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Alamo Lake State Park is a part of a 4,900-acre park, which sits at an elevation of 1.100 feet. It is located on the Bill Williams River about 30 miles before it empties into the Colorado River. “Alamo” means cottonwood in Spanish and the lake definitely lives up to its name. There are cottonwoods even lurking under the waters of the lake. The Rawhide and Buckskin Mountains make a great backdrop to the lake. Alamo Lake is a transition area between the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts.
The lake waters cover the site of Alamo Crossing, which was a mining camp long ago. The camp had a supply store and a post office for prospectors. The post office eventually closed in 1918. The Army Corps of Engineers built Alamo Lake in 1968 as flood control and conservation dam. The dam rises 283 feet above the streambed and backs up a reservoir of water.
Visitors will want to stop in at the Visitor Center, before deciding on the many outdoor activities the lake has to offer. There is outstanding fishing, hiking, wildlife watching and camping. Swimming is not recommended, due to brush and trees making it hazardous. The Visitor Center also has information of wildlife and the geology of the area.
Even though the lake levels vary, fishing is ideal. The lake has large-mouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The marina store is well stocked for fishermen and boat rentals are available. There is also a boat-launching ramp. Many anglers say that this is one of the best fishing lakes in Arizona.
Those who come to view the wildlife won’t be disappointed. Quail, deer, coyote, burros, squirrels and bald eagles are just some of the animals that make Alamo Lake their home. Large flocks of birds visit the lake because it is the only permanent water for miles around. The bald eagles have a nesting site at the upper part of the lake. Nature lovers will appreciate the area’s representation of unique features of the Sonoran Desert.
Camping is available all year round. There are 250 campsites, which range from underdeveloped tent sites to full RV hook-ups. Campers will find restrooms with flush toilets, a dump station and hot showers. There are picnic shelters that make the camping experience fun. The cost for a nightly campsite ranges between $8.00 and $10.00 and RV hook-up sites are $15.00. No reservations are taken; all campsites are available on a first come first serve basis.
The Visitor Center has varying hours, so please call ahead to find out. The cost of admission to the park is $4.00 per vehicle and $1.00 per individual or bicycle. Visitors can also purchase three other forms of entrance passes for Arizona State Parks. Prices depend on length of stay. The 5-day visit pass is $15.00, the Limited Day-Use pass is $35.00 and the Unlimited Day-Use pass is $65.00. These passes do not include camping fees. For more information and prices for camping call 520-669-2088.
You can get to Alamo Lake State Park from Wickenburg by taking State Highway 60 west out of town to the turn off for the lake. The road out to Alamo Lake is 38 miles paved. If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson take Interstate 17 north out of town. Once you have come to State Highway 74, just outside of Phoenix take it west. When State Highway 74 runs into State Highway 60, take it north to Wickenburg. You will continue through town following State Highway 60 on out heading west. Continue on State Highway 60 out to the turn off for the lake. If you are coming from Flagstaff and would like to take a scenic route to Wickenburg, you will take Highway 89A south out of town. You will pass through Sedona, Cottonwood and into Prescott. Once in Prescott take Highway 89 southwest out of town passing through Peeples Valley. When Highway 89 meets State Highway 93 take it south to Wickenburg. Once you are in Wickenburg, you will take State Highway 60 west out of town. You will continue on State Highway 60 out to the turn off for the lake.