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Go on an Epic Kayaking Adventure around the Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona for a Scenic Getaway

Suny Errot



There are many destinations that offer a peaceful kayaking adventure in Arizona. For one, you can kayak through and emerald cave, or enjoy sunshine while paddling down Saguaro Lake. The scenery in this state is just too beautiful for words. But have you ever heard about the Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona? The reservoir is located in Rim Country and it is as scenic as it is serene because of the abundance of trees lining the lake and its canyon walls. If you’re up for an epic kayaking adventure here, continue reading.

The Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona Is a Beautiful Destination You Didn’t Think You’d Find in the State

Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona

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The Blue Ridge Reservoir, or the C.C. Cragin Reservoir, is a fresh and narrow water lake about 9 miles from the unincorporated town of Clint’s Well in Arizona. It was created back in 1965 when a dam was built to meet the water needs of Payson and Gila County. It measures 8 miles from end to end, and has an average depth is 147 feet or 44 m. This body of water is actually a lake, but it looks like a river because of the constricting canyon walls on either side.

Arizona Reservoir

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It is a natural wonder you need to visit right away. We all know there is no shortage of the beautiful locations in the state that you can explore. However, the Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona welcomes any guest to go on a fun kayaking adventure minus the extra hassle of securing a pass or a permit. That’s right. You don’t need one to access the lake.

Blue Ridge Reservoir in arizona

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In fact, you should just check out this gorgeous, narrow lake that winds for miles through a pine-covered canyon before it gets too crowded. When beautiful destinations such as this one become more popular, access suddenly becomes restricted by permits or fees. That’s not something to complain about, because the goal is also to protect the land. However, you can’t deny that traveling without the need of getting a permit sounds pretty sweet too!

Prepare for an Unparalleled Kayaking Adventure

Kayaking az

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May kayakers and paddleboarders think the Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona is one of the best spots for a peaceful adventure. You will find the narrow and intimate lake flanked by pine-covered slopes, so you will naturally feel like you are kayaking down a slow-moving river.

Blue Ridge Reservoir Kayaking az

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The multiple bends in the lake also obscure other paddlers, so you might think you are the only person paddling here.

Kayak Blue Ridge Reservoir

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You can even come here with your furry friend! They will have a good time here, that’s for sure.

If you get tired, there are many spots for your break time. You can just dock and take in the beautiful scenery in front of you. Or if you want, you can grab a quick bite under the shade of the pines.

geologic features Blue Ridge Reservoir in Arizona

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After that, you can just take as many photos as you want because this place is divine! The rock outcroppings are also a geologic visual feast. You might want to snap photos of that. According to some kayakers, the lake is split between two arms. You will probably find the western arm much longer compared to the southern arm. The latter has the interesting curved dam that holds the water back.

Do you think this place is the perfect spot for your next outdoor adventure? We think so too! Just remember, the paddling season runs from May through October.

How to Get Here

Coconino National Forest

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The Blue Ridge Reservoir is located about 45 miles north of Payson. If you are coming from Phoenix, it will probably take you around 2 hours to get here.

From Payson

  1. Go and continue north on Highway 87 for roughly 40 miles until you reach FR751, near milepost 295. Y
  2. You will see a large US Forest Service sign pointing the way to Blue Ridge Reservoir.
  3. Turn on FR751 and follow it to get to the boat ramp.

Note: The boat ramp is pretty busy on weekends. The Forest Service workers might close the entrance gate when the lot gets full. If this is the case, you should expect that they will only allow one car at a time to enter when one car leaves.

Kayaking is not the only recreation activity you can do here. Many nature lovers also come here for hiking, wildlife watching, sightseeing, fishing, or simply relaxing. But of course, it would be nice if you can explore the place by paddling along with the gentle current, and being in awe of the stunning environment. Check out our other articles: Here Are 12 Reasons Why Visiting Arizona in the Summer Is the Absolute Best Idea, and This Trail in Arizona Will Lead You to a Hidden Hot Spring Like No Other.