Peoria, Arizona, a city known for its vibrant community and scenic landscapes, is also home to an array of stunning waterways. From serene lakes to meandering streams, these waterways offer residents and visitors a chance to connect with nature, indulge in recreational activities, or simply find solace in the tranquil surroundings. Let’s dive into some of the most captivating waterways in Peoria and discover what makes each one unique.

The shores of Lake Pleasant in Peoria, AZ

Paloma Community Park

Address: 29799 N. Lake Pleasant Pkwy, Peoria, AZ

Nestled at Lake Pleasant Parkway and Dixileta Dr., Paloma Community Park is an 85-acre haven for nature enthusiasts. Opened in October 2020, this park boasts a plethora of amenities, including a fishing lake, splash pad, playground, and dog park. Whether you’re looking to engage in a friendly game at the lighted pickleball courts or simply wish to relax by the fishing deck, Paloma Park has something for everyone. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., ensuring ample time for visitors to explore and enjoy its offerings.

Lake Pleasant

Address: Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Peoria, AZ

Lake Pleasant Regional Park, a scenic desert oasis in Peoria, spans over 23,000 acres of water and a pristine desert landscape. As one of the most picturesque recreation areas in the Valley, it offers a myriad of adventures such as kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, camping, stargazing, and even the unique experience of scorpion hunting. 

The Lake Pleasant Nature Center provides insights into the area’s history and diverse wildlife. From its balcony, visitors can soak in panoramic views of the lake and the Waddell Dam. The lake is a hub for water enthusiasts, with activities ranging from wakeboarding to sailing. For those interested in fishing, the lake is teeming with large-mouth bass, white bass, and striped bass, making both day and night fishing a rewarding experience. If you’re looking to spend the night, the park offers both RV and tent camping facilities. And for a unique experience, embark on a moonlit scorpion hunt or enjoy a sunset dinner cruise on the lake’s serene waters.

Bartlett Lake

Address: Bartlett Lake Marina, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Bartlett Lake Marina, with its expansive 2,815 acres of boatable surface area, surpasses both Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake combined. The lake is fed by the Verde River, which has been historically praised by the indigenous people for its “sweet waters.” Nature lovers flock to Bartlett Lake to indulge in a range of activities, from shoreline camping amidst Arizona’s raw desert landscape to boating and water skiing. 

The region is rich in biodiversity, and visitors might spot mule deer, bald eagles, javelina, and coyotes. The flora is equally captivating, with the iconic saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, and blooming ocotillo dotting the landscape. Conveniently located just 48 miles from downtown Phoenix and 17 miles northeast of Carefree, Bartlett Lake is easily accessible. The lake offers a harmonious blend of sandy beaches on its west and protective mountains on the east, making it an ideal spot for both relaxation and adventure.

Bob Bear Trail Hike

Address: Bob Bear Trailhead, Tonto National Forest, AZ

The Bob Bear Trailhead, located in the Tonto National Forest, offers a gateway to the pristine headwaters of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River and the Fossil Springs Wilderness. Starting at an elevation of 5,700 feet on Deadman Mesa near Strawberry, the trail descends a challenging 1,500 feet over 4 miles into the breathtaking Fossil Creek canyon. This trail is not for the faint-hearted; it’s steep, can get extremely hot during the summer, and offers little shade. However, the rewards are immense. Hikers are treated to one of Arizona’s most stunning riparian areas. 

It’s essential to come prepared: summer temperatures often soar above 100 degrees F, and there’s no water available for the first 3.75 miles. Ensure you have plenty of water (a gallon per person is recommended), sturdy footwear, and are in good physical shape. The Fossil Creek area is rustic and remote, with limited facilities. Camping is only allowed in the Fossil Creek Permit Area from April 1 through October 1 with a permit. If you’re seeking a genuine backcountry experience and a chance to connect with Arizona’s natural beauty, the Bob Bear Trail is a must-visit.

The Waterways of Peoria

Peoria’s waterways are a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving nature and providing recreational spaces for its residents. Each waterway, with its unique charm and offerings, invites visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and create lasting memories.
And for those with young ones, don’t forget about Crème de la Crème, a top-tier daycare in the area. It’s the perfect place to ensure your children are cared for while you explore the wonders of Peoria’s waterways.

Photo by Blair Roberts Castagnetta on Unsplash