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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A large raft sits on a sandy bank of a calm Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. (Credit: Tim Whitney)
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.

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

Plan your Next Adventure

Get on the Water

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.

Road Trips & Tours

Let the Colorado River Guide Your West Coast Vacation

Soak up the sunshine while staying cool along the waterfronts of Yuma, Lake Havasu City, and Lake Mead.

Canyon Lake

For a cool respite from the big city, relax at this Salt River reservoir 45 minutes east of Phoenix.

Davis Camp

Interested in fishing, boating, and swimming on the Colorado River? Davis Camp, outside of Bullhead City, is just what you’ve been looking for.

Hawley Lake

Hawley Lake is an adventurer’s dream with water sports like kayaking and sailing in the spring and summer.

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

Take a weekend adventure out to Mormon Lake where fishing, boating, windsurfing, and more await in this woodland haven near Flagstaff.

Peña Blanca Lake

Peña Blanca Lake offers year-round outdoor and water recreation. Surrounded by grassy hills, Peña Blanca Lake, near Nogales, AZ is the perfect...

Sonoita Creek State Park Natural Area

Surrounding Patagonia Lake State Park, hike or horseback ride remote trails, camp in the backcountry, see endangered species in this protected...

Watson Lake and the Granite Dells

This beautiful lake, just four miles away from downtown Prescott, features fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, camping...

Boating & Water Sports

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 Sports

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 Sports

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...