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Horse Mesa Dam and Apache Lake

Built in the mid-1920s, Horse Mesa Dam helped more than double SRP's hydropower generating capacity. It forms Apache Lake, a remote escape for outdoor enthusiasts.

History of Horse Mesa Dam and Apache Lake

Horse Mesa Dam was part of the power expansion program developed by General Superintendent Charles C. Cragin in the early 1920s. The program called for the construction of three hydroelectric dams on the lower Salt River along with a power transmission system.

Horse Mesa Dam was the second of three hydroelectric dams built at the time. Mormon Flat Dam was the first and Stewart Mountain Dam was the third.  

Located between Mormon Flat and Roosevelt dams, the concrete thin-arch structure dam was completed in 1927. It stood 305 feet high and 660 feet long. It was named for nearby Horse Mesa, where thieves sometimes hid stolen herds.

The three dams more than doubled SRP's hydropower generating capacity and improved the control of irrigation releases.*  

Today, Horse Mesa Dam has three conventional hydroelectric generating units rated at a total of 32,000 kW. It also has one pumped storage hydroelectric unit that was added in 1972, which is rated at 97,000 kW.

The dam forms Apache Lake, an uncrowded escape for fishing, boating and more.

Things to do at Apache Lake

Located in the Tonto National Forest, Apache Lake is a remote destination known for its boating, trout fishing and scenic canyon walls surrounding the lake.

See the best ways to spend a day or more near the water. And always make sure to check water levelsOpen new site. before you go.

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Cast your line

Apache Lake is home to channel and flathead catfish; largemouth, smallmouth, striped and yellow bass; bluegill; crappie; walleye; trout; and carp.

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Enjoy the water

Both motorized and non-motorized watercraft are allowed at Apache Lake. Its seclusion makes the lake a dream for water sports like wakeboarding, wakesurfing, waterskiing and more.

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Stay overnight

You’ll find plenty of options to stay a while, including camping at the Burnt Corral Recreation site, an RV park and rooms at the Apache Lake Marina and Resort.

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Take the scenic route

Apache Lake sits alongside the Apache Trail, one of the most scenic drives in Arizona. Enjoy views of Canyon and Apache lakes to the north and the Superstition Mountains to the south.

Map your routeOpen new site.

Enjoy Apache Lake responsibly

Find resources to plan a safe and fun day on the water at Apache Lake. 

Official Arizona Boating Safety Course Online

Take the CourseOpen new site.
Watercraft Rules & Regulations

See the RulesOpen new site.
Renew Your Watercraft Registration Online

Renew OnlineOpen new site.