Lyman Lake is a reservoir located in the northwestern part of Pinal County, Arizona. The lake and park are named after William “Bill” Lyman who was one of the founders of Apache Junction and played an instrumental role in the development of the town and surrounding area. Lyman built his homestead near where the dam now stands at what is known as Old Bill’s Camp Site. He ran cattle on the property until he sold it to Jack Swilling in 1940. Swilling operated a ranch there with his wife Betty until 1963 when they moved to California. After their divorce, Jack continued to operate the ranch under lease from the state until 1969 when he transferred ownership back to the city. In 1970, the City Council voted to make the entire 3,936 acres (1,593ha) into a recreational area called Lyman Lake State Park. The park opened to the public in 1974. Lyman Lake features camping facilities for RV and tent campers along with equestrian trails, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, picnic areas and swimming beach.
There is also a group-use facility that can be rented for family reunions, company picnics or other special events. Lyman Lake has been stocked by the Arizona Fish and Game Department with rainbow trout and crappie and offers fishing opportunities for those 16 years and older. Fishing licenses are required and are available at the park office. Lyman Lake is open year-round but unstocked during winter months due to freezing temperatures.
Recreation activities include horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, boating and swimming. A concession stand is maintained at the north end of the lake selling soft drinks, snacks and ice. No alcoholic beverages, hot food, or unlicensed motor vehicles are permitted.
Lyman Lake is home to many species of fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, bullhead, northern pike, cactus sucker, rock crawdiver, flathead catfish, tilapia, carp, kokanee salmon, snowshoe hare, mule deer, coyote, jackrabbit, cottontail rabbit, ground squirrel, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, kit foxes, badgers, bobcats, lynx and black bears.
Wildlife observed at the park includes golden eagles, hawks, owls such as screech owls, saw-whet owls, very rarely seen great horned owls, ducks, geese, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, ospreys, bluebirds, cardinals, wild turkeys, mocking birds, flickers, American white pelicans, trumpeter swans, common loons, grebes, Canada geese, kingfishers, pileated woodpeckers, northern pygmy owls, bald eagles with their nests, lambs, kids, dogs, cats, rabbits, otters, muskrats, raccoons, weasels, skunks, porcupines and armadillos.