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Exploring Arizona’s Oasis: A Guide to the 6 Main Lakes near Phoenix

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Monday, 26th June 2023

Arizona, known for its vast desert landscapes and arid climate, may not immediately evoke images of shimmering lakes and lush oasis. However, nestled within the Sonoran Desert, the state boasts an impressive array of lakes that offer a refreshing escape from the desert heat. The Carol Royse Team will dive into the six main lakes near Phoenix: Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, and Bartlett Lake. Let’s explore the unique attractions, amenities, and ease of access these lakes provide, turning the desert into a watery paradise.

Lake Pleasant

Located just 35 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is a popular destination for water enthusiasts. The lake spans over 10,000 acres and offers a wide range of activities, including boating, fishing, kayaking, and jet skiing. The marina provides boat rentals, and there are numerous picnic areas for families and groups. With its proximity to Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is an ideal spot for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Roosevelt Lake

Situated approximately 85 miles east of Phoenix, Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake in Arizona, covering over 21,000 acres. Its picturesque shoreline is surrounded by stunning desert landscapes and rugged mountains. The lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for bass, crappie, and catfish. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, and wildlife watching in the nearby Tonto National Forest. Roosevelt Lake is an excellent choice for those seeking a serene and scenic escape from the city.

Apache Lake

Nestled between towering canyon walls, Apache Lake offers a tranquil and secluded experience. Located about 65 miles northeast of Phoenix, this lake is a hidden gem for water adventurers. Boating and fishing are popular activities, with ample opportunities to catch bass, trout, and catfish. The remote nature of Apache Lake makes it an ideal spot for camping and stargazing, away from the city lights.

Canyon Lake

Nestled within the Superstition Mountains, Canyon Lake captivates visitors with its dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Just a short drive of approximately 50 miles from Phoenix, this lake offers breathtaking views and a myriad of recreational opportunities. Boat tours and kayaking allow visitors to explore the narrow canyons and hidden coves. Hiking trails and picnic areas along the shoreline provide options for land-based activities. Canyon Lake’s proximity and natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Saguaro Lake

Located less than an hour’s drive from Phoenix, Saguaro Lake boasts stunning vistas and a diverse array of flora and fauna. The lake derives its name from the majestic Saguaro cacti that dot the surrounding landscapes. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy boating, water skiing, and fishing for trout and bass. The Desert Belle Paddleboat offers scenic tours, providing a unique perspective on the lake’s beauty. Saguaro Lake’s proximity to Phoenix makes it a convenient option for a day trip or a weekend adventure.

Bartlett Lake

Tucked away in the Tonto National Forest, Bartlett Lake provides a serene and peaceful retreat. Located approximately 50 miles northeast of Phoenix, this lake is surrounded by pristine desert landscapes and towering saguaro cacti. Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of bass, catfish, and crappie. Visitors can also enjoy boating, jet skiing, and camping in the designated areas along the shoreline. Bartlett Lake’s peaceful ambiance and natural beauty make it a hidden oasis for nature lovers.


Arizona’s lakes, including Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, and Bartlett Lake, offer a welcome respite in the midst of the Sonoran Desert. Each lake brings unique attractions and amenities, from water sports and fishing to camping and hiking. With their close proximity to Phoenix, these lakes provide a refreshing oasis for city dwellers seeking a break from the arid landscapes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a serene escape, Arizona’s lakes are waiting to be explored and appreciated.

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