Best Places to Kayak in Arizona

Arizona is not a place that is drenched with too much water. In fact, it is considered as one of the desert states in the United States.

But would you believe it if Arizona houses the best places for kayaking? Although it is a surprising fact, this one is something that you take heed. If you are just roaming in the vast area of Arizona, you might want to visit these kayak water grounds with your family.

Best Places to Kayak In Arizona

1. Blue Ridge Reservoir

I simply love the expanse of the Blue Ridge Reservoir. It is the very area where I took my partner to a smooth kayaking adventure in the summer of 2016. We did have fun. And I hope that you will too.

Specifically, the Blue Ridge Reservoir is located nearby the famous Mogollon Rim. For kayakers, this place is pure heaven. While kayaking here, you will see a variety of scenery that will mesmerize your eyes.

Take note. This lake has a maximum depth of 6,700 feet. It is quite scary for first timers so you might want to wear full safety gears before going here. But besides that, you will undoubtedly enjoy the stacks of canyons and forests that surround the reservoir. In fact, there’s a part of the reservoir where it is ideal for practicing how to paddle. In that area, motorboats are prohibited, and traffic is quite limited.

To fully maximize your practice, it is recommended that you bring the best kayak for beginners. If you want to know all your option for this particular kayak, you should check out this list.

2. Lone Rock Canyon

Well, I cannot say anything bad about the Lone Rock Canyon. Nature magnificently conceived this place. Even if you don’t kayak here, you will be certainly in love with its landscapes and pristine waters. I consider it one of the most beautiful tourist spots that you can find in Arizona.

It is not an exaggeration if a lot of people say that the Lone Rock Canyon can offer an unforgettable experience for every kayaker. The place provides a peaceful ground for paddlers to kayak to their heart’s content. The views are impressive and jaw-dropping as well. Only a few lakes in the United States can match the beauty of the Lone Rock Canyon.

If you are not going to kayak here, then other thrilling activities can still be achieved. The canyon that surrounds the lake is open for climbers and canyon divers. Overall, you will never regret going to this place.

3. Big Lake

If you are roaming in the otherworldly White Mountains of Arizona, you should try to make a detour in the Big Lake. The latter is considered one of the rare and hard-to-find destinations in the Apache County. With an overall area of 450 acres, this lake is being utilized as a major fishing hub. I have caught a lot of trout here. Well, if you are hunting for trout, this place in Arizona is the place to go.

But of course, this lake is also an ideal ground for kayaking. It is suitable for beginners, but it can also be maximized by the professionals and anglers. You will enjoy the tranquil ambiance that Big Lake can offer. You will never be bothered by anything. But indeed, you will be amazed by the sights that are sprawling around the lake. From the mountain scenery down to the forest background, all of them can surprise you.

Take into account that the lake has a strict prohibition to gas engines and motors. This policy has been able to preserve the peace and calmness of this kayaking ground. The open space is perfect for wandering and reflecting.

I also need to highlight that Big Lake is 9,000 feet above sea level. If you are in Pinetop, the travel distance of the lake is just an hour. Do you want to escape the urban sprawl? Then you should try kayaking on this rendezvous.

4. Lower Salt River

Of course, Arizona does not only offer lakes. There are rivers there where you can bring your trusted kayak. Arguably, the finest of them is the Lower Salt River. The latter is undeniably a premier tourist destination in the area. If you are a local of Arizona, there’s a good chance that you have visited this river more than once.

The river is located amidst a vast array of cliffs and forests. Because of this kind of setup, many people find it hard to believe that this place is situated in Arizona. But once you have explored the area, you will experience a rich diversity of desert wildlife. It is not difficult to see exotic and endemic creatures here. A wild horse is just a typical sight here.

However, the main menu of the Lower Salt River is definitely kayaking. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, will give you a splendid experience. You can even harness your skills here because of its natural serenity. As a part of the protected area of the Tonto National Forest, the Lower Salt features slow and stable water flow. When you kayak here, the sun won’t be able to scorch you that much. After all, the coolness of the surroundings can make up to the heat.


Kayaking in Arizona is leisure that you should experience. There are different areas and water terrains there that can satisfy your need to paddle your boat. Most of these places are beginner-friendly. They are not technical terrains that can challenge your skills. In fact, you can always hone your paddling skills in those areas.

But before anything else, you should be reminded that the state of Arizona has rules and regulations when it comes to kayaking. Most of the time, these policies directly sanctions lakes and rivers that are located in protected areas and national parks. Once violated, you will face legal repercussions.

To avoid this predicament, you have to adhere to the applicable state laws for kayaking in Arizona. It is the only way you can have a pleasurable boating experience in the area.

That’s it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

Author bio:

Nolan Verma, an owner of, is an active kayaker and outdoor wanderer. He has been to many places in the world in the pursuit of adventure and thrill. He is also good in scrutinizing equipment that are related to these fields. Especially, Verma has a passion for kayaking and fishing, so he spent more time on writing for kayaking websites.