Lake Pleasant Regional Park
|Location||Peoria, Maricopa / Yavapai counties, Arizona, USA|
|Primary inflows||Agua Fria River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||7500 acres (30 km²/11.7 mi²)|
|Average depth||70 ft (21 m)|
|Surface elevation||1,700 ft (520 m)|
Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a large outdoors recreation area straddling the Maricopa and Yavapai county border northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The park is located within the municipal boundaries of Peoria, Arizona, and serves as a major recreation hub for the northwest Phoenix metropolitan area.
The cornerstone of the park is the 10,000 acre (40 km² or 15.6 mi²), Lake Pleasant, one of the important artificial reservoirs surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area. Created by the Waddell (Pleasant) Dam, which was finished in 1927, the lake originally had a surface area of 3,700 acres (15 km² or 5.8 mi²) and served as a private irrigation project. At 76 feet (23 m) high and 2,160 feet (658 m) long, the original Waddell Dam was, at its completion, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County.
Construction of the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which began in 1973, soon diverted water from the Colorado River to the lake, converting the lake from an agricultural project into a storage reservoir for the project. Completed in 1994, the New Waddell Dam tripled the surface area of the lake, submerging the old dam beneath its waters. Shortly after the completion of the dam, the area experienced a prolonged drought, and while the lake grew considerably it would not reach full capacity until early 2005. Although still fed by the Agua Fria River, the CAP aqueduct is the primary source of water for the reservoir.
Lake Pleasant is used as a major water sports recreation center for the Phoenix metro area, as well as serving as an important storage reservoir for the rapidly growing region. A number of boat docks and beach access make the lake a popular destination for scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and other water sports.
- Largemouth Bass
- White Bass
- Striped Bass
- Catfish (Channel)
- Buffalo fish
- flathead catfish
The park covers a total of over 23,000 acres (93 km²) of mountainous desert landscape, including the lake, and boasts a number of other recreational activities, such as mountain biking, camping, and hiking. The park also has an educational visitors' center that provides information regarding the history of the lake, the construction of the Waddell Dam and the surrounding areas.
The presence of the lake has also attracted other recreational activities in the area, such as a dirt racetrack and a large glider school/airport.
The rapidly growing city of Peoria has annexed the park and surrounding lands with an eye on future development, though recent economic downturn has brought a temporary halt to its plans. Economy aside, the increasing popularity of the area is evidenced by rapidly growing subdivisions to the south, such as Vistancia, and skyrocketing real estate values, the city has zoned much of the land in the immediate vicinity for future use of both high-end waterfront residential neighborhoods and commercial opportunities off of Lake Pleasant Parkway and the Carefree Highway. Several plans also call for potentially expanding the existing airstrip to be expanded into a regional airport.
The following pictures are of some of the scenery at Lake Pleasant Regional Park and the ruins of a thousand year old Hohokan village.
|Scenery at Lake Pleasant Regional Park
and the ruins of a Hohokam Puebloans village
on top of Indian Mesa
- Lake Pleasant Regional Park Website
- Arizona Boating Locations Facilities Map
- Lake Pleasant Arizona Recreation
- Arizona Fishing Locations Map
- Video of Lake Pleasant
- Arizona Fishin' Holes, Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2007