Well I finally overcame my depression at being transferred from the Adirondacks to Southern Arizona and spent last weekend in frantic search of a place to kayak. I found Patagonia Lake on a state park map and decided to give it a try. While southern Arizona offers little in the way of "big water" this small lake at 5400 feet of altitude has many charms that make it a worthwhile day trip.
Launching from the marina, you will float under a beautiful wooden rainbow bridge. From there I turned south and followed the shoreline. While the lake seems small in size (there is no way you will ever be more than 300 meters from the shoreline), it is extremely interesting as the many small canyons around this lake make a trip around the circumference of this lake about a five mile paddle. Beautiful red rock formations surround this area, and rare birds are prolific in this area. I personally saw two kingfishers, three Great Blue Herons, a Brown Heron, Ruby Throated hummingbirds, and a species of black duck that I couldn't identify but it found my bright orange paddles very interesting and followed me around the lake. I also saw some wild pigs (Peccaries) on the shoreline foraging.
Overall it was a very satisfying paddle and I look forward to navigating some more desert canyons in the area.
There is a nice campground with electric hookups and shower facilities on site.
I paid a $7.00 fee to park for the day, but that was the only fee required.
From Tucson take 1-10 East to HWY 83 south to HWY 82. On HWY 82 proceed seven miles past the town of Patagonia. Park entrance is on the right side of the highway.