We love the water and spend many weekends at Lake Pleasant. It is our favorite lake in Arizona for boating.
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With 10,000 acres of water, there is plenty of space for fishing in the many coves or having fun water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, knee boarding, or just enjoy a beautiful day on the lake.
- How to get to Lake Pleasant Regional Park
- How to get to Scorpion Bay Marina
- How to get to Pleasant Harbor Marina
- What can you do at the Lake
- Coves at Lake Pleasant Lake
- Humbug Party Cove
- Camping at the Lake
- Wildlife at the Lake
- Hiking at Lake Pleasant Regional Park
How to get to the Lake: Lake Pleasant Entrances
Lake Pleasant is just under an hour from Phoenix center. It is located northwest from the city off of Carefree Highway as part of the Lake Pleasant Regional Park. The park itself has two entrances, however you can also gain access from the Pleasant Harbor Marina. So you have several choices of where to enter. There is an entrance fee.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park has two entrances: the main park and the north entrance.
How to Get to the Main Park Entrance
Lake Pleasant Regional Park has a main park entrance and a north entrance. They are both located on the west side of the lake. The main entrance will take you to the campgrounds, the 10 lane boat ramp, visitor center, hiking trails and to Scorpion Bay marina.
From Phoenix take I-17 north and make a left or go west at the Carefree Highway, Highway 74 exit. Follow Carefree Highway for around 15 miles and take a right on North Castle Hot Springs Road. The main entrance to the park will be 2.5 miles from this point. Take a right on Lake Pleasant access road. To get to the 10-lane boat ramp and camping sites take your first right on South Park Road.
After the booth take your first right you will follow this road until you see the 10 lane boat ramp to your left. There is plenty of parking for vehicles and trailers.
How to Get to the Park’s North Entrance
A few miles north of the main entrance there is a second entrance. Follow North Castle Hot Springs road for three more miles past the main entrance. Turn right on Castle Creek Drive. You’ll find the smaller 4-lane boat ramp and a nice spot to pitch a tent for the day to go swimming. This area is nice to launch a boat from because it is less crowded.
How to Get to Scorpion Bay Marina
Follow the directions to get to the Park’s main entrance. From Phoenix take I-17 north and make a left or go west at the Carefree Highway, Highway 74 exit. Follow Carefree Highway for around 15 miles and take a right on North Castle Hot Springs Road.
The main entrance to the park will be 2.5 miles from this point. Take the second road on your right, Peninsula Blvd and this will take you to Scorpion Bay Marina.
How to Get to Pleasant Harbor Marina
If you are driving from Phoenix, you’ll notice the signs for Pleasant Harbor Marina several miles before the Lake Pleasant Regional Park main entrance. The marina is located right off of Carefree Highway at 8708 W. Harbor Blvd. Coming from Phoenix on Carefree Highway you would make a right turn onto 87th Avenue, which is at the bottom of the hill.
Boat Ramps at Pleasant Harbor
The marina has two public 4-lane boat ramps and one private boat ramp. One public ramp is located on the north side and one on the south side. The north boat ramp has some very pretty views. The south ramp is only open during high water level times.
Both the south and the north side are nice to launch a boat from as we experienced less current when loading and unloading in comparison to some of the other ramps. Wild burros could be seen from this area.
Where to Park at Pleasant Harbor Marina
There is limited parking by the public boat ramps. There is a larger parking area when you first enter the marina.
If you enter from the Pleasant Harbor Marina and park in the parking lot to your right you will find a shaded structure that you can wait for a shuttle (golf cart) to take you directly to the marina. You do not need to be a member to ride the shuttle. At the marina you can rent jet skis and paddle boards or eat at the restaurant.
They also offer boat storage, restrooms, boat fueling, scuba diving, shaded picnic tables, and an RV Resort.
What Can you do at Lake Pleasant
Both marinas have general stores and restaurants. Dillons Bayou Restaurant is the larger of the two restaurants. Dillons is at Pleasant Harbor Marina. You can rent boats, jet skis, kayaks, and paddleboards at the marinas.
- Water Sports
- Jet Ski
- H2 Woah Water Slide (Pleasant Harbor Marina)
- Paqua Park (Scorpion Bay)
- Floating Cabin Rentals (Scorpion Bay)
Coves at Lake Pleasant
There are a lot of coves in Lake Pleasant, so the best thing to do is to explore and find your favorite. If you want details on where each cove is it is really helpful to have a map. With so many coves to explore there you can find a less crowded spot or work your way over to the party cove. For more information about Lake Pleasant coves visit are Lake Pleasant Coves post.
popular coves in Lake Pleasant
The following coves are on the east side of the lake near the Pleasant Harbor Marina and are listed south to north
- Waddell Cove (close to the ramp)
- Honeymoon Cove
- Pretty Cove
- Jackass Cove
- Max’s Pt
- Buzzard’s Point
- Paul’s Hideaway
- Agua Fria Arm (north east)
- Humbug Cove (north east)
Coves in the northern part of Lake Pleasant
The following coves are in the northern part of Lake Pleasant
- Agua Fria Arm (north east)
- Humbug Cove (north east)
- Coles Wash
- Goose Bay
- Bass Bay (north west)
- Castle Creek Arm (north west)
- Fireman Pt (north west)
- Catfish Cove (north west)
Coves on the west side of Lake Pleasant near the main entrance from South to North
The following coves are on the west side of the lake near the main entrance to Lake Pleasant Regional Park. They are listed south to north.
- South Bay
- Cow Point
- Hobie Point
- Yavapai Point
- Cottonwood Cove
For fisherman the best coves are
- Max’s Point (east side of lake)
- Yavapai Point (west side of lake)
- Bass Bay (north)
- Coles Wash Arm (north)
- Castle Creek Arm (north west)
- Agua Fria Arm (north east-this arm is not open year round).
Humbug Cove – The Party Cove
If you want to be where every day is a party head over to Lake Pleasant’s popular party cove, Humbug Cove. Humbug Cove is about five nautical miles north east of Pleasant Harbor Marina. From Paul’s Hideaway cove you can proceed east towards Agua Fria Arm or north to Humbug Cove.
Camping at Lake Pleasant
There are several hiking trails located around Lake Pleasant as well as areas to camp. There are two campgrounds at Lake Pleasant, both are desert setting campgrounds, saguaros and various desert scrub brush. Camp sites are available as developed, semi developed, and primitive camping sites.
The Desert Tortoise Campground is located just before the 10 lane boat ramp and has short walking distances to the water. This campground has restrooms, showers and RV dump station. Ramadas offer shade at each site.
The Roadrunner Campground is just before the Visitor’s Center and offers restrooms, showers and a playground, but is a little further walk to the water. All camp sites are considered developed in the Roadrunner campground with water and electrical hookups.
There is also RV camping available at Pleasant Harbor Marina.
Wildlife at Lake Pleasant
We have often seen wild burros and bighorn sheep at Lake Pleasant. Once we saw a mountain lion which was pretty cool because we were in a boat and not hiking.
There is a pretty good chance you’ll see burros at Jackass Cove and once the sun goes down and most of the people have left you will see them everywhere.
Hiking at Lake Pleasant
The hiking trails have some nice views of the dark blue water against the desert backdrop. There are three main hiking trails:
- Pipeline Canyon Trail
- Roadrunner Trail
- Visitor Center Trail
Pipeline Canyon Trail
At 2 miles Pipeline Canyon Trail is the longest trail with wonderful views of the western lake shoreline. The trail can be accessed from the North entry right off of Cottonwood Lane.
Roadrunner and Visitor Center Trail
The Roadrunner trail and the Visitor Center Trail are both accessed from the Visitor Center parking lot. The Roadrunner trail at 1.5 miles is is a desert hike that overlooks the water. The Visitor Center trail is a short 1/2 mile interpretative desert hike.
The Visitor’s center has some information on the lake and the desert. You also have some nice views of the Waddell Dam and the surrounding lake.
Address: 41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd
For more information visit: Lake Pleasant Regional Park