10 Places to Go to Beat the Arizona Heat

Continued (page 5 of 6)

Lyman Lake State Park

The oldest recreational park in the Arizona State Park System and the largest lake in northeastern Arizona, Lyman Lake measures three miles long, one-mile wide, and 45 feet deep in some spots. Yes, the lake comes in a distant third in terms of beauty next to Lake Powell or Fool Hollow Lake; the surrounding area is mostly composed of slabs of rock and low-lying vegetation. But what it lacks in eye candy it makes up in fun. The lake’s remote location and large size mean no size or speed restrictions on boats; a slalom water-skiing course is up in the summer months; and, when it’s windy, it’s windsurfer and sailboat heaven. There’s also a swim beach and plenty of fishing (rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, carp, and bluegills; the western end of the lake has a no-wake requirement to make life more peaceful for anglers). Away from the water, there is mountain biking and interesting hiking trails, most of which lead to petroglyphs circa 6000 BC to 1400 AD. From May into September, every weekend a ranger-led tour takes you to more obscure petroglyphs and pueblo ruins accessible via pontoon boat only ($2 per person). There’s RV and tent camping (tent campers beware – there is little to no shade in the campground) or you can rent charming log cabins and tent-like yurts. At a comfortable elevation of 6,000 feet, daytime temps level off in the 90s even in the middle of summer, while nights remain cool – watch for spectacular monsoon thunderstorms in July and August. There’s also a great July 4 fireworks display on the lake.

Lyman Lake State Park is 150 miles east of Flagstaff on US 191. The lake is open year-round though the general store is open only from April through September. Fees: $5/vehicle for the day; camping: $19 per night for hookups and $12 per night for non-hookups (tents). The lake’s general store rents fishing boats and supplies during the summer months. For more information, visit www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/lyman.html or call 928-337-4441.

Museum of Northern Arizona – Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture/Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture

If your idea of “cool” in the middle of the Arizona summer requires air conditioning and a cold drink, head up to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff for the Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture on July 5 and 6, or the Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture on August 2 and 3. Founded in 1928, MNA is all about the people and environment of the Colorado Plateau – it’s well worth a trip on its own but we recommend visiting one of the festivals for a true sense of what makes the 225-acre campus special.

The oldest Hopi show in the world celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and features more than 55 booths of katsinas, overlay jewelry, pottery, textiles, and baskets. The weekend also includes storytelling, music, dancing, and traditional Hopi cuisine, including can’t miss light and flaky blue piki bread. Walk along the Rio de Flag Nature Trail with a Hopi medicine woman or learn more about the Hopi’s dry farming practices.

At the 59th Annual Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture (dancers from the Pollen Trail Dance Group pictured at left), rug weavers demonstrate their craft on upright looms, silversmiths offer a dizzying array of turquoise jewelry, and artists sell sandpaintings, pottery, and carvings. The weekend also offers hoop and traditional dancing, a retrospective fashion show, and live traditional and contemporary music. A Navajo linguist will discuss language while other tribal members share ancient legends and traditions. A Navajo ethnobotanist will lead a hike explaining the traditional uses of native plants.

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