September 30, 2017

Tamara C. shared this photo overlooking Roosevelt Lake and bridge from a rocky shoreline. 


Roosevelt Lake was created in 1911 after the completion of Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River as part of the Salt River Project. The dam enabled early settlers to grow citrus, cotton, and even farm animals. The dam continues to provide a means of flood protection, generation of electricity, and a long-term water storage supply for metro-Phoenicians today. Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake and man-made reservoir in central Arizona, located within the Tonto National Forest.


In addition to providing many functional uses, the lake is also a popular destination for recreation. With over 128 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of hidden coves and small isolated islands. Camping and boating at Roosevelt Lake are sure to satisfy anyone looking to spend some quality time outdoors. Imagine lying on a sandy beach near the clear blue water’s edge with saguaros in the Sonoran Desert as your backdrop.

Roosevelt Lake: a popular recreation spot

Determined anglers from all levels of skill are welcome to fish at Roosevelt Lake. It is well-known for its bass fishing. According to the AZ Game & Fish Department, the lake previously held the state record for the largest smallmouth bass caught in Arizona. However, the record was broken just this year at Lake Havasu. A flathead catfish weighing up to 60 pounds was recently caught by a fisherman — now that is good eating! Of course, the master “fishermen” Osprey and Bald Eagles that use the lake during the fall and winter probably get the best dibs on what they catch.

The Apache Trail is a popular route for reaching Roosevelt Lake

A highly recommended route is the Apache Trail, one of the most scenic drives in Arizona to get to Roosevelt Lake.  However, there are easier ways to get to the lake a lot faster. No matter which path you plan to take, your desert oasis awaits!

Looking for other places to explore in Arizona? Check out our complete list of Celebrate AZ Water articles to choose your next destination!

This photo by Tamara C. is just one of over 1,000 submittals for our Spring 2014 Celebrate AZ Water Photo Contest. It provided a stunning opportunity to celebrate the importance and wonder of water in Arizona and to reflect on one of our region’s most precious resources.