Scottsdale, AZ

Lakes and rivers around Scottsdale to cool down your summer

Scott Murdoch

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Near Scottsdale, there are several lakes and rivers with numerous recreational opportunities. You'll have hours of fun under the sun in a magnificent Sonoran Desert environment, with activities ranging from boating, kayaking, fishing, SUPing, and river rafting to shore-side hiking and historic riverboat excursions.

  • Salt River

The beautiful Salt River, about 30 miles east of Scottsdale, has two different characteristics for river runners. The Lower Salt River is the place to go for calm-water rafting, tubing, kayaking, SUPing, canoeing, and fishing. You'll be treated to breathtaking vistas of towering cliffs, lush riparian regions, and desert animals as you float gently along. While the Upper Salt River is a wild child that delivers whitewater thrills on class III and IV rapids (seasonal) with names like "Maytag," "Overboard," and "Mescal Falls."

  • Verde River

Rafting, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, and photography are all popular activities along the Verde River near its confluence with the Salt River. The Verde's calm waters and riparian environs make it a great place to unwind and take in the Sonoran Desert's splendor from the water or the beach.

  • Saguaro Lake

The Stewart Mountain Dam produced Saguaro Lake, which is 35 miles northeast of Old Town Scottsdale. The lake has about 22 miles of shoreline and offers a variety of water activities such as powerboating, water skiing, sailing, kayaking, and fishing. You may hire a runabout, fishing boat, or pontoon boat at the Marina, or enjoy a 90-minute-guided trip aboard the Desert Belle, a double-decker paddleboat. The Lakeshore Restaurant serves delectable cuisine while providing magnificent views of the surrounding area.

  • Bartlett Lake

This desert treasure provides a full-service Marina with pontoon and ski boat rentals, a general store, and a dock-side grill, and is located in the middle of the Tonto National Forest, about 50 minutes north of Old Town Scottsdale. Water skiing, jet skiing, and fishing are among popular activities in Bartlett Lake.

  • Apache Lake

Apache Lake is located just up the scenic Apache Trail from Canyon Lake. One of Arizona's most stunning vistas is framed by high canyon walls and vast mountain valleys. Although there are several miles of gravel road going to Apache Lake, most passenger automobiles can still access it. Despite its tiny size, this lake is a fantastic place to go boating, fishing, water skiing, and hiking. Pontoon boat rentals are available at the Marina for a fun and easy way to explore the lake.

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