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Saguaro Lake
Saguaro Lake

Saguaro Lake

Free admission
Tonto National Forest, Arizona

The Basics

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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