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Town Lake Fast Facts

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  • Concept for lake created in 1966 at Arizona State University
  • Opened Nov. 7, 1999
  • 220 surface acres – 2 miles long 
  •  800-1,200 feet wide
  • Average depth 12.5 feet, ranging from 7 to 19 feet
  • Initial Construction costs: $45,532,196
  • Private developers are absorbing $26.9 million of these costs


  • Capacity is about 3,000 acre-feet or 977 million gallons
  • Water to keep the lake full comes from reclaimed water, recharge and recovery and water exchanges
  • Water quality is maintained by keeping the water well mixed, proper aeration and chemical controls
    The lake does not lose water to seepage, thanks to a recovery system that pumps water back into the lake
  • Evaporation costs Town Lake about the same amount of water used by two golf courses each year or consumed by an 1,000-acre alfalfa field

Flood Control

  • Town Lake can sustain more than the impact of a 100-year flood event
  • In the event of a 100-year flood, the steel gate dam that creates Town Lake would be lowered and water would remain within the river channel
  • Once storm water passes through, the gates are raised and the river becomes a lake again.

Pathways at Town Lake

  • More than 5 miles of paths around the lake for skating, running, bicycling and walking
  • Paths can take pedestrians and bicyclists to Tempe Marketplace, Mill Avenue, the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt, Papago Park and toward downtown Phoenix
  • Crossing the lake can be accomplished using the Mill Avenue, Pedestrian Bridge at Tempe Center for the Arts or Rural Road bridges
  • Many non-profit groups use these paths each year for 5K and 10K races and triathlons


  • More than 2,000 rowers use Town Lake each year. Take a class and be one of them
  • Sail, row a dragon boat or outrigger canoe with one of the many other boating clubs
  • Visitors may bring their own boats to Town Lake after purchasing a permit


  • More than a dozen varieties of fish swim in Town Lake, including bass, sunfish and catfish -- and Town Lake has among the best catch rates in the state
  • Thousands of rainbow trout are stocked in cooler months
  • Fishing is permitted with a standard Arizona Fishing license available at sporting goods stores

Tempe Beach Park

  • Tempe’s oldest park, built in 1931
  • Completely renovated in 1999 in conjunction with Town Lake construction
  • Offers 25 acres of recreation space for everyone
  • Tempe's largest special event venue, Splash Playground, historic baseball field

Tempe Center for the Arts

  • Community visual and performing arts center at the southwestern edge of Town Lake
  • 600-seat theater
  • 200-seat studio
  • Gallery for fine and contemporary art exhibitions
  • Meeting rooms overlooking Town Lake
  • for schedule of events, facility rentals and other information

Town Lake Marina

  • Town Lake Marina includes five lanes of boat launches, boat storage, parking, a safe
    harbor and a park for concerts and events
  • A Welcome Center and Boat House is planned adjacent to Town Lake Marina 
  • Many of Tempe's boating programs operate from Town Lake Marina
  • Boat storage is available at Town Lake Marina for a fee

Business and Development

  • Companies located on Town Lake include Smith Barney, KPMG, Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank, US Airways and many more 
  • Hayden Ferry Lakeside – Two commercial towers and condominium living on the south side of Tempe Town Lake. A third office building, a hotel and additional living space is planned
  • Northshore -- A WestStone Communities mid-rise condominium project on the north side of Town Lake
  • Grigio – Five star apartment living with concierge services
  • Playa del Norte – A mixed use project with an Aloft hotel, office and restaurant space
  • Development sites are still available on Town Lake. Contact Tempe Economic Development at for project information, maps and demographics