A recreation mecca outside Phoenix, Saguaro Lake provides boating, fishing, camping, and picnicking opportunities in a setting surrounded by groves of saguaro cacti. The lake was formed by the Stewart Mountain Dam, creating an oasis in the desert. Cool off in the water, enjoy a lakeside meal, and partake in activities at the marina.
An idyllic place to escape the heat and traffic of Phoenix, the 1,200-acre (486-hectare) Saguaro Lake is a hub of water sports, from all manner of boating to stand-up paddleboarding. Anglers also flock to the lake for its rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and more. Twenty-two miles (35 kilometers) of shoreline varies from dramatic rocky cliffs to desert shrubland, all with views of the saguaro cacti towering above.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Before you leave the city, buy a pass (available at gas stations and stores) for your vehicle and watercraft.
- Fishing licenses, supplies, snacks, and more can be purchased at the marina.
- The paddleboat cruise is accessible to wheelchairs, and the lake has wheelchair-accessible restrooms.
How to Get There
Saguaro Lake is located outside of Mesa (a suburb of Phoenix). Take AZ-87 North, and get off at exit 199 for N. Bush Highway. Follow N. Bush Highway to the lake.
When to Get There
Arizona’s warm climate makes Saguaro Lake a popular year-round destination. The lake can become quite crowded on weekends and holidays, so arrive early to minimize wait times at the boat ramp and marina.
Overnight Stays at Saguaro Lake
Visitors wanting to hang out for the weekend can camp or stay at Saguaro Lake Ranch. Camping is boat-in only, and the Bagley Flat Campground is free and has a dock, grills, picnic tables, and vault toilets. Situated on the far side of the dam, the ranch offers quaint cabins.