Guide To Kayaking In Arizona

With a warm, dry climate, Arizona might not seem like a kayaker’s paradise, but the Grand Canyon State is packed with places for outdoor adventures on the water, not to mention awesome scenery and a wealth of wildlife.

With plenty of lakes and rivers, including the famous Colorado River, there are lots of options for kayaking in Arizona, no matter what your skill level is. So where is the best place to kayak?

Guide To Kayaking In Arizona

Where Are The Best Places To Kayak In Arizona?

There are many excellent locations in Arizona for kayaking but in our opinion, the best ones are Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon and the Salt River, as they offer a mixture of magnificent surroundings, good paddling and plenty of areas to explore. Here's our good spots to kayak close to me map that may also help

Lake Powell

Lake Powell Arizona Kayaking

Fantastic scenery and geological history abound in Lake Powell. There are plenty of areas to explore, whether you’re an experienced paddler or are just starting out. You can go on multi-day adventures or just head out for a couple of hours.

Paddle along the calm waters through breathtaking canyons, from Antelope Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon to Lone Rock Canyon, there’s enough here to keep all paddlers entertained.

For kayaking on Lake Powell, you can rent kayaks and go on guided excursions at Hidden Canyon Kayak in Page, Arizona. Their guided tours start at $90 each for a 3-4 hour trip to Lone Rock Canyon or a 4 hour trip to Antelope Canyon and include kayak rental and equipment. They also offer multi-day excursions.

For daily rentals, Kayak Lake Powell has tandem kayaks for $45 a day and single kayaks for $30 a day, with discounted rates for multiple day rentals. They also offer touring kayak rentals, as well as canoes and camping equipment.

Grand Canyon

As one of the 7 wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular places in the world to kayak. From whitewater rapids to remarkable scenery, kayaking along the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable trip.

Much of the Colorado River that flows through the Grand Canyon is whitewater, therefore in order to kayak through it all paddlers need to have Class 4 whitewater skills. At Current Adventures you can take guided kayaking tours, with 2 week trips at $4,050 (September 2017).

With Current Adventures, even less experienced paddlers can go on the trip, riding along on one of the rafts, with the possibility of kayaking where the water’s calmer.

If you’re looking to take on the Colorado River yourself, Ceiba Adventures offers kayak rentals from $30 a day and as little as $15 per day for trips of 5 or more days (2017 prices).

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Salt River

If you’re looking for some authentic wilderness just outside Phoenix, the Salt River can deliver. The Lower Salt River features stunning scenery and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including wild mustangs!

The waters are calm and it’s a relaxing experience paddling through centuries of geological history in the Tonto National Forest.

There are lots of places to rent kayaks and take part in other watersports, with one being Sonoran Kayak Rentals, where you can rent a kayak from $40 a day and $20 per additional day (2017 prices).

Another good option is the Sagauro Lake Guest Ranch, which offers kayak rental from $40 for a 2 hour paddling trip. The trip is not guided but it includes return courtesy shuttle from the ranch to the river.

For a guided tour, Arizona Outback Adventures offers a fun half day kayaking tour that’s fully guided, with all your equipment included, for $145 per person. It even allows for a spot of swimming!

Blue Ridge Reservoir

Blue Ridge Reservoir Kayaking

Blue Ridge Reservoir (also known as C.C. Cragin Reservoir) is a scenic and peaceful lake that has more of a river feel about it. It’s located in the Coconino National Forest and surrounded by pine forests, steep cliffs and canyons, which means launching your kayak is only really possible from the boat ramp.

The boat ramp is located on the northern side of the lake, just off Forest Service Road 751, where you will also find parking.

The lake can be a great spot for all paddlers, with flatwater making it ideal for kids and beginners. There are also motorized vessel restrictions at the lake, with a 10 hp limit on motorized boats, which can make for a more relaxing paddle.

Big Lake

Big Lake Kayaking
Courtesy: Andy Atzert on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Big Lake is a 575 acre lake located in the White Mountains, at an elevation of 9000 feet in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. It features calm water and can be a great spot for family paddling trips and is known for its good trout fishing.

There are several boat launches around the lake, with picnic areas, campgrounds and hiking trails nearby. You can rent kayaks from Big Lake Tackle And Supply, which is also a general store for food and supplies.

The lake can be ideal for wildlife watching and photography and can be a good spot to escape the desert heat in the summer.

Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant Kayaking
Courtesy: Mark Cameron on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

If you’re looking for a scenic spot just outside of Phoenix, Lake Pleasant can be a perfect place. Surrounded by wildlife and rugged landscapes, Lake Pleasant can be a fun spot for family kayaking trips. There are also areas in Lake Pleasant Regional Park that allow for primitive camping, so you can make the most of your weekend on the water.

There are several areas around the lake where you can launch your kayak, and you’ll also find a number of boat ramps too.

The lake features lots of coves and little islands that can make it fun to explore. It can also be a great spot for kayak fishing, with bass, catfish and a variety of other species being found in the lake.

Are There Any Kayak Laws For Arizona?

US Coast Guard

Arizona Kayak Rentals & Tours

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Brad - March 23, 2019

Do you know what regulations apply to kayaking on the reservation?

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