Find Your Oasis

Arizona’s Rivers & Lakes

Blessed with 128 lakes and 5 major rivers, Arizona beckons outdoor enthusiasts to hike, raft, ski and fish year-round.

Rivers & Lakes
Fly Fishing at Lees Ferry in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Northern Arizona.

Lazy rivers and wild rapids

The state's most famous river—the mighty Colorado—is one of the longest rivers in the U.S., and is responsible not only for carving the 277-mile chasm through the Grand Canyon but also for sustaining more than 40 million people in seven states.

Along Arizona’s seven other major rivers, including the Salt, Gila and Verde rivers, rafting, tubing and kayaking provide a cool and scenic respite from the heat. Fishing is another popular pastime, and you’ll find no shortage of opportunities to reel in a variety of trout, catfish, tilapia, crappie and largemouth bass.

Bucket List Experience

Rafting the Grand Canyon

A bucket list trip for rafting enthusiasts—or those wanting to see the Grand Canyon from a new perspective—is a motorized or oar-powered rafting trip through the canyon on the Colorado. Smooth water or white-water trips range in length from a half-day to 13 days. For those seeking “big water,” July and August are your best bet. Rafting trips are arranged through commercial river-running companies and require advanced reservations—some up to a year in advance.

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Rivers & Lakes
Rafting the Grand Canyon (Credit: Tim Whitney)

Prefer something a little larger? Arizona's lakes and reservoirs come in all shapes and sizes.

Lakes, Skiing and The London Bridge

From the chain lakes of Greater Phoenix such as Lake Pleasant, Canyon Lake and Lake Roosevelt, to those in southern and central Arizona like Patagonia Lake and the otherworldly granite dells of Watson Lake, fans of water sports will find plenty of opportunities to boat, water ski, windsurf, paddle board, dive, Jet ski and fish while enjoying the scenery.

To the west and north of Arizona, Lake Powell and Lake Havasu—home to the London Bridge (yes, that London Bridge)—represent some of the largest manmade reservoirs in the U.S. In addition to the usual activities, visitors to Lake Havasu and the Parker Strip can opt to set up camp or rent a houseboat during their stay to ensure they’re never far from their next water adventure.

A Desert Oasis

Lake Powell

Lake Powell, which straddles the border between Arizona and Utah, has made many a bucket list owing to its views of deep waters surrounded by red-rock bluffs and canyons. Plan a week-long trip on a houseboat with kayaks and Jet skis and spend the days exploring slot canyons and the nights beached on sandy shores. If only a short stay is possible, rent a watercraft of your choice for the day or book a boat tour and enjoy the red-rock splendor.

Rivers & Lakes
Exploring Lake Powell's Red Rock Cliffs

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Road Trips & Tours

48 Hours in Pinetop-Lakeside

Pinetop-Lakeside enjoys a well-earned reputation as a summer escape, but when cooler weather arrives, this mountain town shows a whole different...

Outdoor Adventures

Shore Thing: Arizona's Best Beaches

Known for its iconic deserts, Arizona surprises with sandy beaches perfect for lounging or launching a water adventure.

Family Activities

Quick Trip Ideas Along Arizona’s West Coast

Let the Colorado River guide your vacation to the waterfronts of Yuma, Lake Havasu City, and the Grand Canyon, where sunshine and cool breezes...

Canyon Lake

Outdoor adventurers enjoy this surprising oasis 45 minutes east of Phoenix.

Davis Camp

Enjoy fishing, boating and swimming on the Colorado River near Bullhead City.

Hawley Lake

Wind along the Mogollon Rim on Highway 260 to reach this cool respite tucked away on White Mountain Apache tribal lands.

Luna Lake

Luna Lake offers wildlife viewing, hunting, and fishing in the White Mountains of Arizona where you can bring your family or friends for an...

Mormon Lake

Visit a woodland retreat near Flagstaff that offers year-round backcountry adventures.

Peña Blanca Lake

Reach these sparkling waters in Southern Arizona just west of Nogales.

Sonoita Creek State Natural Area

Hiking trails and wine trails intermingle at this outdoor paradise in Southern Arizona.

Watson Lake and the Granite Dells

Explore a jumble of boulders surrounding a cool lake just four miles northeast of Prescott.

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Boating & Water

Salt River Boat Charting

Book your next boat chart with Salt River Boat Charting to Saguaro, Canyon or Roosevelt lake with your captain, Matthew Bolt, who has more...

Boating & Water

Salt River Rafting

Salt River Rafting provides whitewater trips through the scenic Salt River Canyon. Trips range from a half day to four-day adventures...

Boating & Water

WazSUP Kayaks

WazSUP Kayaks rental in Page is all about human-powered fun at Lake Powell. Best of all it's affordable. For less than it cost to go to...


Cities & Regions

From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.