Blue Ridge Reservoir - Flat Water Paddling

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Blue Ridge Reservoir in northern Arizona is a popular local and tourist destination for flat water paddling.

Written by

Rachel Theron


9.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

51.4 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

Smooth waters allow for easy paddling.

Time To Complete

3 hours

A leisurely pace will allow you to see most of the reservoir within three hours.


Spring and Summer

Dog Friendly




Sixty miles south of Flagstaff, off a graveled Forest Service road, sits one of the most picturesque lakes in northern Arizona. Blue Ridge Reservoir, north of the Mogollon Rim and slicing through the Coconino National Forest in a narrow, snake-shaped path, offers an abundance of water recreation activities including fishing, boating, camping, and kayaking. For the flat water paddling enthusiast, Blue Ridge offers approximately nine miles of tranquil waters and alluring wildlife scenery. Catching a glimpse of deer, elk, eagles, and even the occasional black bear is just a normal day in this wildlife abundant piece of the Southwest.  

What Makes It Great

Unlike other man-made dams, Blue Ridge looks like a natural part of the landscape. With it’s tree-filled skylines, full stock of Rainbow trout, and blue heron’s flying overhead, Blue Ridge is more akin to gallivanting in a small runoff section of the Grand Canyon than a dam originally built to supply water for nearby towns. 

The area is ideal for day trips or camping adventures; in either scenario, be sure to pack a lunch and swimsuit to take advantage of the various areas to park the kayak or canoe and take a dip in the refreshing waters. Due to the regulations not allowing any motorized vehicles with engines over 10hp, means there is plenty of room to share the waters with other outdoor enthusiasts.

Who is Going to Love It

People of all skill levels will enjoy this vibrant area that will likely encourage you to recite every inspirational nature quote you have ever heard (or come up with a few of your own). 

Blue Ridge is great for the lackadaisical outdoor fan as well as the more spirited outdoor aficionado who likes getting their daily dose of exercise within a beautiful backdrop.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Flagstaff, take Lake Mary Road for 55 miles past Clints Well, turning left onto AZ-87 N for just over four miles, and then right onto Forest Service Road 751 for 5.9 miles. You will first see the campgrounds followed by the lake.

There is ample parking near the boat ramp/campground, but it does get very busy during the summer season so it is recommended to get there early in the day.

Blue Ridge is closed during winter in addition to occasional repairs or even the nuisance bear.

The boat ramp is currently undergoing repairs and the area will be closed until at least March 2016. Before traveling to this great destination, it is always advisable to check the Forest Service website.

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Blue Ridge Resevoir

Happy Jack, AZ,
34.554897, -111.19524

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