Kayaking Arizona: Scenic Lakes & Rivers to Kayak in Arizona

Kayaking Arizona adventures are a great possibility; even though desert state, because of the great number of rivers, creeks, and lakes to explore in a scenic setting.

Kayaking Arizona

Year-round kayaking is available in many of the freshwater lakes that have been created due to rivers that have been dammed.

Other rivers rely on rainfall and snow melt to get flowing, but there is usually some time during the course of the season that makes kayaking a possibility.

Dry wash is a standard term used to refer to rivers that are dry for a certain period of time during the year.

The only issue with kayaking Arizona waters is that it can take a while to reach some of the bodies of water.

Some of the most beautiful and scenic rivers to kayak include:

  • Alamo Lake
  • Blue Ridge Reservoir
  • Canyon Lake
  • Clear Creek
  • Colorado River
  • Lake Mead (Temple Bar)
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Parker Canyon Lake
  • Patagonia Lake
  • Saguaro Lake
  • Salt River
  • Theodore Roosevelt Lake
  • Verde River
  • Watson Lake
  • Willow Beach
  • Willow Lake

Kayaking Arizona

Here is an overview of the kayaking lakes and rivers in Arizona.

Valley Lakes

Kayak rentals are available at both Pleasant Harbor and Scorpion Bay in the region of the Lake Pleasant Regional Lake.

Group or guided tours can be enjoyed in this area and hosted by the Maricopa County Parks. Visit Saguaro Lake (situated off State Route 87) for Precision Marine and its wide-ranging options for kayak rentals.

Elsewhere there is Roosevelt Lake which is popular with motor boats and PWC, but there are still quiet areas of the lake great for a paddling session.

Mountain Lakes

Big Lake, at 575 acres, is situated 25-miles south of Springerville and one of the best fishing lakes for its amenities, productivity, and size.

It has an elevation of 9200-ft and part of the White Mountains. Kayaking options here are great with restrictions on motorized boats. Nearby to the lake are several campgrounds.

The Upper Lake Mary is based south of Flagstaff and popular with powerboats with water skiers and tubers, but still a popular destination for sailboats, canoes, and kayaks.

Recreational Areas

Kayakers can explore several quiet coves in the region of Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Even though both of these destinations are popular with powerboat owners, it is still a safe ground for kayakers. Rely on the information provided by the marina to determine the most practical sites to go paddling and avoid the large boats.

Because Lake Mead is infiltrated with invasive mussels it is recommended to wash down the paddling machine before launching in a different lake.

Colorado River

Kayakers using the Colorado River have the option to launch at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in the region of the Hoover Dam.

Parts of the river (dam to Willow Beach) are restricted to motorless vessels year-round on Sundays and Mondays.

Kayaking tours are also available on the river near Yuma with classes based on Class 1 waters.