Kayaking the canyons of Canyon Lake

I’ve spent a lot of time on the Lower Salt River but I just found a great new place to put in my kayak.

Monday, my kayaking buddy and I headed up to Canyon Lake, the third lake in the Central Arizona lakes chain. I’ve been there several times before but have not spent a lot of time on the water.

This time, we put in at two locations – Boulder Recreation Site and the bridge at First Water Creek.

The Boulder Recreation Site is located to the southwest of the bridge and marina. This spot leads back to La Barge Creek which is ultimately fed from Boulder Canyon. We were able to put in from the Boulder Recreation Site parking lot and paddle to the farthest end of the creek where we left the kayaks. From there, we hiked a short distance back along the the main creek which was dried. Recent rains had left stagnant pockets of water in the rocks. Anyone could see that a torrential downpour would make the entire wash a dangerous place to be during a flash flood. Here are some photos of the area including the wash leading into the creek/lake.

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Once we paddled back out to Boulder Recreation Site, we passed the parking lot and made our way over to the marina where we surveyed the many boats in slips. It’s worth mentioning that many of these boats looked pretty weathered and in need of maintenance. I can’t understand why someone would invest in such a nice boat only to have it sit in the sun taking a beating all summer without any use.

Upon returning to Boulder Recreation Site, we tossed the kayaks into the back of the truck and headed toward First Water Creek, located near the first bridge. We parked the truck, put in on the south side of the bridge and proceeded to paddle into the canyon.

This was also a lengthy passage back into an area that most people cannot access. The water was extremely calm and glassy as cliffs rose high above the water.

It was nearing sunset so bats began making their way out into the evening air to fill their bellies with the billions of bugs flying overhead.

We managed to make it all the way to the water’s end where a large Cottonwood tree rose above the creek bed. From there, we set the boats and hiked back a quarter mile to where the creek took a turn back into the Superstition Mountains.

Before it got too dark we headed back to the boats and paddled our way back to the main lake.

Here are some photos and video of that tour.

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We ended the day with a paddle over to the Canyon Lake dam just as dusk was setting on us.

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