason I never got around to it. It's about a 40 to 45 minute drive south of Flagstaff along Lake Mary Road, and I've never been in good enough shape to simply ride from my various domiciles all the way there, around the lake, and back.

I finally made time for it last Saturday. I parked at the Mormon Lake overlook and immediately the day promised a great experience. I started early enough to avoid the thunderstorms but was unsure about riding the entire distance. I committed only to a clockwise route with the potential of turning around if I got out about 5 or 6 miles and things were not going well. Fortunately things went well.

The view back towards Flagstaff under gathering monsoon clouds. It's sunflower season!

The monsoon has been extra rainy this year and everything was green. The lake still has not filled up as much as I've seen it in the past but there were areas of open water and a huge herd of elk were enjoying it. Unfortunately I don't have a camera with enough range to capture that so you'll have to take my word for it.

This incredible view was from the southerly edge of the lake.

The route is rolling with a net downhill to the south and I arrived in pretty good order at the turnoff for Mormon Lake Road. I made the turn and enjoyed the excellent pavement and scenery along the quick two miles to Mormon Lake Lodge. The views were incredible!

Approaching the Mormon Lake community. I would imagine it's a happy place to live but far beyond my means.

The day was perfect and I stopped a few times to take photos. I startled a deer at one point. There were many bicyclists out and most were friendly. Since I was on a mountain bike, I had little hope of passing anyone, and indeed I passed no one and was passed several times. The road winds along the base of Mormon Mountain and the skies were beautiful.

A panorama with Mormon Mountain along the road. It's quiet and high quality bicycling.

I looped back to my car with plenty of time to spare before the arrival of ferocious thunderstorms. It's one of the best bicycle rides I've ever done! I fully recommend it.

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