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Saguaro Lake Recreation Area

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General Information

Description - Saguaro Lake, 41 miles from downtown Phoenix, is the Salt River lake closest to Phoenix. Saguaro del Norte Recreation site is near the dam and includes the Saguaro Lake Marina (which includes a restaurant and boat concession), a Maricopa County Sheriff's aid station, picnic tables, restrooms and boat ramps. Butcher Jones Beach, which can be reached by a road a few miles north of Saguaro del Norte, features swimming, picnic and restroom facilities. Bagley Flat Campground (30 spaces) is about four miles from the dam but is
accessible only by boat. The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks all of the SRP lakes with fish. There generally are good supplies of walleye, largemouth and yellow bass, rainbow and brown trout, bluegills, channel catfish, and crappie in Saguaro.

Recreation - Recreational activities include swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking and camping.

Climate - Temperatures range from lows near 25 degrees F. in the months of December and January to highs that may exceed 115 degrees F. from July through September. Precipitation generally ranges from 2 to 8 inches per year.

Location - Saguaro Lake, 41 miles from downtown Phoenix, is the Salt River lake closest to Phoenix. There are two ways to reach the lake. One is to take the Bush Highway north from U.S. Highway 60 to the Saguaro del Norte Recreation Site turnoff. he other way is to take the Beeline Highway (State Route 87) from either the McDowell Road turnoff in Mesa or from Shea Boulevard near Fountain Hills. About eight miles after crossing the Verde River, turn right at signs indicating the Saguaro Lake Recreation Area.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I spent the day at the beach at the head of the large wash toward the Apache Lake Dam. I took an oar and hit the bushes up and down the wash as people were using the brush for a toilet. I was afraid someone may be bitten by a rattler. I found no rattlers but I did see a very large Gila Monster. I marked the spot after he/she ran into the brush. About that time I heard a woman scream "Gila Monster." I was the only one that heard her. I found her and we decided that the one she saw and the one I saw may have not been the same one. It was a very special treat. I just wish I had remembered to bring my digital cam. I am not going to make any negative remarks but it is my opinion that this is a potential developed camp area. The people that I observed were very well behaved and haveing a good time. Please pass this info on to the decision makers; at the very least there should be an outhouse. I know the cost my be prohibitive for the forest budget but anything can get done with the right people. Donations of material. Donations of labor. This spot is truly one of natures treasures. I did warn everone at this site about the dangers on Rattle Snakes and that they don't always rattle their rattlers. Bare minimum, warning sign about the danger in the brush. God forbid someone gets bit because of the lack of toilet facilities. I grew up playing around the salt river area in high school in the early 70's. Alot has changed. Sherrif Joe is doing an exellent job with the Lake Patrol. Go have fun there and be safe. Jeff

Filed By: Jane
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I hiked the Butcher Jones trail. It was incredibly lovely. The water shimmered. The ducks cackled in joy. Fish were jumping, the chollas were not. The air was clear despite a phoenix pollution alert. In fact, it is the most beautiful desert hike I have taken in many years. There was a nice variety of fauna.

Filed By: Grynder
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Labor Day weekend, Went Sunday. Not nearly as many people as I thought there would be. I love this lake, close to home, plenty of room and good people. 9 outta 10

Filed By: Stephen (Chandler, AZ)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Mid-week is much less crowded than weekends. Had no waiting to get in or out. High was over 100 F, but with a cooler full of soda and water, we had a great time.

Filed By: john (phx, az)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: this is a nice lake where ive cought alot of 10 to20 pounders if your smart and can find a cove away from people winter is best time but its a good lake but cold rember jaket or u will be living but i say go for it

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: My family went canoing on the lake over Thanksgiving weekend and we saw four bald eagles and very few other boats and people. The sky was sparkly blue and the water was murky green. It was a great time!

More Information

Contact Information:
Tonto National Forest, 2324 E Mcdowell Road , Phoenix, AZ, 85006, Phone: 602-225-5200

Additional Information:
Arizona Lakes and Reservoirs - The reservoirs and lakes in Arizona provide excellent water based recreational opportunities in this otherwise arid state. The water, combined with a typically warm climate makes the lakes and reservoirs very popular.
Phoenix Area - Known as the "Valley of the Sun," and covering over 400 square miles, the Phoenix metropolitan area lies southwest of the Mazatzal Mountains, near where the Verde and Salt Rivers meet.
Southern Arizona - Southern Arizona is a region of desert lowlands, high desert and rugged, forest-topped mountains. The city of Tucson lies at the heart of this region


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