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Saguaro Lake Recreation Near Phoenix, Arizona


Boating Saguaro Lake

Boating Saguaro Lake

©Elizabeth R. Rose

Saguaro Lake Basics:

Saguaro Lake is a very scenic recreation area only 41 miles from Phoenix and 15 miles from Fountain Hills, Arizona. Boating, fishing, picnicing and hiking are avaialble at Saguaro Lake. Map

Website Location: 15 miles E of Fountain Hills off SR 87 at Bush Highway
Phone: 928-467-2236

About Saguaro Lake:

Saguaro Lake was formed as the Stewart Mountain Dam was built on the Salt River as part of the Salt River Project. The lake is part of the Tonto National Forest. The lake is surrounded by beautiful jagged rocks and forests of Saguaro. The average depth of the lake is 90 feet.


You can rent a motorboat. fishing boat or pontoon boat, or take a relaxing Desert Belle Paddleboat tour. There are marinas where you can rent slips for your own boat. Saguaro Lake Marina Website

Desert Belle Paddleboat Tour:

Enjoy a 90-minute narrated cruise where you'll see towering canyon walls, dramatic desert vistas, and exotic Arizona wildlife. Desert Belle has been plowing the waters of Saguaro Lake for over forty years. Private charters are available. Website

Saguaro Lake Ranch:

On the other side of the dam as the Salt River continues, is a beautiful ranch which once served as a residence and chow hall for workers building the dam. You can stay at a cabin, sit around the 4 sided fireplace, swim in the pool, go horse-back riding or enjoy the birds and wildlife along the river. Saguaro Lake Ranch Website


Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Channel Catfish and Walleye. Website


Lake fees are $6.00 per vehicle, $4.00 per watercraft, per day. Golden Age/Golden Access passes get half off. Fees can be paid at gas stations and stores in town before you get to Saguaro Lake.


Camping on Saguaro Lake is accessible only by boat. Bagley Flat Campground (30 spaces) is about four miles from the dam. It is open all year (no fees). To get there, travel up a narrow cliff-bordered portion of the lake. The campground is in a scenic and peaceful area and has sanitation facilities.

Visiting Saguaro Lake:

Saguaro Lake, being close to Phoenix, is a very popular recreation area. It is also very scenic. Go early or stay late if you want to photograph the towering cliffs and stands of saguaro cacti.

Check out the historic Saguaro Lake Ranch and consider a kayak tour of the river. There is much to do at this beautiful lake and further along the Salt River.

Remember to pay your fees and get your pass before you get to the lake. It may not be an intuitive way of doing things but it's the way they are currently done.

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