The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking in Arizona (Spots & Lakes)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: February 19, 2021
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When people envision Arizona, they usually think of the desert. However, Arizona is a treasure trove for kayakers too. Arizonans tamed many of the rivers and damned. This results in massive sparkling freshwater lakes for kayaking throughout the year.

Kayaking in Arizona

There are seasonal rivers that depend on molten snow and rainfall. The rivers in Arizona are suitable for kayaking. These rivers receive plenty of sunlight throughout the year. Therefore, it is the perfect spot to kayak in a scenic setting.

Kayaking in Valley Lakes, Arizona

Lake Pleasant Regional Lake has ports like Scorpion Bay and Pleasant Harbor allows kayakers to rent kayaks. There is a renowned outdoor retailer named Cabela’s, the retailer has gear and equipment on sale for kayakers.

Guided trips and group events are organized by the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. Saguaro Lake, which is a part of the Tonto National Park has Precision Marine that rents kayaks. If you want to kayak at Roosevelt Lake, keep in mind that the marina doesn’t rent kayaks.

Roosevelt Lake is famous as a motorboat destination and a personal watercraft. Paddlers can find quiet places, particularly located on the east side of the lake.

Mountain Lakes, Arizona

Big Lake is elevated up to 9,000 feet in the White Mountains. If you want the whole lake to kayakers, then Big Lake is perfect for you. Motorized boats and electric and small gas engines keep the Big Lake free from contestation of heavy vessels.

Kayakers here don’t need to compete with big boats. Moreover, US Forest Service has several campgrounds located adjacent to the lake. The lake is full of trout. Upper Lake Mary and South of Flagstaff is narrow and long.

Kayaks, canoes, and sailboats are common while water skiers and power boats are used by kayakers. You can find the campgrounds and ramps can be found nearby.

Recreational Areas & Kyaking Spots

Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Glen Canyon National Recreational Area allow powerboating. But, kayakers can find plenty of quiet coves to journey and explore. You won’t have to pay a fee for launching your kayak.

There are areas that aren’t congested with larger boats offer information and directions to areas. You have to be careful that invasive muscles may be rife in Lake Mead. A comprehensive visual and physical inspection is recommended by the National Park Service.

Book About Paddling in Arizona

Paddling Arizona
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Tyler Williams (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages - 01/19/2007 (Publication Date) - Funhog Press (Publisher)

If you want to know the details of paddling in Arizona along with step by step guide to follow; then there is a book (248 pages in it) for you to read (here are more kayaking & paddling books). This book features the complete guide to find rivers and kayak friendly lakes in Arizona along with ponds, reservoirs, backwaters and whitewater rivers. This book also comes with maps for every area, photos, geographical & hydrological information about Arizona to make this guidebook a real guide for your next trip. This awesome book is written by a famous contributor to lots of outdoor magazines named Tyler Williams. 

The Top 5 Best Places to Kayak in Arizona (AZ)

Arizona may be a land-locked state besieged by the Sonoran Desert. But, Arizona hosts some of the most outstanding kayaking locations in the USA. If you are new to kayaking, don’t be deterred by your lack of experience.

  • Blue Ridge Reservoir, Happy Jack, Arizona
  • Big Lake, Apache County, Arizona
  • Lone Rock Canyon, Page, Arizona
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Lower Salt River, Mesa, Arizona

Arizona has several spots with calm water that a beginner can tame. Before going on your first kayaking journey, you have to learn basic kayaking safety. Listed below are the five great spots a beginner go on a kayaking journey in Arizona.

Blue Ridge Reservoir, Happy Jack, Arizona

The place contains some of the most amazing sights for Arizona kayakers. It is an amazing reservoir that is bordering the Mogollon Rim. Large canyon walls and forestry surround the lake.

It is located about 6,700 feet above the ground.

The Blue Ridge Reservoir is an ideal spot to kayak. Besides concentrating on kayaking, you can enjoy spectacular views all around.

Peaceful waters, limited traffic, surround the Blue Ridge Reservoir. Motorized water vehicles aren’t allowed on the lake. Therefore, you will have plenty of space for kayaking.

Lone Rock Canyon, Page, Arizona

This is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable kayak spots in the country altogether. Stunning views and calm waters make kayaking a popular activity. For the thrill-seekers, cliff diving along the walls of the canyon is a popular activity.

Lake Pleasant

Do you love Metro Phoenix? Or, do you live close by Metro Phoenix? Lake Pleasant is close to Metro Phoenix. And, it’s one of the closest water bodies. This is a very popular kayaking destination for locals. People from other states to visit Lake Pleasant to have a pleasant time.

For explorers, the 11.5-mile lake is a treasure trove. You can hitch a local tour and get lost in for a couple of hours. All it takes is a couple of minutes of paddling. And, you can too enjoy the experience the most beautiful kayaking location. The Phoenix area has plenty to offer. And, you too can take a bit of Arizona’s beauty.

Lower Salt River, Mesa, Arizona

Lower Salt River offers the most memorable kayak experience in the state. Stunning views and exploration of calm waters remain one of the most glaring features of this popular lake. The locals hold the Lower Salt River in high regard.

Whatever comes to your mind when you think of lush greenery near large stunning cliffs, the exact same components can be found here in Lower Salt River. The abundance of wildlife offers an excellent opportunity to spot a wild horse along the shoreline.

The Lower Salt River also allows kayakers to hone their angling skills. The Lower Salt River is uniquely located in the Tonto National Forest. Smooth and flawless water goes fine with its stunning scenery.

Big Lake, Apache County, Arizona

The lake is really expansive! This is a gem of a place located in the middle of Northern Arizona’s White Mountains. Due to the location, many are yet to discover this place. For kayak anglers, an immense population of trout will be an excellent opportunity to fish.

Places To Kayak in Phoenix, Flagstaff & Tucson

So, what about going even more locale of Arizona? Well, lets find some spots to paddle in Phoenix and Tucson – for example.

Best Kayak & Canoe Rental Services in Arizona

Apart from Phoenix, Tucson owns some awesome spots and lakes for adventurous paddling. Here you go-

Final Thought

If you like to kayak, Arizona is a perfect place to be in this summer. Pristine mountain lakes, adjacent rivers, landlocked mountains will be more than enough to pull you in.

Last update on 2021-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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