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Stewart Mountain Dam and Saguaro Lake

Stewart Mountain Dam is named after the Old Stewart Ranch, which used to be located nearby. It forms Saguaro Lake, set in the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by canyon walls.

One of three powerful, historic dams

Stewart Mountain Dam is a concrete thin-arch dam built between 1928 and 1930. It stands 212 feet high and 583 feet long and is home to a 13,000-kilowatt (kW) hydroelectric generating unit.

It’s also one-third of a power-generating trio of dams that helped elevate SRP’s capabilities in the early days of our history.

Stewart Mountain Dam was the last of three dams built between 1923 and 1930. With its completion, along with Mormon Flat and Horse Mesa dams, SRP's hydropower generating capacity more than doubled and control of irrigation releases was greatly improved.*

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

All in all, this trio of dams helped SRP gain new strength in power generation, water storage and finances, all while delivering a reliable supply of water to the Valley.

It also formed Saguaro Lake, the last, but certainly not least, of the reservoirs to be built on the Salt River.

Things to do at Saguaro Lake

Discover why Saguaro Lake is one of the most popular recreation sites in Tonto National Forest.

Stay overnight

Step back in time and stay the night at the Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch – a place that once served as a residence and chow hall for workers building the dam.

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Go hiking

Explore the Stewart Dam Petroglyphs Trail for a combination of ancient art and the dam's modern architecture, along with amazing views of the Sonoran Desert.

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Get in the water

Saguaro Lake has more than 22 miles of shoreline, so there are plenty of places to boat, swim, kayak, jet ski and sail. Make sure to check water levels as they affect water quality.

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Cast your line

Anglers will find rainbow trout, several types of bass, crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, walleye and more.

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Go camping

Find boat access-only camping on Saguaro Lake at Bagley Flat, where you can camp in one of the 10 designated sites. Grills and tables are provided.

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Take a cruise

Take a narrated sightseeing tour of the lake aboard the Desert Belle, a double decker boat with air conditioning, snacks and a bar.

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Enjoy Saguaro Lake responsibly

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

Official Arizona Boating Safety Course Online

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Watercraft Rules & Regulations

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Renew Your Watercraft Registration Online

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