Canyon Lake – Salt River Recreational Area

Canyon Lake-1Tortilla Flat, Arizona.

Last week we revisited Goldfield, the old mining town that is now an interesting tourist stop along the Apache Trail. This week we travel a little further along the trail toward the town of Tortilla Flat, an unincorporated community about 50 miles east of Phoenix. The Salt River flows through the Tonto National Forest, and over the years, a collection of dams and reservoirs were constructed to manage the flow of water through the desert landscape.

Canyon Lake-5Canyon Lake is the result of one of those dams. Completed in 1925, the Mormon Flat Dam created the lake, smallest of the four reservoirs created along the Salt River. Don’t let the notion of small size fool you, though. There are plenty of recreational opportunities on the lake for those who venture along the Apache Trail. For example, the Steamboat Dolly provides a nature cruise, a twilight dinner cruise and an astronomy dinner cruise. Keep in mind the steamboat is a popular attraction. If you just show up, like we did, you will probably discover that the cruises are sold out. Order tickets online in advance to be sure you can catch a ride on the steamboat cruiser. More information on their itinerary can be found here.

Canyon Lake-7Boaters will have a much more personal view of the canyons surrounding the lake as smaller boats can go much further upriver than the steamboat to explore the area. A large marina provides all the services needed by boaters. A public ramp is available for boaters to launch, but contact the marina here for details to learn your options for boat rental, camping and other activities.

The Lakeside Restaurant and Cantina is available daily for lunch, but is only open on weekends for breakfast and dinner. Of course, you’re best off contacting them in advance here to ensure they will be open when you arrive. The gallery of images below were all taken from the shoreline at the marina or along the Apache Trail.  Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery. In a future post, expect views from the lake, but that post will have to wait for next year.

John Steiner



4 thoughts on “Canyon Lake – Salt River Recreational Area

  1. That looks like a wonderful place for a day trip. Great pictures, and I think you have done a fine job of promoting the area! If they have a chamber of commerce, they may wish to hire you.

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