Jackson Flat Reservoir is Kanab’s “local watering hole”. Outdoor lovers and recreation enthusiasts of all stripes and “fins” (pun intended), will appreciate and enjoy this oasis in the desert just 4 miles south of Kanab’s city center.
The reservoir, constructed properly as the Jackson Flat Water Supply Storage Facility, was built by the Kane County Water Conservancy District in 2011. The result has become a draw for residents of the region and visitors alike. Take your pick of an activity to enjoy. There’s a variety bound to suit just about everyone. Get out on the calm, tranquil waters in a boat, canoe, kayak or try out your balance standing on a paddle board. If you’re more the type who prefers to enjoy the water-side while keeping your feet dry, you’re in luck too!! The fairly recent construction of the Sherry Belle Trail, a paved 3.2 mile loop trail roughly circling the reservoir, is perfect for walking, running, biking, even roller blading and features numerous dirt offshoots taking you down vegetated peninsulas jutting out into the water primarily on the reservoir’s eastern side.
Additional attractions include an unbelievably scenic 18 hole disc golf course on the reservoirs’ south and eastern shores. A thrill to play and (be warned) one with a few harrowing water hazards, some of which must be played across in order to hit the chains! The reservoir and surrounding habitat are an absolute birdwatcher’s bonanza! Migratory waterfowl, including scaup, goldeneyes, ringneck ducks, hooded and common mergansers spend the winter on the reservoir, one of the few water bodies to remain unfrozen year round. During my trips here I have personally enjoyed watching large flocks of ducks rafting on the reservoir as well as sizable flocks of Canadian Geese traveling between the lake and surrounding agricultural fields to feed. During my prior fishing trip, a Bald Eagle showed up circling not high above the main parking area over the heads of folks enjoying a game of sand volleyball on the gorgeous red sand court provided and maintained for the enjoyment and use of the public. I even spotted half a dozen Sandhill Cranes standing amongst the sage brush along the dirt road on the reservoir’s eastern edge.
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The focus of my visit though, personally, was to see if the reservoir’s fishing reputation was worth its snuff. I only fished for about 30 minutes during the evening just prior to sunset. I tied on my ol’ reliable go-to brown and gold bladed rooster tail spinner and cast away. It wasn’t long until I watched as a nice 18” brown trout followed my lure, striking it before it could get away! A jogger on the path behind me cheered me on until I finally caught it, which made a wonderful dinner for me later that night. A good indication of future fishing trips to come! An incredible sunset glistened and reflected against the reservoir’s tranquil waters, icing on the day’s cake. I can’t ask for much more without feeling selfish in my book. But as always, get out and experience it for yourself! Don’t just take my word for it.
The main parking area for Jackson Flat Reservoir is fairly straightforward to find. Head south 2.6 miles from the southernmost stoplight in Kanab, follow the well marked signs and take a left. If you hit the Arizona border, you’ve gone too far. Continue .5 miles and take a left followed by a right, keeping to the pavement and you’ll find yourself in the main parking lot accessing many of the primary amenities of the destination. To access an unpaved road circling the reservoir, stay on the initial road off 89A and hang a left just before reaching the Kaneplex Rodeo Area. So what are you waiting for? Get out, relax, lather on the sunscreen, bust out a volleyball, the families fishing poles, birding binos, or simply lace up your walking shoes and explore and enjoy this beautiful blue oasis in our red rock desert!