Arivaca Lake Wildlife Viewing Area
Arivaca Lake is located just outside of Arivaca Arizona, about 50 miles south of Tucson [N31° 31’25”; W11° 15’15”]. It is accessed along the Ruby Road which is one of the most scenic drives in the Nogales District of the Coronado National Forest. At about at about 3800 feet elevation, it comprises a 90 acre reservoir lake surrounded by grasslands and rocky out-croppings. The site is primitive to many, offering only a toilet and one single lane boat ramp. But to others, its remoteness and primitiveness offer a peaceful less crowded place to sit back and relax or go fishing, rock climbing or wildlife viewing.
Recreational Opportunities: Arivaca Lake is best known for fishing, but it has great canoeing, small sail boating, wildlife viewing and rock climbing opportunities as well.
Directions: Take the Amado Road exit off of Interstate 19, and head west to the town of Arivaca. Turn south out of Arivaca on Forest Road 216 for about a mile and then turn east on Forest Road 39. Continue on FR 39 for about 5 miles and then turn onto a road that goes left (east) and follow this to the lake.
Scenic: Take Ruby Road exit off Interstate 19 and head set to Arivaca. Turn south out of Arivaca onto Forest Road 216 and continue for about 1 mile. Then head east on Forest Road 39 about 5 miles and take a road that turns left (east) and follow that to the lake.
Park Entrance Fee: None
Fishing and Boating: Fishing can be done from shore or from boats. A single lane boat ramp is available. Power boats are limited to 10 hp gas or electric trolling motors. Average depth of the lake is 28ft but this can vary in dry years. Fish species present are channel catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass. The lake is stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and a valid Arizona fishing license is required. Consult fishing laws for seasons and limits.
Camping: Primitive camping is allowed year-round. There is no picnic tables, water or garbage pickup. You must bring what you need and take it back out with you. A toilet is available.
Hiking: Hiking around the lake perimeter is encouraged. However the vicinity is home to a number of cattle ranches so take this into consideration if you wonder from the lake area.
Wildlife Viewing: Arivaca Lake is known for bird watching. The lake attracts hawks, eagles and ospreys as well as numerous aquatic bird species. You could also see canyon wrens, white breasted nuthatches, eastern phoebes, flycatchers and lark sparrows. Animals that frequent the lake include whitetail deer, mule deer, javalina, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and jack and cottontail rabbits.
Summer temperatures can be in the 100s so take plenty of water. Also take plenty of bug repellent since the lake side habitats can harbor mosquitoes.
Management: Arivaca Lake is managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.