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“Canyon Lake/Dolly Steamboat” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolly Steamboat

Dolly Steamboat
16802 North East Hwy 88, Apache Junction, AZ 85219
480-827-9144
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Type: Bodies of Water, Outdoors
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Attraction details
Owner description: If you want to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening looking at the beautiful flora and fauna of the lower Sonoran Desert, consider a cruise on the secluded inner waterways of the Junior Grand Canyon on Canyon Lake. We offer narrated nature cruises, twilight dinner cruises and astronomy cruises.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Canyon Lake/Dolly Steamboat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

At the foot of the Apache Trail is Canyon Lake, one of 4 reservoirs created from the Rio Salado, in the gorgeous Superstition Mountains is Dolly Steamboat, an hour and a half ride through the most beautiful mountains and canyons in the entire Phoenix valley. (Theodore Roosevelt thought it was one of the most beautiful places on earth.)

The boat ride provides commentary about the geology and history of the area. It is covered to protect from the elements, with windows that open wide, as well as open front and back decks. It has a snack bar, bathrooms; seating is plentiful. And nature puts on a wonderful show with beautiful vistas and the possibility of seeing wildlife. We saw an eagles nest with babies clamoring for food. Be sure to make reservations.

There is a restaurant at the dock that looked like a pleasant place to eat and wait for the cruise.

If you have time continue 2 miles further on to Tortilla Flat, a quirky "town" consisting of a gift shop, saloon and restaurant. The food at the restaurant is only mediocre but it's worth it to see it.

Visited April 2013
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English first
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“We were lucky to see so many sheep”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

I too recommend reservations and binoculars. We enjoyed our wait for the 4 pm cruise, as the 2 o'clock was full, wandering the docks and having dessert, but we would have been disappointed had we not been able to go.

The trip is smooth with enjoyable scenery. What made ours so special was the sight of a large group of mountain sheep running as fast as they could and then going straight up the side of the mountain. They were fairly low and we could see them quite clearly.

The people on the top deck swore they also clearly saw a bobcat almost get one of the sheep. That was what sent them scurrying. Jealous that we missed that, but still grateful to see the sheep so clearly on the move.

I know there are no guarantees of seeing something like this, but eagles and sheep are regularly seen on the boat ride. An excellent way to spend an afternoon.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Nice river ride, I recommend getting reservations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

Nice scenic ride with good narration I recommend getting reservations the early ride may have room but the afternoon fill's up

Visited April 2013
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Olympia, WA
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Enoyable-especially using trip advisor tips”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

We enjoyed this relaxing cruise a lot--slow meandering trip. We went on a 4pm sailing and saw eagles and sheep. They are certainly viewed from a long distance but a good camera can pick them up. Warnibg, teens who don't find boat rides novel might be bored. Don't go on this just to see wildlife--there's not that much, but the cliffs and cacti are pretty. We really recommend you understand a little about it before you go. First, if you are prone to motion sickness, the ride is very calm, except for an occasional jet skier which creates a little wake. BUT the drive up is a twisting mountain road, so be prepared. That being said, the drive is beautiful with many photo ops, and in April we saw tons of wildflowers. Second, make reservations AND get in line early for your boarding pass. Reservations and paying early do not secure your spot to board earlier-even if you've paid. Also know that they board folks with special needs (and their families) first, so even if you have number 15 you are probably number 30. Nothing to get fired up about, just part of the loading process. Why do you care? Because third, you should try to sit on the right side of the boat for the best view of the scenery-the boat cruises closest to this side. Even if you can't be on the outside decks, undercover is fine. The windows are open and you can take most photos easily enough. There are snacks and drinks on board and reasonably priced. And if you've come this far,go see tortilla flats too (the restaurant closes early (around 6). We had a great lunch at the restaurant. Thanks to prior reviewers who improved our experience!

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
upstate,new york
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Beautiful ride”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

We did the desert belle a few years ago and this one by far was better.We got so close to the shore and the caption was exceptional with the explainations.The crew was there to answer questions.The rid was 90 minutes and flew by.We will do this with every visit.The ride there is beautiful as well.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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