Lake Pleasant Regional Park

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Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant Arizona.jpg
Location Peoria, Morristown, Maricopa / Yavapai counties, Arizona, US
Coordinates 33°53′43″N 112°16′58″W / 33.89528°N 112.28278°W / 33.89528; -112.28278Coordinates: 33°53′43″N 112°16′58″W / 33.89528°N 112.28278°W / 33.89528; -112.28278
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Agua Fria River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 7500 acres (30 km²/11.7 mi²)
Average depth 70 ft (21 m)
Max. depth 479 ft (146 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.

Lake Pleasant[edit]

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.

The lake has been plagued by a number of deaths over the years, and Arizona authorities have from time to time called for caution when at Lake Pleasant because of a number of reasons, including rising waters and carbon monoxide in the area.[1] Over time, a number of bodies have been found at the lake.[2]

Fish species[edit]

Other uses[edit]

Lake Pleasant from Pipeline Canyon Trail.

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 Hohokam village.

Scenery at Lake Pleasant Regional Park
and the ruins of a Hohokam Puebloans village
on top of Indian Mesa
Sandstone cliffs at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. 
Scenery at Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Indian Mesa at Lake Pleasant Regional Park in Arizona. On top of the Mesa are the ruins of a village built by the Hohokam Puebloans about 1000 years ago.[3] 
Hiking trail leading to the Indian Mesa (in the background). The hiking trail is located on a portion of a canal which the Hohokam built in 700 AD.. The canal is now filled with soil.[4] 
Hikers pose with Indian Mesa in the background. 
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Marker on Indian Mesa. The marker warns that removal of artifacts is strictly forbidden by Federal Law. 
Different views of the ruins of a village built by Hohokam Puebloans about 1000 years ago on top of Indian Mesa located at Lake Pleasant in Peoria, Arizona. This is part of the wall of the fort that surrounded the village. The holes in the wall are viewing holes so the defenders can view the only path to the top. There are several branches of an "Ocotillo" shrub in the foreground. 
A posthole dug by the Hohokams inside their house. The Hohokams placed heavy mesquite or pine posts on them to support a roof. 
Different view of the ruins of a Hohokam house. 
Hikers inspecting ruins. 
Another view of the ruins of a Hohokam house. 
Entrance to a Hohokam home. Lake Pleasant is in the background. 
Rocky trail leading to the entrance of a Hohokam house. 
Ancient Hohokam pottery pieces (small brown ones) found at Indian Mesa. 
Hikers on the steep one hundred foot drop trail in Indian Mesa. 

Annual Events[edit]

Lake Pleasant Paddle Fest Event This is a full day event featuring different paddle craft and fun activities. [5]

Bill Luke Bass Days This is a day and night time festival taking place at Lake Pleasant Marina featuring carnival rides, cornhole tournament, wildlife exhibits, vendors, food and live music. [6]


The area is served by Pleasant Valley Airport, located 3 miles away.[7] Plans to start commercial service to the airport, including from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, have been unsuccessful.

Several roads connect the area to Phoenix's main freeway systems.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]