Kayaking in Arizona; Pleasant Lake

Does anyone have information about kayaking in Arizona in the Phoenix area? What about Pleasant Lake north of Phoenix? I know they rent sit on tops there. Has anyone done any paddling there in their own boats? Thanks.

Not there
But try Colorado from Blythe to Squaw Lake

Can’t help with Phoenix
But I will offer that Lake Mohave and Lake Havasu are nice, but you’ve got to pick your time when the wind is not so much. Lake Mohave is especially interesting from Katherine’s Landing and down toward the dam. The water is so clear and you can see so deep that it is spooky.

I have a friend from Idaho who spends the winter months at Havasu. I’ve thought about visiting him down there and paddling some. he goes down at Thanksgiving and stays until March. Would march be a good time to go down from Utah to paddle or is it too windy down there in the early spring?

wind ?

not all areas have a localize weathe rhistory eg Parker Canyon Dam SP does not…

what to do is tap history then chose 2015 and the times you’re interested in.


I base at Squaw Lake when in AZ. Squaw is warm n cold n on the border. Real wind may blow in for a week from the west or down from LA/Palm Springs for a day. Not frequently.

The Mogollon can have snow when Squaw is cool but pleasant.


paddlers at take out at Squaw Lake are highly pleased with the trip…exceptional. AZ’s Delaware.


Kayaking in Arizona; Lake Pleasant
Thanks to all for the info and suggestions. Appreciate it.

I’m in Tucson
RikJohnson@juno.com I have maps!

Saturday I am taking some new people on Saguaro Lake for an overnighter.

Saguaro is the closest lake to Phx but is also the busiest.

Head out to Apache Junction for Canyon lake. Camping there sucks but there are a number of isolated bays that speedboats avoid.

Bartlett and Horseshow are a bit north and seasonal.

Lake Pleasant off Carefree (exit 223) charges entrance for you AND for each kayak you bring. The north end is the best. I am doing the Bald Eagle Watch early Dec.

Tempe Town lake is laps only.

If you go further, there is the Colorado River. I just got off the 42mile stretch from Hoover to Cottonwood. Walter’s Landing to Squaw is a good multi-day trip. You can do Squaw to Yuma in a day easily.

Phoenix really has better options than does Tucson so contact me and I’ll add more info.

Squaw to Yuma
runs thru industrial agriculture land. Air toxicity from ag spraying is best avoided.

Pleasant is okay, though it tend to have substantial motor boat traffic on it, which can be annoying. Also, during the summer months the shore lines are really exposed so it is difficult to get out of the sun. Personally, I also think it is the least scenic of the desert lakes. It does have the advantage of being close to Phoenix though and in the spring, fall or winter can be really nice paddling.

However, ff you are looking for something close to the valley I would recommend Saguaro Lake. Same issue with motor boat traffic but if you put in at the Butcher Jones Recreation Site you can head straight up into the canyon and check out some of the coves close by. It is pretty paddling.

Bartlett is similar to Pleasant, with much of the same problems, though prettier area in my opinion and also has on lake rental options.

Horse shoe is a little more difficult to get to but just up stream from Bartlett. It is about 10 miles of well maintained dirt roads to get there but it is peaceful. I’ve never shared the lake with more than two other boats which are generally fisherman.

If you are willing to go a little further out, Blue Ridge Reservoir up on the rim is a great paddling destination. It is up in the pines and is a beautiful area to paddle. It is doable as a long day trip from Phoenix (about 2 hours each way), plus no motorized craft allowed. There is also camping available in the area if you want to stay longer.

You had mentioned on lake rentals, which isn’t a bad deal if you are only going to be out for an hour or two but if you want to check out some of the other locations I mentioned, or just want to have an all day excursion with out it costing you the price of a used boat… I use to do all my rentals from Arizona Hiking Shack (No affiliation what so ever) until I bought my own Yak. I still go there if I’m taking someone who doesn’t have a boat. Great people, easy to work with, reasonable rental prices and they will set up up with everything you need to transport the boat (or you can get an inflatable if you like as well). I highly recommend them. There are other places in the valley that rent boats as well (I’ve only worked with Arizona Hiking Shack so can’t give you any advice on them) which are likely going to be significantly cheaper rentals than what you will find on the lake(s) so something to think about.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget the Arizona Paddle Festival at Lake Pleasant Saturday, 8 April 2017 at Fisherman’s Cove.
I have a map attached!