Top 10 Places to Beat the Heat in the Southwest

Written by on June 23, 2017 in The Southwest - 1 Comment

Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and even parts of Colorado are notorious for smoking hot summer temperatures. Luckily, there are some great places to beat the heat and enjoy the beauty of nature. Here are our top 10 picks, in no particular order, to cool off!

1. Lake Havasu State Park (Arizona)
Just outside of Lake Havasu City in Western Arizona, Lake Havasu is one of the most popular water-lovers location in Arizona. Its scenic shoreline is an ideal place to enjoy beautiful beaches, nature trails, boat ramps, and convenient campsites, as well as fishing, skiing, kayaking and houseboating.

2. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona/Nevada)
On the Arizona/Nevada border, Lake Mead offers terrific camping, water skiing, boating, houseboat rentals, swimming and hiking is permitted. The quiet, stark beauty of the Mojave Desert, with its dramatically exposed geology and the surprising abundance of specially adapted plant and animals, offers a variety of experiences for everyone. One neat hike is through the five abandoned tunnels, following the railroad bed where trains once hauled the materials for building Hoover Dam.

3. Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Arizona/Utah)
Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Recreation Area stretches hundreds of miles from Lees Ferry in Arizona to the Orange Cliffs of southern Utah. It is the second largest man-made lake in the United States. All water sports permitted. With 1.2 million acres of golden cliffs, lush hanging gardens, impossibly narrow slot canyons, and the brilliant blue of Lake Powell at the heart of the canyon, there are amazing things to see and do in Glen Canyon.

4. The Lower Salt River (Arizona)
Located near Mesa, Arizona, the Salt River offers terrific spots to go tubing. Salt River Tubing and Recreation company offers all day adventures for $15 rental. You park your vehicle, take a bus to a higher elevation of the river, rent inner tubes, and float down the river.

5. Taylor Park Reservoir (Colorado)
Nestled in a gorgeous valley and surrounded by 14,000 foot peaks, Taylor Park Reservoir is a fisherman’s dream. It also happens to be an outstanding vacation experience nestled as it is in the Collegiate Peaks. At an elevation of 9,300 feet, during the summer months the sky is shocking blue, the air is light and crisp and a gentle breeze ruffles the water. Insect sing soft songs, the wind sings through the pines and the breeze carries the scent of sun-warmed sap. In the winter, the open valley offers outstanding cross-country skiing and snowmobiling opportunities, but beware, it is really cold up there in the winter months!

6. Curecanti National Recreation Area (Colordo)
Sparkling blue waters, soaring mountains, needle spires and pristine wilderness — these words capture the natural wonder of Curecanti National Recreation Area in Southwestern Colorado. At the heart of Curecanti is a trio of reservoirs along the Gunnison River. Blue Mesa Dam, situated just above the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is at the head of a 9,000 acre lake — the largest lake in the state of Colorado. Morrow Point Reservoir is next in the chain of lakes, followed by Crystal Reservoir. The three dams (Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal Dam) provide plenty of hydroelectric for southwestern Colorado.

7. Navajo Lake (New Mexico)
Located in northwestern New Mexico (and into parts of southwestern Colorado), Navajo Lake is the second largest lake in the state. Two shoreline areas near the dam in New Mexico are part of the Navajo Lake State Park, featuring over 200 camping and picnic sites, and two improved boat ramps and a marina. With 15,000 surface acres, it offers outdoor activities of all kinds. In summer, it is a spectacular place to beat the heat and water temperatures rise into the 80s.

8. Elephant Butte Reservoir/Elephant Butte Lake State Park (New Mexico)
Encompassing the largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte Lake State Park provides camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking and bird watching. The visitor center offers regional information and interpretive exhibits. Southern New Mexico’s mild climate makes this park a popular year-round destination. Elephant Butte Reservoir, created by a dam constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande, is 40 miles long with more than 200 miles of shoreline.

9. Utah Lake State Park (Utah)
Utah Lake is a large freshwater lake that is popular for boating, watersports and fishing. Canoeing is popular on the lower Provo River, where it enters the lake. The park here offers very nice campsites and picnic areas. The area is adjacent to Provo City and very close to Salt Lake City, and is an ideal place for an afternoon getaway or overnight escape.

10. Flaming Gorge Reservoir (Utah)
On the border of Utah and Wyoming Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is filled with stunning scenery; green hills, red rock mountains and clear waters. Steep crimson-colored walls give the gorge its most appropriate name and capture the waters of the Green River into a Flaming Gorge Lake — a reservoir that extends for 91 miles. The blue-green jewel tones of the water and the flaming gorge walls are set amidst hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and hills in the Ashley National Forest.

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One Comment on "Top 10 Places to Beat the Heat in the Southwest"

  1. Scott Saunders July 22, 2017 at 12:47 pm ·

    Utah Lake and the Jordan River, flowing into Utah Lake are closed now, (Summer 2017), because of algae infection. dangerous, neurotoxic algal bloom that has closed Utah Lake to the public is spreading to nearby waterways, officials say.

    The bacteria, which can affect brain and liver function, spread to the Jordan River and lower Little Cottonwood Creek, as well as nearby canals, officials say.

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