Arizona’s 10 Best Kayaking Destination That You Shouldn’t Miss!!

kayaking in arizona

Last updated on September 9, 2022

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Braving rapid waters is an exhilarating experience. It gets your blood rushing and your heart pumping hard. This is an experience that kayaking will surely give you. So have you thought of a good destination yet? Kayaking in Arizona is great. It offers bodies of water with slow to very rapid currents which beginner and professional kayakers will love. Aside from this, kayaking locations in Arizona also connect people with nature because of their scenic views that feature various flora and fauna.

Spend time with me because I will be showing you some of the most popular kayaking locations in the Copper State. I’ll talk about what makes each location special, and other info that you will surely love to know. Also you can visit kayaking near me map.

Without further ado, let’s go!

Canyon Lake:

Canyon Lake has river channels with friendly currents which make it suitable for beginners. The mild current of water remains consistently calm throughout the day which makes it really safe. The afternoon is the best time to kayak here since you will enjoy the backdrop of shadows and the radiant sunlight touching the canyon walls.

There three recreation sites where you can start off your kayaking adventure; Acacia Picnic Site, Palo Verde Recreation Site, and Boulder Creek Recreation Site. No need to worry if you didn’t manage to bring your own kayaking equipment since rental is available. However, one downside is that you can never be sure if the items that you’ll be paying for are in pristine condition. You might be interested in the post of kayak under 200.

Getting here is easy. Just take a relaxing trip through the Superstition Mountains located at the eastside Phoenix on route 88. The total distance is about 45 miles so get your playlist ready so that you won’t get bored.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • calm waters
  • offers a scenic view during the afternoon

Blue Ridge Reservoir:

If you’re looking for a kayaking location nested inside forested canyon walls that takes you away from the stress that civilization gives, then you should try a blue ridge reservoir. This narrow winding body of water is perfect for honing your kayaking skills before going through more difficult locations. During the summer, the trees on the river’s edges teem with life inviting birds to rest on these branches. Never forget to bring waterproof binoculars if you find yourself here.

Aside from kayaking, this place also offers camping opportunities. At present, it has 44 unit campsites complete with basic camping amenities such as tables, cooking grills, and fire rings.

To reach this place, take a 55-mile drive from south flagstaff to Clint Well on Forest highway 3 of Lake Mary Road. After that, take a left and drive for 4 miles from Arizona State Route 87 to road FR 751 then head southeast and drive for another 6 miles to finally reach Blue Ridge Reservoir.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • aside from kayaking, you try camping here
  • forested canyon walls that allow for a kayaking experience that chases stress away
  • features various types of birds species

Lake Powell:

The crystal blue waters of Lake Powell that mirror the skies up above. Kayaking is a worthwhile experience mainly because the water and canyon walls complement each other. That said, the blueness of the waters makes the orange color of the canyon rocks stand out. Aside from kayaking, going towards highly elevated spots in the area will allow you to get a more thorough appreciation of this view.

Lake Powell is also a great place to rest since resorts are found nearby. Getting here from Phoenix will take about 4 hours. From Las Vegas, the traveling time is almost doubled which is about 7 hours and 30 minutes.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • has nearby resorts
  • orange colored canyon walls and blue waters provide a wonderful view that makes for a great photo background

Lower Salt River:

Lower Salt River is popular among kayakers because of its scenic backdrops that teem with wildlife such as birds, rabbits, and etc. However to experience this, you need to arrive early because this place is popular among locals and tourists alike. In the day, it’s common to see flocks of people dancing with some trendy music or singing to their favorite songs.

Beginners especially kayaking with kids will surely love this place since most of the spots are shallow enough and they can easily ride again whenever their kayaks topple. If you’re up to the challenge, head to Snaggletooth rapids and Rockyroad since these parts of Lower Salt River have currents that will make you sweat.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • teems with wildlife
  • has shallow sports which makes kayaking safe for beginners

Lone Rock Canyon:

The milky looking canyon walls of Lone rock canyon set’s it apart from others on this list. This place is just perfect if you’re planning to kayak with your family. There’s a guided kayak tour complete with all the safety precautions and equipment which will make kayaking fun even for those without experience.

The guided tour will take you through destinations such as the slot canyon, side canyons, cliff areas, scenic spots, and Lone rock. If you’re lucky, you might even see a few bighorn sheeps wandering about.

In summary, this location is great because:

Big Lake:

Remote kayaking locations are simply worth the time traveled because the environment that they have doesn’t have any traces of civilization. In Arizona, one such place that you need to try is Big Lake. This is located on the northeastern portion of the Copperstate which makes it the farthest kayaking location in this list.

Still, you should try going here because Big lake takes kayaking in Arizona to a whole new level. Its remoteness gives you that feeling of solitude while kayaking and the crystal clear waters do not disappoint.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • has an environment that is untouched by civilization and is great for kayakers looking forward to connecting with nature

Colorado River:

Certainly, the calm waters of previous kayaking locations will bore you if you’re a hardcore kayaker. In Arizona, there’s one place that will test how good your kayaking skills are and this is the Colorado River. Your adrenaline will surely course through your body as you kayak on the different areas of the Colorado River that have their own distinct rapids. I highly recommend this place if you’ve been kayaking for quite some time.

In summary, this location is great because:

Tempe Town Lake:

You should never miss Tempe Town when searching for good spots for kayaking in Arizona. Tempe Town lake sits at the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area which makes it a great choice for urban kayaking. Riding your kayak here will allow you to enjoy the robust and lively views that the temple town has to offer. You’ll get to see stores filled with crowds, buildings with wonderful architectural elements, and many others.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • great place of urban kayaking in Arizona since it has close proximity with Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Verde River:

Verde River is a great place if your budget is tight and you barely have enough time to head towards other locations for other activities. Kayaking here is great and will give you the same kayaking experience that other locations on this list have. You can either enjoy the views while riding your kayak on calm waters or test your skills with Verde River’s rapid portions. What makes this place really good is that you can do other activities such as camping bird watching, and fishing.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • an all in one location for kayaking, hiking, birdwatching, and other fun activities

Knoll Lake:

Last but not least is Knoll Lake. This is another secluded kayaking location that offers the same picturesque view as Big Lake. This place is filled with Ponderosa Pines which keeps the keep the waters cool and pristine. The waters’ edges, enveloped with green grasses that look joyful during the summer, are a sight to behold. Also, as you ride your kayak, it’s common to see birds and small mammals spending their time on the branches of the Ponderosa pines.

In summary, this location is great because:

  • worthwhile kayaking experience while viewing the majestic grandeur of ponderosa pines.

Bottom Line:

What I’ve featured here are the top 10 best locations for kayaking in Arizona. These places made it on my list for various reasons. First, their scenic views make kayaking more meaningful. Second, they’re the safest places for you to ride your kayak in Arizona. Lastly, recommending these locations to your friends won’t embarrass you.

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