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Mormon Flat Dam and Canyon Lake

Mormon Flat Dam was the first dam constructed under SRP’s hydroelectric expansion program in the 1920s. It also forms Canyon Lake, where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, scenic hikes and more.

Harnessing the power of water and the pioneer spirit

Mormon Flat Dam’s history began as part of a power expansion program developed by General Superintendent Charles C. Cragin in the early 1920s.

Cragin's program included a plan for constructing three hydroelectric dams on the lower Salt River along with a power transmission system. Mormon Flat Dam was the first of these three dams to be built.

Construction took place from 1923 to 1926 and after all was said and done, the concrete thin-arch structure dam stood 224 feet high. It was named after nearby Mormon Flat, a place where pioneers from Utah stopped to camp on their way to the Valley.

After Mormon Flat Dam, Horse Mesa Dam was constructed, then Stewart Mountain Dam. Together, these three dams more than doubled SRP's hydropower generating capacity and improved the control of irrigation releases.* 

SRP used the power revenue that was generated to pay back the federal government for Roosevelt Dam construction and for the bonds used to finance the new lower Salt River dams. 

Today, there are two hydroelectric generating units at the dam: one is a conventional unit rated at 10,000 kW; the other is a pumped storage unit built in 1971 and rated at 50,000 kW. The pumped storage unit permits recycling of water for hydroelectric production and keeps lake levels relatively constant.

Mormon Flat Dam also forms Canyon Lake, a hidden gem that offers secluded campsites, beautiful desert views and great fishing.

Canyon Lake

Things to do at Canyon Lake  

Located just 45 minutes east of Phoenix, Canyon Lake offers a refreshing respite from the city. See how you can spend the day or an entire weekend enjoying its cool waters. Just make sure to check water levels before you go.

Stay overnight

Explorers can stay at one of the campgrounds or RV sites along Canyon Lake’s shores.

See permit info
Go for a hike

Hikers can enjoy many trails near the lake, including the popular Boulder Canyon trail, a long hike with panoramic views.

View the trail
Hit the water

Bring your pontoons, runabouts, canoes, kayaks and water skis, or rent them at the Canyon Lake Marina & Campground.

Visit the marina
Cast your line

Fishermen can get their fill of rainbow trout, several types of bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie and walleye.

See the fishing report
Enjoy a dinner cruise

Enjoy a dinner service as you cruise the canyons and waterways aboard the Dolly Steamboat – an original steamboat from 1925.

Take a cruise
Take the scenic route

Canyon Lake is located along AZ State Route 88, a former Apache Tribal route turned stagecoach road, where cowboys and miners once traveled.

Map your route

Enjoy Canyon Lake responsibly

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

Official Arizona Boating Safety Course Online 

Take the course
Watercraft rules & regulations

See the rules
Renew Your Watercraft Registration Online

Renew online