Sunday, May 28, 2017

#3 Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Summary:  The park is one of eleven regional parks in the Maricopa County Park system.  But unlike the other ten desert parks, this park is unique because it has within its 23,662-acre boundary the second largest lake found Arizona – Lake Pleasant.  For resident in the North Phoenix area this nearby regional park has become a Sonoran Desert water recreational paradise.

Why You Should Go:  Thousands of Phoenix residents flock to the lake to enjoy the many water sporting adventures that a large body of water provides.  It has long been a fisherman’s paradise and now boaters, kayakers, water-boarders, jet-skiers and swimmers relish in the clear water and many secluded coves.  For those who just like being near the water, the many picnic table, camping sites and restaurants offer a relaxing day near the water while enjoying Arizona’s sunshine and spectacular, star filled nighttime sky.

When To Go:  Because of the cooling waters of the lake, this desert regional park is a great destination any month of the year.  The surrounding desert areas away from the lake must be respected for their potential of danger from critters and summer heat typical of any Sonoran Desert region.  Dogs are welcomed in the park but must always remain on a leash and all waste must be cleaned up and properly disposed.  

Be Safe: Arizona boating laws and regulations apply to the waters of Lake Pleasant - .  

 The lake is surround by the Sonoran Desert so all desert safety precautions are recommended and stressed, i.e., good shoes, wide-brimmed hat, sun-screen and adequate water.  Think safety - stay alive! 

History: The vision to build a lake in the mid-1920s in the middle of the Sonoran Desert goes to three men with familiar names – William H. Beardsley, Carl Pleasant and Donald Waddell.  They dreamed of and then watched the construction as the largest, multiple arched concrete dam in the world was built across the Agua Fria River and became a part of their own, private irrigation project.
When completed in 1927 the 76 feet high, 2,160 feet long Waddell Dam backed up water to create a new 3,000 acre Lake Pleasant.  This 1920’s lake provided a constant supply of water for irrigation and soon became a fisherman’s paradise.
In 1992 a new Waddell Dam was completed allowing Lake Pleasant to more than triple in size.  Only Roosevelt Lake located on the Salt River remains larger in size then Lake Pleasant.
Water from both the Agua Fria and the Colorado Rivers is now collected behind the new Waddell Dam and stored as a key part of the Central Arizona Project.  Over 50 miles of shoreline have been created with 10,000 acres of clear water.  The old, 1927 Waddell Dam was breached and remains today north of the new dam and beneath 100 feet of water. 

Cost: $6.00/vehicle; $400/motorized water craft

Day-Use Entry (non-camping): 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily / Camping: available 24 hours, 365 days a year (camping pass and/or reservation required)

Trail Map:


Phone:  (928) 501-1710

Location: 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Morristown, AZ

Lake Pleasant Trails…
    1.     Wild Burro Trail - 2 miles
    2.    Frog Tank - 0.3 miles
    3.    Cottonwood Trail - 1.2 miles
    4.    Pipeline Canyon Trail - 2 miles
    5.    Roadrunner Trail - 0.8 miles
    6.    Yavapai Point Trail - 1.5 miles
    7.    Beardsley Trail - 4.4 miles

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