Arizona, a state in the southwest United States, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its mountains, flatlands, deserts, and rivers. It has a wide range of terrain and has some breathtaking landscapes. Arizona lakes are among of the country's most unusual bodies of water. They range from desert reservoirs to flooded gorges to high-altitude diamonds gleaming in the clean mountain air, and they are found across the state.
Pleasure boating, swimming, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and stand up paddle boarding are just a few of the activities available. Some of the nicest lakes in Arizona are located near major population centers, making access to them simple and quick, which is a huge plus on a scorching hot summer day. In most cases, the facilities are excellent; you'll find marinas, campers, and even outfitters renting boats and other watercraft in even the most distant regions.
Top 12 Lakes in Arizona That Will Make Your Vacation Heavenly
Here is a list of top 12 lakes in Arizona that will turn your mood 360 degrees and awaken your senses.
1. Lake Mead
Lake Mead is one of most well-known lakes in Arizona. This lake is a fascinating place, with desert juxtaposed against turquoise waters under impossibly blue skies. It is known for its clear water and wide-open spaces. Lake Mead is a fantastic site to visit and offers some unique vistas. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take a boat up a flooded, narrow canyon to a sandstone arch.
Lake Mead has a surface area of 247 square miles and stores approximately three trillion gallons of water. All of this water screams to be explored, and there's a never-ending list of things to do. A powerboat, sailboat, houseboat, stand up paddleboard, or even a kayak can be used to explore the lake.
Boating and watersports, such as waterskiing and kayaking, are popular, but tourists can also swim, scuba dive, fish, and camp on the island. Lake Mead can get congested because it is within a short drive from Las Vegas. Lake Mead may be reached from the Arizona side of the Arizona-California border at Katherine Landing, or you can launch from the Hoover Dam and explore the hot springs along the Black Canyon Water Trail with a permit.
Location - Black Canyon approximately 30 miles east of Las Vegas, NV in the Mojave Desert, Arizona-Nevada
2. Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake Arizona, the smallest of the Salt River's lakes, compensates for its little size with breathtaking surroundings. Incredible towering red rock cliffs run right down to the water's edge just a few miles from the boat launch. Beachcombing, cruising the pristine waters to a private cove, waterskiing, tubing, and even scuba diving are all options at Canyon Lake. If the lake is too crowded for you, head to the eastern shoreline for some peace and quiet.
Despite the large number of people, fishing on the lake is excellent. Rainbow trout, yellow bass, and largemouth bass are among the species that will put up a fight. In this lake, the fish grow to extraordinary sizes; one lucky angler caught a 15-pound largemouth bass.
This lake is surely one among the best places to visit in USA. The lake is located 24 kilometres east of the Apache Trail and 82 kilometres east of Phoenix. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and boating. Tourists who stop here while driving the Apache Trail or booking a narrated tour on the Dolly Steamboat are also frequent visitors. In the area, you may also go scuba diving, fishing for several sorts of bass, and hiking.
Location - Reservoir in Arizona, Maricopa County, Arizona,
3. Lake Powell
Lake Powell, which was formed by damming Glen Canyon, is one of the best lakes in the United States for houseboating, but you don't need a houseboat to explore its approximately 2,000 miles of shoreline and 96 major canyons. The waters flanking the Arizona-Utah border are ideal for boating, kayaking, jet skiing, sailing, and waterskiing. Hiking, fishing, and camping are all popular activities at Lake Powell, which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
You can explore Glen Canyon Dam, visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and marvel at Antelope Canyon from the Arizona city of Page.
Location - Northern Arizona and stretches up into southern Utah.
4. Havasu Lake
One of the best spots to go to the beach and have a nice time is Lake Havasu. This lake, which is within the municipal borders of Lake Havasu Arizona, features some of the best beaches in the state. Soft sand stretches dot the 400-mile beachfront, perfect for setting up lawn chairs under an umbrella. The lake's water becomes extremely heated.
With a temperature of 87 degrees in August and 83 degrees in July, the water is virtually bath-tub warm. The temperature in September is a nice 79 degrees. Throughout the summer, the lake draws visitors from all across the state, as well as a large number of snowbirds in the winter. Pleasure boating is particularly popular here, with anything from pontoon boats to fully equipped wakeboard boats. In the hot Arizona sun, boats and Jet Skis whiz around all day dragging water-skiers, tubers, and wakeboarders.
Many individuals prefer to avoid the crowds and head up the lake to their own private cove or beach in the Topock Gorge region, while we are at it, this might not one among the finest beaches in USA, yet is quite serene. If you're looking for a thrill, the lake has no speed limits, so high-performance boats are allowed to rev up the engine. The hectic activity slows as night time approaches, and the pleasure cruisers appear. A sunset boat to your favourite restaurant for dinner on a waterside patio is one of the great lake activities.
Location - On the Colorado River between Arizona and California.
5. Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Lake Pleasant Arizona is one of the nearest lakes to Phoenix, formed by the Waddell Dam on the Agua Fria River northwest of the city. On weekends, outdoor enthusiasts travel to the lake to boat, kayak, sail, paddleboard, and waterski. You can even scuba dive at the lake, which is regarded as one of the best inland diving spots in the West. Are you looking for something unique? A wildlife centre, dinner cruises, and moonlit scorpion hunts are all available at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. You can also catch largemouth, white, and striped bass at night.
The lake's shoreline is dotted with marinas and campers, and on a hot weekend, the lake is bustling with powerboats and Jet Skis racing in all directions. The lake is quieter further out from the beach, and it's here that you'll see sailboats drifting by, propelled by the warm desert winds. Lake Pleasant Regional Park, a favourite day trip destination for city dwellers, is well equipped to handle the influx of visitors, with easy access and a full range of amenities.
If you are looking for a adventure filled honeymoon, Lake Pleasant has to be one of the honeymoon destinations in the world, that provide you the same. The marinas hire out a variety of powered watercraft. Cruises around the lake are also worth checking out if you'd rather let someone else drive. Do you want to go for a paddle? Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can be rented as well. Those who are feeling courageous can take on the gigantic waterslide, which will rocket you into the air before splashing down into the lake.
Location - North Peoria, Arizona, United States of America
6. Theodore Roosevelt Lake
Theodore Roosevelt Lake is a major reservoir in central Arizona named after the former President. With a surface area of about 8,600 hectares and a 205-kilometer shoreline, it is the state's largest lake.
Theodore Roosevelt Lake is noted for its excellent fishing and did you know that fishing is one of the finest things to do in USA, as it is home to a variety of game fish. Carp, crappie, sunfish, smallmouth bass, and channel catfish are among them. The willow flycatcher, an endangered Neotropical migrating bird, calls the lake home. The Arizona National Scenic Trail surrounds the lake, making it incredibly picturesque. On the lake's banks, there's also a marina with boat rentals and moorage, as well as camping.
When the Theodore Roosevelt Dam was built in 1911, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, one of the best lakes in Arizona, was the world's largest man-made lake, covering over 21,500 acres. It's still Central Arizona's largest lake, attracting boaters, water sports enthusiasts, and anglers looking for crappie, catfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass. Tonto National Monument's main walk leads to a 20-room cliff house with spectacular views of the lake, just five minutes from the marina.
Location - Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Gila County, Arizona, United States
7. Willow Springs Lake
Created by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1967, Willow Springs Lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout May through September, making it one of the state’s great lakes for trout. It’s also one of the quiestest. Boats are limited to those with electric or maximum 10 horsepower gas motors, so you are more likely to see families casting from the shore than watercraft on the lake. Typically, Willow Springs Lake closes after the first winter snowstorm, but when it doesn’t, intrepid anglers drop a line and ice fish here.
Willow Springs Lake usually considered as one of the best lakes in Arizona, closes after the first winter snowstorm, but intrepid anglers cast a line and ice fish here when it doesn’t.
Location - Coconino County, Arizona, USA
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8. Watson Lake
Watson Lake is one of Arizona’s most gorgeous lakes, with its unusual rock formations and crystal-clear waters. It’s also one of Prescott’s most popular attractions. Although swimming is restricted because the lake is the source of Prescott’s drinking water, the lake offers a variety of other aquatic activities. Watson Lake’s fishing is good, with largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and carp hiding beneath the surface, ready for a fight.
Paddling a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard along the shore in the shallows next to the rocks is an interesting geological exercise. So, if you are a water hiking trails follow the lake’s shoreline and encircle it for a more earthly experience. Follow the entry road all the way to the end to get a panoramic view of the entire lake, then walk a little distance beyond the enormous Ramada to the overlook. Wide-open fields, perfect for a game of football or soccer, as well as picnic tables and shelters, and a small campground, are located back from the lake. The rest of the sporting opportunities include a disc golf course, horseshoe pits, bocce ball, and a basketball court.
The built-up park section at the northern end of the lake has a small entrance fee. Willow Springs Lake, which was created by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1967 and is annually stocked with rainbow trout from May through September, is one of the state’s outstanding trout lakes. It’s also one of the most secluded. Boats are limited to electric or gas motors with a maximum of 10 horsepower, thus families casting from the shore are more common than watercraft on the lake.
Location - At 3101 Watson Lake Rd, (the lake is accessible form Highway 89) Arizona, USA.
9. Saguaro Lake
Saguaro Lake, one of the Salt River's reservoirs, is located within the Tonto National Forest in Maricopa County, Arizona. At an elevation of 459 metres above sea level, it is a lovely lake surrounded by breath-taking natural settings.
Rainbow trout, largemouth bass, yellow bass, crappie, channel catfish, tilapia, and a variety of other fish inhabit Saguaro Lake, which is recognised for its excellent fishing. Within the lake, you may do kayaking, water skiing, sailing, and jet skiing. A marina with a restaurant, boat ramps, restrooms, and picnic tables is located along the lake's 35-kilometer shoreline. A beach (Butcher Jones Beach) is also available for swimming and picnicking.
Location - Tonto National Forest, approximately forty miles east of downtown Phoenix
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10. Bartlett Lake
The reservoir of Bartlett Lake is primarily renowned for its sport fishing. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, crayfish, and flathead catfish are among the many fish species found in the lake. Swimming, water skiing, and sailing are all popular activities on the 815-hectare lake, which also offers picnicking and barbecuing along its shores.
There are several spots in the region where you can camp, though the marina does have accommodations for rent. The damming of the Verde River in 1939 created Bartlett Lake. It's located in the Tonto National Forest, about 77 kilometres from Phoenix. The lake is pretty lovely, with wildflowers, cactus, and hills surrounding it. The boatable surface area of Bartlett Lake Marina is 2,815 acres, which is bigger than Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake combined.
The Verde River's clean waters fed the valley's Indians, who described the river's "honey waters" in their stories. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Bartlett Lake for a range of activities, including beachside camping in the natural desert landscape of Arizona. Mule deer, bald eagles, javelina, coyotes, and numerous native desert species, including the majestic saguaro, mesquite trees, and blooming ocotillo, may all be seen in this portion of the Tonto National Forest.
Location – 48 miles (77 km) from downtown Phoenix and 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Carefree,
11. Lake Mohave
Most water aficionados in Arizona seem to be unaware of Lake Mohave, which is located near Laughlin. This long, narrow lake, which runs along the western tip of the state and borders Nevada, is 68 miles long and is basically just a broadening of the Colorado River where it backs up from the Davis Dam. With almost 250 miles of jagged shoreline, this lake is an adventurer's paradise. This is the spot to go if you want to get away from the masses of boaters in Arizona.
The upper 22 miles of the lake are carved out of small gorges, making it a fascinating place to visit and reconnect with nature. The water is chilly up here, as the lowest layers of Lake Mead continue to flow over the Hoover Dam. The water is warmer further down the lake, closer to Laughlin, averaging in the high 70s to mid 80s Fahrenheit, and this is where the majority of the lake's action takes place.
The lake is easily accessible, and marinas provide all of the facilities that boaters require. Apart from a few lovely beaches, the Nevada side of the lake is more primitive, with no services. Fishing for striped, small, and largemouth bass, crappie, and rainbow trout is good on the lake, but the shift in water temperatures as you move north makes locating the correct areas a little difficult.
Location - Mohave County, Arizona / Clark County, Nevada, US
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12. Apache Lake
Arizona's hidden gem is Apache Lake. Lake goers and outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy a distant and uncrowded experience thanks to the unusual location. This is also the only lake in Arizona with hotels near the water and beaches within walking distance. So come relax and have some family fun with crystal-clear seas, boat and jet ski rentals, a bar and grill, and more!
Apache Lake is located in the Superstition Wilderness Area, downstream on the Salt River from Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The scenery around the lake is breathtaking, with sheer cliffs on one side and towering mountains on the other. The lake, which stretches for 17 kilometres, provides excellent opportunities for all types of pleasure. Although the Apache Lake Marina's services are limited, it does provide lodging, boat rentals, boat slips, camping, and RV sites. Because of its position and access route, the lake gets less people, so there's a high possibility you'll have a private bay all to yourself.
Location - Maricopa / Gila counties, Arizona, USA
Arizona's scenery may be dominated by saguaro cacti, rough mountains, and wide spaces, but the state also boasts stunning lakes, including many within an hour of Phoenix. The best lakes in Arizona provide outdoor enthusiasts with opportunity to boat through red rock canyons, scuba dive to depths, fish for tournament-sized bass, and more around the state. The damming of rivers, such as the mighty Colorado, which created Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and Lake Havasu, has resulted in several of Arizona's most beautiful lakes.
Lake Theodore Roosevelt, Apache Lake, and Canyon Lake were formed by damming the Salt River. Large cities, Indian reservations, woodlands, and towering peaks can all be found in Arizona, as well as the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park and Petrified Forest National Park. So, what are you waiting for? Book your flight tickets to Arizona today and enjoy these picturesque sites!
Arizona's scenery may be dominated by saguaro cacti, rough mountains, and wide spaces, but the state also boasts stunning lakes, including many within an hour of Phoenix. The top lakes in Arizona are Lake Mead, Canyon Lake, Lake Powell, Havasu Lake, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Willow Springs Lake, Watson Lake, Saguaro Lake, Bartlett Lake, Lake Mohave, and Apache Lake.
Although the Apache Lake Marina's services are limited, it does provide lodging, boat rentals, boat slips, camping, and RV sites. Because of its position and access route, the lake gets less people, so there's a high possibility you'll have a private bay all to yourself.
All of the water screams to be explored, and there's a never-ending list of things to do. A powerboat, sailboat, houseboat, stand up paddleboard, or even a kayak can be used to explore the lake. Boating and watersports, such as waterskiing and kayaking, are popular, but tourists can also swim, scuba dive, fish, and camp on the island. Lake Mead can get congested because it is within a short drive from Las Vegas.
Yes, you can swim at lakes in Arizona. To try out swimming you can opt to visit Fossil Creek, Grasshopper Point, Hutch's Pool, Knoll Lake, Lake Mohave, Mooney Falls, and West Clear Creek. Pleasure boating, swimming, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and stand up paddle boarding are just a few of the activities available.
Lake Powell is the biggest lake in Arizona, it was formed by damming Glen Canyon, is one of the best lakes in the United States for houseboating, but you don't need a houseboat to explore its approximately 2,000 miles of shoreline and 96 major canyons. The waters flanking the Arizona-Utah border are ideal for boating, kayaking, jet skiing, sailing, and waterskiing
No, you cannot swim in Watson Lake. Although swimming is restricted because the lake is the source of Prescott’s drinking water, the lake offers a variety of other aquatic activities. Watson Lake’s fishing is good, with largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and carp hiding beneath the surface, ready for a fight.
The best time to visit Arizona are spring and autumn seasons. The temperatures are cool in the mountains and warm in the desert, but without extremes (although you shouldn't be surprised to get a bit of snow as late as Memorial Day in the mountains and thunderstorms in the desert Aug-Sept).
The lake is located 24 kilometres east of the Apache Trail and 82 kilometres east of Phoenix. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and boating. Tourists who stop here while driving the Apache Trail or booking a narrated tour on the Dolly Steamboat are also frequent visitors.