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.

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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Grand Canyon rafters on the Colorado River camping for the night. (Credit: Geoff Gourley)
Rafting the Grand Canyon

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.

Dog at Lake Powell
Exploring Lake Powell's Red Rock Cliffs

Plan your Next Adventure

Get on the Water

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