Kayak Saguaro Lake

Fort McDowell, Arizona

based on 2 reviews


Added by Laura Hill

Kayaking on Saguaro Lake is the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Arizona!

If you want to enjoy some paddle time on the beautiful Saguaro Lake, launching from Butcher Jones Recreation Area is your best bet. 

If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent from the nearby Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch and they’ll bring the kayaks to the launch point for you (as well as provide your PFD and paddle).  Note that if you bring your own kayak, you need to bring a PFD (it's Arizona law), and buy a Tonto Pass to park.  If you rent through Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch, they’ll provide you with a parking pass.

As you paddle out from Butcher Jones, I typically try and cross the lake immediately (look to the left as you reach open water, there are a pair of bald eagles that nest there).  There are a couple cool little coves on the opposite side of the lake - one has a secluded beach (depending on water level), which is a great snack spot.  But BE CAREFUL and watch for speed boats.  The boat wake can be a bit challenging to maneuver if you’re a kayaking novice, so I recommend paddling fast :)

Great way to enjoy some time on the lake!

What to bring:

  • Phone for photos (but don’t drop it!)
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat

GPS: 33.5767655, -111.5148951

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Stand Up Paddle
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Kayak Saguaro Lake Reviews

There are boat ramps and a marina to get your adventure here started. The flat water paddles with the red rock canyons is awesome any time of year.

Saguaro is a great place for a paddle, just watch out for boats! If you paddle out from Butcher Jones and go to your left, there are some nice coves to explore and even a small cave. Depending on water levels, you can kayak into the cave. Also keep an eye out for longhorn sheep, they can often be spotted around the lake.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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