Kayak Canyon Lake Reservoir

Added by Carole Davenport

Easy access to an incredible lush desert waterway, which is very picturesque, safe, and peaceful, with several sightings of wildlife. A photographer's dream (as you can see from the photos!)

Canyon Lake is located in a National Recreation Area. It was created by the damming of the Salt River, in Arizona, specifically by the Morman Flat Dam. The lake sits at an elevation of 1,660' and has a mean depth of 130', and an area of 1.484 mi². We launched our kayaks from the boat launch area at the far east end of the lake.

I suggest you take a lunch or at least some hearty snacks with you, since you won't want to hurry on this adventure. We did not and reluctantly had to leave the lake when our hunger pains overpowered our kayaking joys.

From the boat launch, head directly across the main body of water. Once on the other side, you'll find a narrow finger waterway to paddle up.

The canyon walls surround you on either side, filled with Saguaros, Cholla, Beehive, and more cactus plants. We went in February and the hills were lush with greens.

The water is cold, with beautiful reflections of the surrounding ridgelines. There are also some rock outcroppings along the way. Not really any place to dock and go ashore, though.

We spent four hours on the water, doing light action paddling. You can find camping information here.

Getting there: Go south from the greater Phoenix area toward the famous Superstition Mountain and the Lost Dutchman Mine, to State Road 88. Here you will find a narrow and winding paved road that takes you through some incredible scenery. Unfortunately there are power lines that mar the pristine desert landscape.

It is a fairly heavily traveled road - take your time and don't even think about stopping unless there's a turnout! Go to the Canyon Lake Marina and Campground, to pay and park.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Photography
Kayaking
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Handicap Accessible
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Best Lake Close to Phoenix

Of the lakes near the valley, Canyon Lake is by far my favorite. Every time I kayak through the canyon, I always see herds of wild Bighorn Sheep.

🥉Contributor

over 3 years ago

Kayaking!

I always enjoy kayaking. There were a ton of people on the water but all were polite. Great fun for all.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

about 4 years ago

Awesome

An awesome kayaking trip! To avoid crowds it's best in the winter. The rock walls are stunning and there are a couple of beaches to catch some rays!

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Canyon lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the state and is very close to PHX so everyone should go check it out!

A great spot to Kayak is down the cove by the bolder recreation site there are some fun cliffs to jump off back there too!

Stay Nearby

Apache Junction, Arizona

Mesa / Apache Junction Koa

Mesa, Arizona

Lavish Las Sendas Retreat With Outdoor Living

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Boasting a backyard oasis with a pool and a prime location in the private L...

From $179/night

Roosevelt, Arizona

Burnt Corral Campground

Overview Burnt Corral Campground and Recreation Area (elevation 1914') is about 5.8 miles south of Roosevelt Dam along the Apache Trail (AZ Hwy 88) along the shoreline of Apache Lake. It is nestl...

Mesa, Arizona

Las Sendas Desert Oasis W/ Private Pool & Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Your exquisite 6BR/3.5BA desert oasis is tucked in the prestigious and gate...

From $326/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Boulder Canyon Trail

    Parking for the trailhead is actually in the same lot as the marina.  There is a restaurant, campground, and restrooms all in the vicinity of the parking lot.  The actual trailhead is on the other side of the street opposite the parking lot entran...

    10 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Hike the Dutchman's Second Canyon Loop

    To get to the trail head, drive past Lost Dutchman State Park on the 88 and then take the dirt road (on your right) with arrows leading you to First Water Trail Head.  There is an outhouse at the trailhead, so I suggest visiting it before you begi...

    16 miles

  • Hike Black Mesa Loop

    From First Water Trailhead, a short walk east brings you to the junction of the Dutchman trail and the Second Water trail.  If you follow the Dutchman trail to the right you'll be heading southeast for a while, catching glimpses of Weaver's Needle...

    9 miles

  • Hike Battleship Mountain

    Battleship Mountain is nestled within the Superstition Mountains, surrounded by dramatic peaks and desert landscapes. The hike itself is beautiful, and the views once on top of Battleship Mountain are exceptional. The diversity and uniqueness of g...

    11.5 miles 443 ft gain