Getting to Lake Pleasant:
Located just north of Phoenix, the lake has several park entrances. To get to the main area, take I-17 north to Carefree Highway (SR 74). Exit Carefree Hwy. and travel west 15 miles to Castle Hot Spring Road. Travel north to Lake Pleasant Regional Park entrance. Map
GPS Coordinates: 33.9009°N 112.2693°W
About Lake Pleasant:
Lake Pleasant is created by the Waddell Dam which obstructs the Agua Fria River creating a huge watershed and recreational area.
The Central Arizona Project Aqueduct diverts water from the Colorado River to the lake.
The park covers a total of over 23,000 acres of desert. The park has a visitors' center that provides information regarding the history of the lake, the construction of the Waddell Dam and the surrounding areas. Frequent special events are hosted by the park.
Entrance Fees and Hours:
$6.00 per car. $1.00 to walk into the park or bike in. Annual passes are available. (waived for those renting camp sites)
Hours: Open every day, the general Park Hours are Sun-Thu: 6am-8pm, Fri-Sat: 6am-10pm.
Camping fees run from $10 to $30 per night depending on the facilities. You can tent camp along the shore or find a developed RV site. All campsites are available on a first come, first served\ basis.
I haven't camped there but was impressed by the views offered by many of the campsites. You can camp overlooking the lake and the lights in the distance or set up a primitive camp along the lake and listen to the water lapping on the shore.
More on Camping.
Wikipedia lists the following fish species: Largemouth Bass, White Bass, Striped Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Catfish (Channel), Tilapia, Carp, Buffalo fish. An Arizona fishing license is required.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers two boat launching ramps: 4-lane and 10-lane.
Both ramps have restroom facilities, paved parking lots, and are functional to a water elevation of 1,600 feet. The 10-lane parking area allows for 480 vehicles, 355 vehicles with trailers, and 124 cars. The 4-lane ramp is located at the north end of the lake and the parking area allows for 112 vehicles with boat trailers.
You'll see both motor craft and sailboats at Lake Pleasant.
The Lake Pleasant Harbor Marina is a full-service marina with docking facilities and rentals. Scorpion Bay Marina also rents slips and has boat rentals available.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers over four miles of trails for pedestrian use only. Park trails range in length from .5 mile to 2 miles and moderate in difficulty.
The Pipeline Canyon Trail is the main hiking trail at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. A floating bridge has been installed to connect the two sections of the trail during high water levels.
Swimming and Diving:
Lake Pleasant is one of the major places to scuba dive in Arizona. There are clubs that dive there and boat excursions.
Swimming is at your own risk. No lifeguarded beaches are located at Lake Pleasant.
Enjoying Lake Pleasant:
Lake Pleasant and the surrounding desert provides a great retreat for Phoenix residents and visitors.
Not only can you go boating on the lake, you can water-ski and enjoy kiteboarding.
For those wanting some desert recreation with great views of the lake consider horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and off-roading. And, for a laid back time at Lake Pleasant just head for a picnic area and take a picnic lunch or dinner. The park is open until 10 pm on weekends, so you can even do a little stargazing.