Cruising on the Dolly Steamboat

Written by on August 8, 2014 in AZ Attractions - Comments Off on Cruising on the Dolly Steamboat

Arizona is blistering hot in the summer. Daytime temperatures generally remain above 100 degrees from June through mid September. So folks in the Phoenix area are always Looking for a way to cool down. Nestled in the heart of the Superstition Mountains in spectacular Canyon Lake, and the Dolly Steamboat which sails its waters is one answers to the heat.

Known as the Junior Grand Canyon of Arizona, Canyon Lake flows between towering cliffs with secluded coves and hidden caverns. It is not uncommon to see bighorn sheep, coyote, deer, bobcats, mountain lions, as well as bald eagles and hawks from the decks of the steamboat, so be sure to bring your camera and binoculars. President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Apache Trail and surrounding areas a national treasure and described the area as having the grandeur of the Alps, the glory of the Rockies and the magnificence of the Grand Canyon.

The Dolly Steamboat, got is name from the original owners Dolly and Paul Kennedy. They started tours on the boat in 1983. Today, the Grimh Family has been running operations for 25 years. The Dolly carries 142 passengers with a crew of 3, is 103 feet long and has a beam of 20 feet. It is powered by twin 225 HP John Deere marine diesel engines.

There are several wonderful tour options to choose from. The Nature Tour (offered daily) gets you up close and personal with the beauty and grandeur of the Sonoran Desert and the Superstition Mountains. Guests are nearly always going to see the desert bighorn sheep (they love the steep cliffs and the proximity to water) as well as a variety of waterfowl. Other creatures are more illusive, but can be spotted from time to time. The warm red tones of the soaring canyon walls sport a variety of desert plants including saguaro, octillo, salt brush, creasote bushes, palo verde, ironwood and more. In Spring, the canyon walls come to life with a variety of wildflowers, but any time of year the trip is stunning.

Several other cruise options aboard the Dolly Steamer include the weekly Twilight Dinner Cruise, where you will enjoy an amazing buffet as you watch the walls of the canyon glow like amber gems in the setting sun. Main entrees vary by night but can include tender filet mignon, succulent prime rib, tangy barbecue ribs or charbroiled rib eye steaks or a tasty vegetarian pasta. Then once each month, you can enjoy the Twilight Astronomy Dinner Cruise, hosted by astronomy expert and radio personality Dr. Sky. Throughout the year, the Dolly also offers special cruises like the Caroling Cruise and the Parade of Lights Dinner Cruise. The Dolly is also available for charter for parties, corporate events, weddings and more.

The series of lakes created by Roosevelt Dam, starting with Roosevelt Lake (the largest) is part of the Salt River Project (water storage, usage and power generation). Roosevelt Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake and Apache Lake all have great beaches and water access to for boats, so once you are done on the Dolly Steamboat, stop at one of the beaches and cool off in crystal blue waters under an endless sky.

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