Recently I took a leisurely ride on Saguaro Lake on the Desert Belle paddle boat. It is a clean, modern vessel with room for more than 140 passengers. There are two levels. The lower level is enclosed and air-conditioned. The upper level has a canopy cover making summer rides possible. There are a few seats in the front of the boat that have no cover at all and afford the best view of where the boat is headed.
Although previously conducted with an older, smaller and heavier boat, these narrated tours of Saguaro Lake have been taking place since 1964. Passengers learn about the desert, the lakes, the mountains, the flora and the fauna from the Captain (not a recording) as the 90-minute tour takes them about 5 miles into the lake and back.
Saguaro Lake is one of the lakes closest to the Greater Phoenix area, near the northeast part of Mesa, Arizona. It is close to another popular local attraction, Salt River Tubing at the Salt River Recreation Area. While tubing is for the more adventurous of us, a ride on the Desert Belle at Saguaro Lake is perfect for people who aren't interested in getting wet and don't want to expend too much energy
Do you have pictures?
When does Desert Belle operate?
The Desert Belle operates all year long, rain or shine. There are midday, afternoon and sunset cruises. From time to time, there may be special party or music-related cruises. Of course, the Desert Belle is available for charter for special occasions.
Where is it?
The Desert Belle cruises Saguaro Lake in Mesa. Here is a map with an address and directions. You should plan to be there at least 15 minutes early if you have advance tickets.
How do I get tickets and how much are they?You may purchase tickets:
- in advance online, with a credit card.
- in advance by phone, with a credit card, to 480-984-2425 or 877-749-2848.
- at the ticket booth at Saguaro Lake, cash or checks only.
Prices for the narrated tours include tax (May 2014):
13 Years and older: $20
Children 5 - 12: $10
4 and under: free
Advanced boarding tickets are available at a higher price.
There is no charge to park. Although you'll see signs that refer to a Recreation Pass, you don't need one for this boat ride. Park in the lot next to the restaurant.
Are discounts available?
There is a discount for a group of 10 or more adults on a cruise.
What else should I know?
Children 12 and under are required by law to wear a life vest for the duration of the trip. If you have a life vest for your child, you may bring it. If not, one will be provided.
There is a full-service restaurant at the Saguaro Lake Marina here. The Lakeshore Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days per week. It isn't upscale dining, but there is a fairly extensive menu of reasonably priced food. There is outdoor seating overlooking the marina. I have some more tips for you on the next page.
What if I have more questions?
For more information, contact the Desert Belle at 480-984-2425 or 877-749-2848 or visit Desert Belle online.
Next Page >> 10 Things To Know Before You Go
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.