Always Pleasant, Lake Pleasant

Located in northern-most Peoria about 30 miles north of Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is the largest lake in the Phoenix area with 10,000 acres of water surface and over 50 miles of shoreline and is primarily fed by the Aqua Fria River which carries rain and snow melt-off from the northern parts of Arizona including the Bradshaw Mountains. Lake Pleasant is considered the most visited Arizona lake primarily because of its close proximity to the Phoenix area.

The Original Dam is Under Water.

The lake was formed in the mid-1920s with the building of “Carl” Pleasant Dam which was later renamed Waddel Dam. When constructed, it was considered the largest agricultural dam in the world created to harness water for irrigation. A new dam was built in 1992 and tripled the size of the lake which now covers the original dam which is under 100 feet of water.

Boating, Water Skiing, Sailing & Jet Skiing.

Lake Pleasant is a boat-lovers paradise. Unleash the powerboats on the vast 10,000 acres of refreshing waters. Sail into the sunsets, water-ski, jet ski, canoe, kayak. Anchor that craft and enjoy swimming in the tranquility under a moonlit sky. There are two paved boat ramps including a 10 lane and a 4 lane ramp next to a parking lot that will accommodate over 700 vehicles. The Pleasant Harbor Marina is full-service with wet slips, a convenience store, dry storage, and fuel service. They also have a boat repair center, a deli, and a dockside bar. Boats are available for rent.

Fishing At Lake Pleasant.

Anglers have experienced record-breaking catches at the lake. A variety of fish species are abundant including striped bass, largemouth bass, white crappie, black crappie, channel catfish, bigmouth buffalo fish, talapia and white bass which are almost exclusive to Lake Pleasant in large numbers. Several creeks and washes feed into the lake and the feeding points are considered as hot fishing spots. They include Humbug Creek, Castle Creek and Cole’s Wash. Although fishing can be good from the shore, it takes a boat to get to the heavy action locations. Pleasant features the best bass fishing in the area.

Camping At Lake Pleasant.

You don’t need to be on the water to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Camping, and hiking opportunities are in abundance. Campers and picnickers can find both day and overnight campgrounds able to accommodate large and small groups as well as tents and RV parking. At the Roadrunner Campground and Picnic Area there are 72 RV sites with water and electrical hookups. Cover tables, barbeque grills, restroom and shower facilities offer guests all the modern conveniences to make their time even more enjoyable. The Desert Tortoise Campground and Cottonwood Day Use Area are open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. year round. Arrangements can be made for overnight stays at both of these sites by contacting the park’s Special Events Coordinator.

Pleasant Harbor.

Pleasant Harbor is the lake’s only marina and boasts a five star RV Resort which features 254 full hook-up RV sites and 40 partial sites. Visitors will enjoy the clubhouse, heated pool, and spa as well as boat access to the lake. Visit the Pleasant Harbor website for more information.

Year-Round Enjoyment.

Lake Pleasant is open year-round. A small portion of the lake is off-limits from December to about mid-June so nesting eagles are not disturbed. The lake can often exceed its capacity during the busy summer months and holiday weekends resulting in some boaters and campers being turned away. Be sure to arrive early during those periods. Modest entry fees per vehicle and watercraft apply while camping and ramada rental fees vary depending upon the site.

Getting To Lake Pleasant.

If you live on the northwest side of Phoenix, there are other ways to the lake. The best access for others is to travel north from Phoenix on Interstate 17 and exit on Carefree Highway (Exit 223) and head west. The road becomes State Route 74, also known as Lake Pleasant Road. Travel west for about 15 miles and turn north on Castle Hot Springs Road. Continue for about 2 miles to the park’s main entrance. To reach Pleasant Harbor Marina, turn north on Pleasant Harbor Road for about 1.5 miles.

The Visitor’s Center features a balcony with exceptional views of the lake and a close-up view of the dam. Spend some time at the center learning about the history of the lake and Pleasant State Regional Park.

For More Information.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Morristown, AZ 85342
Contact Station 928-501-1710
Operations Center 602-372-7460

Lake Pleasant Maps

Other Area Lakes.

Other boating lakes in the Phoenix area include Bartlett LakeCanyon Lake and Saguaro Lake which are about an hours drive from Phoenix depending upon your origination point.