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There’s Something Magical About These 25 Lakes In Arizona

Cheyenne Reed

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Lakes in Arizona may not be the image that first comes to your mind when thinking about the state. The truth is, Arizona has some of the most magical lakes in the U.S. Arizona is not just a dry lifeless desert. The lakes in Arizona prove just how diverse this beautiful state actually is. If you’re still not convinced yet, these 25 lakes in Arizona will most assuredly change your mind. Take a look!

Check Out These 25 Gorgeous Lakes in Arizona

1. Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake in Arizona during nightfall.
upload.wikimedia.org

Canyon Lake is one of four lakes in Arizona that make our list. It was formed when the Salt River was dammed back in 1925. It’s actually the smallest of the four but don’t let that sway you from visiting it. It weaves through the canyons, making it very fun to boat around on. It also provides a unique cruise experience on the Dolly Steamboat. and is a popular fishing location.

2. Lake Powell

A canyon shot from Lake Powell. This is one of the northernmost lakes in Arizona.
Photo by Bernard Spragg via Flickr

When you go to Lake Powell, it feels like your in a different space and time. Perhaps that’s why it was the location for The Planet of the Apes and made a few appearances in Dr. Who. Lake Powell straddles the borders of Arizona and Utah. It also isn’t far from The Grand Canyon National Park. Visiting Lake Powell is an otherworldly experience that’s definitely worth having.

3. Chevelon Canyon Lake

Chevelon Canyon Lake winding through the green trees and tall mountains.
lazylresort.com

This small lake is one of several “rim lakes” found on the Mogollon Rim. The only way to get to this unique and beautiful lake is by taking a long dirt road. This area is perhaps the best for fishing in the entire state of Arizona because it’s well-stocked and maintained.

4. Watson Lake

Watson Lake is beautiful with its exquisite rock formations that protrude through the water.
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This photogenic lake is one of two that calls the granite dells formation home. A damn built across Granite Creek in the early 1900s created this lake and Arizona natives couldn’t be more grateful. Watson Lake is beautiful with its exquisite rock formations that protrude through the water.

5. Patagonia Lake

Patagonia Lake is one of the more unique lakes in Arizona due to its desert location.
Photo credit: Elyss Paterson via Flickr

This desert oasis is just southwest of the small city of Patagonia and a little northeast of Nogales, Arizona. When the Sonoita Creek was damned, this lake formed and is now a popular boating and fishing location in the middle of the Sonoran desert. A large variety of fish are stocked here throughout the year, they include largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, flathead catfish, threadfin shad, red-ear sunfish, channel catfish, rainbow trout, and American bullfrogs.

6. Lake Havasu

Photo credit: Andrew Wilkinson via Flickr

Lake Havasu is a very popular spring break destination and the most popular of all the lakes in Arizona. It’s a truly remarkable beach town/oasis in the desert. It’s located in Lake Havasu, Arizona on the border of California. Lake Havasu was formed from the Parker Dam and the Colorado River. It’s a popular boating, fishing, and vacationing spot with unique architecture and a carefree atmosphere thanks to the very cool locals. Another interesting fact about Lake Havasu is that it’s home to the London Bridge, which was transported piece by piece from London in 1967.

7. Saguaro Lake

Photo credit: Randy Jenkins via Flickr

Saguaro Lake was formed by the Stewart Mountain Dam and is nestled within the Tonto National Forest. It is named after the Saguaro cactus due to the high density of the cactus in the area. It’s northeast of Usery Park, a protected area of natural beauty and halfway between Phoenix and the ghost town of Sunflower, Arizona. Saguaro Lake was the fourth and last of the lakes in Arizona that were created by the Stewart Mountain Dam and the Salt River. The lake and marina is a very popular attraction and weekend getaway for Arizona residents.

8. Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Photo credit: Markus Alydruk via Flickr

Theodore Roosevelt Lake – referred to by locals as Roosevelt Lake – is approximately 80 miles northeast of Phoenix. It was created by the Roosevelt Dam and Salt River. Roosevelt Lake is one of the lakes in Arizona that are apart of the Salt River Project. Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake of all the lakes in Arizona.

9. Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Town Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Arizona.
Photo credit: NW via Flickr

Tempe Town Lake is the most visited of all the lakes in Arizona due to its central location in the city of Tempe. It is attached to Tempe Beach Park and borders the city of Scottsdale. Arizona State University is nearby as well as the college town shopping and dining area of Mill Ave. Tempe Town Lake is a popular destination for fishing, sailing, pedal boating, as well as many other water sports. It is also the second-most visited location in the state of Arizona.

10. Apache Lake

Apache Lake is one of the four lakes in Arizona fed by the Salt River.
Photo credit: Michael Kemper via Flickr

Apache Lake is one of the four lakes in Arizona fed by the Salt River and is part of the Salt River Project. The lake is nestled in the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona. Its seclusion makes it a popular destination for daytrippers and weekend campers wanting to get away from the busy Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area). The Superstition Mountains surround the beautiful lake making it one of the most picturesque lakes in Arizona.

11. Fool Hollow Lake

Photo credit: Keli Black via Flickr

Fool Hollow Lake is one of the most unique lakes in Arizona located within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. What makes it so unique is that was originally meant to be the location of a town. Thomas Jefferson Adair bought the land and proposed to build his town there. He was ridiculed and the locals named it Fool Hollow Lake after the construction of a dam located at Show Low Creek and Fool Hollow Wash turned it into a lake.

12. Rose Canyon Lake

Photo credit: Robert Yanal via Flickr

The gorgeous Rose Canyon Lake is located near the base of Mount Lemmon 30 miles east of Tucson. It is within the Santa Catalina Mountain range. It’s also the smallest of the lakes in Arizona covering only approximately 6 acres. Tall pine trees surround the shoreline along with large rockfaces. The lake is a popular fishing location for Tucson locals as well as tourists alike.

13. Bear Canyon Lake

Nestled along the amazing Mogollon Rim in central Arizona protected and maintained by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest division of the USDA Forest Service. This lake is one of the more difficult lakes in Arizona to reach because it requires you to drive for many miles on a rough dirt road and then only accessible by foot. What also makes Bear Canyon Lake one of the most unique lakes in Arizona is that it was built by the Arizona Game and Fish Department for recreational fishing. That means this lake is well stocked.

Narrow passageways between rows of tall pine trees make Bear Canyon Lake a beautiful boating location as well.

14. Lake Pleasant

Photo credit: George Larcher via Flickr

Northwest of Phoenix there is a huge lake and an outdoor recreational area known as Lake Pleasant Regional Park. This lake is actually in the city of Peoria and is a popular place for kayaking, boating, jet-skiing, and hiking. It’s also a popular lake for stargazing and night photography. Every weekend you’ll see many campsites full of friends and family enjoying themselves.

15. Woods Canyon Lake

Photo credit: Jas Gold

Woods Canyon Lake is one of the lakes in Arizona on the Mogollon Rim. It is considered one of the Rim Lakes. It’s the first of the Rim Lakes you’ll come to, with Bear Canyon Lake being the second one. It is a popular fishing destination and even dons its own old-school bait shop. Woods Canyon Lake is also a popular place to camp. There is an amphitheater next to the lake where forest rangers put on films and give talks.

16. Bartlett Lake

Photo credit: Jeff Shewan via Flickr

Bartlett Lake is a result of the Bartlet Dam which was constructed on the Verde River. Like a few other lakes in Arizona, Bartlett Lake was a part of the Salt River Project. The lake is within the Tonto National Forest and has become a popular fishing destination. It also attracts many campers. It is downstream from Horseshoe Lake.

17. Lyman Lake

Photo credit: azcentral.com

Up high in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest rests the Lyman Lake Reservoir. The lake is located between St. Johns and Springerville and is one of the largest lakes in Arizona. It’s also one of the most secluded. Lyman Lake is a popular camping, fishing, and water skiing destination.

18. Lake Mohave

Photo credit: Dan Alvey

Lake Mohave is on the Colorado River near the Hoover Dam. It borders the state of Nevada to the north. It is a popular recreational destination for people from both Arizona and Nevada. The weather year-round makes Lake Mohave a perfect location for daytrippers and campers alike. Like Lake Powell, it is one of the northernmost lakes in Arizona.

19. Big Lake

Big Lake is considered the best lake for fishing out of all the lakes in Arizona.
Photo credit: Seay Photography via Flickr

The glorious Big Lake is just a little east of Lyman Lake. Big Lake is nestled in the White Mountains just south of Eagar and Springerville. It is an immensely popular lake for fishermen. Actually, it’s considered the best lake for fishing out of all the lakes in Arizona. Every year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks approximately 480,000 fingerlings and 50,000 sub-catchable rainbow trout. So, if you’re looking for the best chance of catching fish, this is the lake to choose.

20. Roper Lake

Photo credit: E. Marie Wright via Flickr

Roper Lake is located in southeastern Arizona just south of Safford. It is a popular campground and watersport lake. There are also cabins for those who prefer that method of camping. Roper Lake is just east of Mt. Graham and provides scenic views of the Pinaleño Mountains. It is also one of the farthest southeastern lakes in Arizona.

21. Rainbow Lake

Rainbow Lake is one of the most family-friendly lakes in Arizona.
Photo credit: Jason Pistener via Flickr

Rainbow Lake is one of the oldest man-made lakes in Arizona. It is located in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona among the White Mountains. The lake was created by Mormon settlers in 1903 when they dammed up Walnut Creek for irrigation use. Today, it is a popular walking and fishing destination. It is also surrounded by a very family-friendly park.

22. Willow Springs Lake

Photo credit: Alan Levine via Flickr

This coldwater lake is one of the highest altitude lakes in Arizona. It’s located atop the Mogollon Rim in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Park. It is a great fishing lake in the summer and spring, but come fall, it gets extremely cold and is inaccessible for most vehicles.

23. Ashurst Lake

Ashurst Lake is 20 miles south of Flagstaff. It's one of the very few natural lakes in Arizona.
Photo credit: Coconino National Forest via Flickr

Ashurst Lake is one of the very few natural lakes in Arizona. It is located in the Coconino National Forest about 20 miles south of Flagstaff. This lake is a popular choice for bird watchers as well as wildlife photographers.

24. Luna Lake

Luna Lake in Alpine, Arizona. It is one of the few natural lakes in Arizona.
Photo credit: Kevin McKinley via Flickr

Luna Lake is a spectacular location. And like Ashurst Lake, it is one of the very few natural lakes in Arizona. Luna Lake is located in the eastern Arizona mountain city of Alpine. You’ll not feel like you’re in Arizona here because of the high altitude and coniferous forests. That’s another thing that is unique about this amazing place. It doesn’t properly resemble any other place in the country. Luna Lake is truly one of the most fascinating lakes in Arizona.

25. Blue Ridge Reservoir

Photo credit: azmaxed via Flickr

This lake’s official name is the C. C. Cragin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir. Blue Ridge Reservoir is another of the lakes in Arizona. It’s also one of the most scenic of all the lakes in Arizona. Gorgeous tall pine trees grow all the way down to the water’s edge while boating pathways snake throughout the lake. It is also one of the lakes in Arizona that is maintained by the Coconino National Forest division of the USDA Forest Service.


So, now that you know about the amazing lakes in Arizona, you’ll be able to visit them whenever you’re nearby. All of these lakes in Arizona are also perfect weekend getaways and campers.

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