This medium-sized body of water fills 49 acres of Peña Blanca Canyon in the Pajarito Mountain foothills. It is surrounded by grassy, oak-dotted hills, some of which are topped with bluffs of limestone.
Peña Blanca Lake is a popular recreation spot for visitors from neighboring Nogales, Arizona and nearby communities in Mexico as well. On weekends, and even weekdays, during the peak summer season, this area can be quite crowded. On holidays, especially Easter, it becomes extremely crowded.
Peña Blanca Lake was built in 1957 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It provides water-related recreation year round, although its location so close to the Mexican border can be a bit deceptive. Frequently, people who come here during the winter expecting warm, balmy weather are surprised at how cool it can be. This is a mountain lake located at 4,000 feet above sea level and its climate reflects that fact.
The lake was drained and improved in 2009, but it has since refilled. However, the boat ramp has not yet been replaced.
At a Glance
A valid Arizona fishing license and trout stamp (available at outdoor stores around the state) is required for all anglers 14 years of age and older. Six trout is the daily bag limit and the possession limit. Using live bait fish is prohibited. Boats are limited to one 8 hp motor or less.
68 miles south of Tucson and 17 miles northwest of Nogales in Peña Blanca Canyon.
Nogales Ranger District
Directions: Turn west off Interstate 19 approximately 8 miles north of Nogales at the Peña Blanca–Ruby Road (AZ Hwy 289) exit. Follow this road about 9 miles to Peña Blanca Lake Recreation Area. Turn right (north) on the paved road that leads to the lake and the boat launching ramp.