Roosevelt Lake, Arizona, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Southwest - Arizona - North Central -

Also known as:  Theodore Roosevelt Lake, Lake Roosevelt

With 21,500 acres at full pond and 128 miles of shoreline, Roosevelt Lake is the largest body of water contained entirely within Arizona; the larger Lakes Powell, Mead, and Mojave cross Arizona’s borders with other states. Roosevelt Lake is impounded by the Roosevelt Dam – the world’s tallest dam early in the 20th century.

Little commercial activity surrounds Lake Roosevelt; recreation is its reason to be. Located two hours northeast of Phoenix by car, Roosevelt Lake is a welcoming destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Camping, fishing, boating (including water-skiing and jet skiing), swimming, hiking, climbing, hunting, picnicking, photography, and the mountain and desert scenery share most visitors’ to-do lists. Winter months bring migratory birds; eagles and osprey are most visitors’ favorites.

The junction of Tonto Creek and the Salt River were the center of construction of Roosevelt Dam in 1903. Some major floods slowed construction progress. Roosevelt Dam was completed in 1911, providing water storage for the Salt River Project, flood control for the Salt River Valley, and hydropower generation. The dam contributed more to the settlement of central Arizona than any other dam in the state.

At their completion in 1911, both the dam and the resulting reservoir were dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt, and named in his honor. At construction completion, Roosevelt Dam was the largest masonry dam in the world, and impounded the world’s largest artificial reservoir. A dam improvement project in 1996 increased Roosevelt Lake’s water storage capacity by 20% by raising Roosevelt Dam’s height to 357 feet.

Many visitors bring their own boats to Roosevelt Lake. Launch sites include Indian Point, Roosevelt Marina, Cholla Recreation Site, Windy Hill, Grapevine and Schoolhouse. Roosevelt Marina, under contract to Tonto National Forest, provides boat rentals and fishing/camping supplies to its visitors. Rental boats range from 16-foot fishing skiffs to 24-foot deck boats.

Fishing is a popular Roosevelt Lake activity. There are many secluded coves and inlets that beckon angling enthusiasts. Game fish include crappie in the springtime, flathead and channel catfish, sunfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Camping is popular for anglers and for other outdoor enthusiasts. 700 developed camp sites include tables, fire rings with grills, shade ramadas, toilets and showers. Most are near boat ramps. Five undeveloped day-use fee sites include trash receptacles, portable toilets, and shoreline boat launching. Some small isolated islands and coves provide great opportunities for camping and relaxing in the unique Sonoran Desert environment. Geocachers can typically find more than a dozen caches within 10 miles of Lake Roosevelt.

Roosevelt Lake delights visitors looking for peace and quiet – with the added benefits of superb stargazing, desert scenery, and communing with nature. It offers some of Arizona’s best water-based recreation.

Things to do at Roosevelt Lake AZ

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Roosevelt Lake AZ

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish

Roosevelt Lake AZ Photo Gallery

Roosevelt Lake AZ Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Salt River Project

Surface Area: 21,493 acres

Shoreline Length: 128 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,144 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 2,217 feet

Average Depth: 188 feet

Maximum Depth: 349 feet

Water Volume: 1,653,043 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1911

Drainage Area: 5,830 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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