Lake Pleasant


Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a large outdoors recreation area straddling the Maricopa and Yavapai county border northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The park is located within the municipal boundaries of Peoria, Arizona, and serves as a major recreation hub for the northwest Phoenix metropolitan area.

The cornerstone of the park is the 10,000-acre (16 sq mi; 40 km2), Lake Pleasant, one of the important artificial reservoirs surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area. Created by the Carl Pleasant Dam, which was finished in 1927, and upon completion, was the largest multi-arch dam in the world. The lake originally had a surface area of 3,700 acres (5.8 sq mi; 15 km2) and served as a private irrigation project. At 76 ft (23 m) high and 2,160 ft (660 m) long, the original Carl Pleasant Dam was, at its completion, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County.

Construction of the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which began in 1973, soon diverted water from the Colorado River to the lake, converting the lake from an agricultural project into a storage reservoir for the project. Completed in 1994, the New Waddell Dam tripled the surface area of the lake, submerging the old dam beneath its waters. Shortly after the completion of the dam, the area experienced a prolonged drought, and while the lake grew considerably it would not reach full capacity until early 2005. Although still fed by the Agua Fria River, the CAP aqueduct is the primary source of water for the reservoir.

Lake Pleasant is used as a major water sports recreation center for the Phoenix metro area, as well as serving as an important storage reservoir for the rapidly growing region. A number of boat docks and beach access make the lake a popular destination for scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and other water sports.

The lake has been plagued by a number of deaths over the years, and Arizona authorities have from time to time called for caution when at Lake Pleasant because of a number of reasons, including rising waters and carbon monoxide in the area.