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Surrounded by the stark and rugged beauty of Central Arizona's Superstition Wilderness in the Tonto National Forest, Apache Lake is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys soaking up breathtaking mountain views, watching the local wildlife, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, or other outdoor activities.
Apache Lake is one of four reservoirs on the Salt River that form a continuous chain of lakes almost 60 miles long. In the early part of the twentieth century, a series of dams were built on the river as part of the Salt River Project, which, at last, provided flood control and a stable water supply to the Phoenix area. The Project is a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Reclamation and the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association for water supply and electricity generation.
Lake Apache was created five miles downstream from the much larger Lake Roosevelt with the completion of Horse Mesa Dam in 1927. Filling the bottom of the canyon where it lies, this long and narrow lake is the second largest of the four sister lakes. It is 17 miles long with a 41 mile shoreline and a surface area of 2,568 acres. Boasting complete lake facilities, Apache Lake has been a popular year-round destination for outdoor family fun since its opening.
For those who want to experience all the lake has to offer while still enjoying all the conveniences of modern life, the Apache Lake Marina and Resort is the place to go. The marina is located on and operates under permit from the Tonto National Forest Service. It provides lodging, boat launch and storage sites, boat rentals, fishing and hunting licenses, restaurants, gas, and groceries. There are also areas for RVs and camping.
Apache Lake is perfect for all types of water sports and recreation. Water skiers and power boats are a common sight. Boaters and water skiers should note that some coves are "wake free" areas, and the upper end of the lake is barred to water skiing. If fishing is your passion, the lake frequently hosts angling competitions. Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks Apache Lake with walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, channel and flathead catfish, carp, and crappie.
If you're looking for a place to get away from civilization and closer to nature, Apache Lake also has much to offer. Apart from the many available camping facilities, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, and nature lovers will find secluded coves and nearby hiking trails where they can enjoy a sense of solitude as they spot javelina, coyotes, eagles, big horn sheep, deer, and a host of other desert creatures. Visitors should bear in mind that these wilderness areas can be very inhospitable. The temperatures soar in the summer, and winter brings freezing cold. Whenever you go, you should be well-prepared for these conditions.
Apache Lake is located in the Tonto National Forest, the fifth largest forest in North America. It contains almost three million acres of terrain, and boasts a variety of plants due to its variation in altitude between 1000 and 7900 feet. The national forest preserves the watersheds and reservoirs contained within its expansive borders. Visitors will need to purchase a park pass to access the Burnt Corral Recreation Site. There are several kinds of passes to cater to your needs and grant access to the many hiking trails and camping areas maintained by the park. The recreation site is open year round and offers boat launching facilities and spaces for trailers less than 17 feet long.
On your way to the lake for a day of fun, you can also take a few hours to drive the 40-mile, scenic Apache Trail. The Apache Lake Marina and Resort is located only a mile from the partially paved road that was built to accommodate the Salt River Project's dam construction.
Whether you're planning a short day trip to the water for the family or a long hiking and camping outing, Apache Lake makes an ideal destination.
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