Saguaro Lake

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Saguaro Lake


Saguaro Lake is set in the Sonoran Desert and is rimmed with canyon walls. As the name implies, the shores of the lake are studded with majestic Saguaro cactus. Try the upper reaches of the lake (east-end) for more seclusion. Boat access camping at the east end of the lake. Tour-boat trips are available on the Desert Belle: (480) 984-2425. Over 2200 fish-habitat structures were installed to enhance fishing on the lake. According to Bass Master Magazine, the best time for trophy bass is October to December and February to mid April. There are large bass in the lake; fish census show that 12+ lb. bass and 30-lb. Carp exist in the depths. Bluegill comes in a variety of sizes. Occasional species caught: Walleye, Black Crappie, Small-mouth Bass, Bigmouth Buffalo and Yellow Bass.

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At a Glance

Current Conditions: Limited Access only at Saguaro Del Norte and Saguaro Lake Marina. Only accessible via Bush Highway. Once Boat Parking is at capacity, vehicles towing boats will be turned away at the entrance.
Fees $8.00 Tonto Daily Pass / or $80 Tonto Annual Pass for parking per vehicle (no trailer)
plus $4.00 watercraft sticker per watercraft 
Permit Info: Group events (including fishing tournaments) require a permit. Contact the Mesa Ranger District Office - 480-610-3300.
Open Season: January
Restrictions: On most weekends and holidays April - October, Saguaro Lake reaches its maximum boating capacity early in the day and additional boats are not allowed in. Be prepared for delays in boat access during summer weekends. The bay in front of Butcher Jones and Saguaro del Norte is closed to motorized watercraft. The eastern end of the lake is closed to any wake from watercraft (please observe buoys). Motors generating a noise level of greater than 82 decibels are prohibited. Direction of travel on the lake is counter clockwise. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Forest Service enforce lake regulations. No trash service. If you PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!! Glass containers are not permitted. CAUTION: Lake-levels fluctuate daily, based on irrigation demand and power generation. Rocks and other obstacles often are near the water surface. Be aware that motor boating involves a degree of risk, and persons engaging in this activity assume the associated risks.
Closest Towns: Apache Junction, Mesa, Fountain Hills
Water: Available at Saguaro Lake Marina & various recreation sites around lake
Restroom: Available at Saguaro Lake Marina & various recreation sites around lake
Passes: America the Beautiful Passes are only accepted at the Picnicking Sites. For boating, a Tonto Daily Pass and Watercraft Sticker or Tonto Discovery Pass are required. Campground fees at various sites around Saguaro Lake might be separate from the Tonto Daily and Discovery pass. Please call Mesa Ranger District for specific details or visit individual websites.
Information Center: Mesa Ranger District (480)-610-3300

General Information


From Mesa, travel 27 miles north on State Hwy. 87 to Bush Highway/Forest Road (FR) 204 and turn right. Follow FR 204 for 4 miles to the Lake.



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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
LAKE SIZE (FULL) 1,100 acres, 22 miles of shoreline, 116 feet maximum depth and 10 miles long

  Elevation : 
1,529 feet