Arivaca Lake

Area Status: Open

It's a long drive to Arivaca Lake along the old Ruby Road, but it’s also one of the most scenic drives in the Nogales District. Once you get to this out-of-the-way recreation spot, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the only facilities provided are a toilet and a primitive boat ramp. For some people that’s not enough, and they usually turn around and leave. Those drawn to areas that are more primitive and less crowded, however, will choose to stay. Those who do stay will find that this 90-acre impoundment built by the Arizona Game and Fish Department is a good place to go fishing or birdwatching, to take a lakeside stroll or just plain sit back and relax. If you’ve brought along your fishing gear, you can try your luck for largemouth bass, catfish or blue gill. Boats powered by single electric trolling motors are permitted on the lake. They make a pleasant way to explore the narrow inlets that branch off the main body of water. Arivaca Lake is located in an area of rolling grasslands set against a backdrop of rocky bluffs and distant mountains. This area is home to a number of cattle ranches, and much of the land in the vicinity of the lake is private property. Take that into consideration if you go strolling across the landscape. No garbage services are provided to this area, so even if you bag your trash neatly before you drive off and leave it, you’re littering. Pack out everything that you pack in.

At a Glance

Fees: $8 day use fee or a valid Coronado Forest Pass $10 per week or &40 per year. 
The Interagency Federal Passes are also valid: Senior Pass, Annual Pass, Access Pass or Military Pass.
Every Kid Outdoors 4th Grade Pass is also valid. 
Fees are due on arrival. Cash, Check or Money Order to USDA Forest Service.
Open Season: Year-round
Restrictions: A valid fishing license is required of any person, except residents or non-residents under the age of fourteen years and blind residents, for taking aquatic wildlife from public waters. There is a limited parking area.
Closest Towns: Southeast of the community of Arivaca, off Ruby Road.
Water: No drinking water is available
Restroom: Yes
Operated By: Arizona Game and Fish Department
Information Center: Region V-Tucson 555 N. Greasewood Rd. Tucson, AZ 85745

General Information

Directions: Take the Amado Road exit on Interstate 19, head west to Arivaca. Turn south out of Arivaca on FR 216 about a mile then east on FR 39 about 5 miles to a road that turns left (east) to the lake. Via the Ruby Road: take Interstate 19 north from Nogales 8 miles to the AZ 289/Ruby Road exit, head west 10 miles on this paved road past Peña Blanca Lake and continue on FR 39 (unpaved) for 26 miles to the primitive road (FR 4130) that turns right (east) to the lake.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Dispersed Camping

Lake and Pond Fishing

Fish Species Bass, Catfish, Sunfish

Boating - Motorized

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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3,750 feet