Dolly Steamboat cruise in Tortilla Flat, Arizona

One of the best ways to take in the beauty of Southern Arizona’s gorgeous landscapes during the hot summer season is by taking a relaxing, scenic cruise around gorgeous Canyon Lake. It would be a mistake to visit the Phoenix area and not take time to enjoy the amazing Sonoran desert, home to the beautifully unique Saguaro Cactus. There are several cruise companies in the area, Dolly Steamboat being one of your options.

A beautiful Saguaro cactus seen from the Dolly Steamboat cruise in Southern Arizona

In terms of scenic outdoor adventures in the Phoenix area, hiking is the way to go. Unfortunately, the brutal summer months often make outdoor activities like hiking impossible. While hiking is the best way to get up close to the various forms of desert plant life, a cruise is a nice alternative when the temps soar well into the 100’s.

The drive itself to the Dolly Steamboat along the gorgeous Apache Trail Scenic Drive (the entire drive is pretty long, however, you will get to enjoy about 16 miles of great scenery) is as beautiful as the cruise itself. Plan extra time for the curvy ride which slowly travels through the scenic Superstition mountains. The drive is quiet and very beautiful with unending views of cacti and mountains.

Beautiful mountain and cacti views along the Apache Trail Scenic Drive in Southern Arizona
Beautfiul views of the mountains on the scenic Apache Trail Scenic Drive in Southern Arizona
Scenic lake and mountain views on the Apache Trail Scenic Drive in Southern Arizona

The Dolly Steamboat

While Dolly Steamboat is not the best cruise option in Southern Arizona (the Desert Belle offers better narration, scenery, and seating), it’s still an enjoyable ride. Fantastic views offered at a fairly affordable price. The 2 deck boat features a covered upper deck, air conditioned lower deck, and a cash snack and drink bar.

Although you may think the air conditioned lower deck is the best option, the covered outdoor deck (or simply standing) will provide you with the best possible views. In addition, it gets pretty breezy once you start moving, so as long as you stay out of direct sunlight you should be fine.

The cruise

Along the 1 hour and a half cruise, you will take in great views of Canyon lake, along with the Superstition Mountains and various rock formations. The only downside is the cramped seating. Guests are seated accordingly to order of arrival, so if you get there last you may be stuck with more views of the staircase than the beautiful lake (as in our case). At first we were very dissapointed with our obstructed view. However, we decided just to stand outside the entire journey, which provided us with the best views.

Gorgeous views of Canyon Lake from the Dolly Steamboat cruise in Southern Arizona