The Scenic Waterways and Canals of Scottsdale

Arizona Canal running through ArcadiaDo you love to boat, tube or jet-ski but are feeling like a fish out of water after moving to Scottsdale?  Well, this city is not just a beautiful oasis of desert landscapes and spectacular sunsets. Scottsdale is the number one city for recreation in the desert and also has many waterways for the landlocked to explore.

The canals that run through the city may seem like picturesque rivers running through the city, but they are actually functional waterways and play an important role. So what are all the canals in Scottsdale for, and how do they work?                                                                                                         

Simply, it’s agriculture and gravity. We have 1,265 miles of canals. They are controlled by the Salt River Project (SRP) that were put built to supply water to Arizona’s crops. The water runs downhill, using gravity to move the water to the desired location; this accomplishes the job very much like the system used by the Hohokam Indians about 1,300 years ago. The paths along these canals provide picturesque routes for bike riding, walking, and running. They are never for swimming.

Other Scottsdale waterways worth checking out:

Salt River
Head 30 miles North/East of Scottsdale to the scenic Salt River
for tubing, rafting, kayaking, fishing and canoeing.  Try the ever so popular paddle boarding on the still areas of the river as well. You will not be disappointed with the seasonal white water rapids, and the calm serene surroundings of wildlife and plant life.

Saguaro Lake
, approximately 41 miles from downtown Phoenix includes the Saguaro del Norte Recreation site and the Saguaro Lake Marina (with a restaurant and boat concession), an aid station, picnic tables, restrooms and boat ramps.  At the marina, you can rent a fishing or pontoon boat or take a relaxing Desert Belle Paddleboat tour.

The Verde Riverflows through 36 miles of lush habitat in the Verde Valley. It is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing rivers and it’s 3,300 foot elevation means mild temperatures for hiking along the Verde, canoeing, bird watching, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water.

Bartlett Lake, which is located in the Tonto National Forest just 20 minutes north of Scottsdale is a desert getaway with a full-service marina which offers pontoon and ski boat rentals, a general store, and dock-side grill (seasonal).  Popular pastimes at Bartlette Lake are fishing, jet skiing and water skiing.

Lake Pleasant
 A 35 minute drive from North Scottsdale will take you to one of the largest lakes in the valley, Lake Pleasant. This water recreation area is one of the most popular, and allows water seekers to take part in fishing, paddle boarding, house boating, sailing, water/jet skiing and para-sailing.

Canyon Lake
 With over 950 surface acres of sparkling water, Canyon Lake will make any water enthusiast happy.  Wind sail, water ski or jet ski, this beautiful lake is tucked into a secluded cove perfect for fishing. Year-round mild weather makes this a great spot of water sports, picnicking or camping.

As you can see, a move to the beautiful desert oasis of North Scottsdale will take you into the heart of a bounty of water recreational activities that any water sport enthusiast will enjoy.

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