Roper Lake State Park, Safford, AZ

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Louise Speaks:  Seeing that we only visited one attraction today, we arrived at our camping spot rather early.  This is a good thing.  We had never been to Roper Lake State Park before so we were excited to get here.  This makes our 20th state park and one that you can camp at.  What a great place.  The RV spots are huge and are truly on the lake, of course many of my family and friends in Canada would call it a pond.  Each RV spot comes with it’s own covered Ramada with picnic table so you can be in the shade.  There is a swimming beach and electric boat motors are allowed.  The lake is stocked with bass and trout.  The park is an excellent place for bird watching. This state park even has small cabins to rent if you don’t have an RV and you’re not into tenting.  However, the cabins have beds and air conditioning but that’s about it.  There is an outdoor cooking area with a huge BBQ and restrooms and showers are close by.  The cabins come with a porch swing that faces the lake and of course one of Arizona’s famous sunsets.

Roper Lake sits on a natural hot springs.  This was discovered many years back and as a result they made a natural hot springs hot tub…very unusual for a state park.  It is small and only gets to about 92 degrees, but is very pleasant in both winter and summer.  As with most state parks there are many nature hiking trails throughout the park and around the lake.  The swimming beach is off a peninsula off one of the camping loops.  They have an outside shower for rinsing off once you come in from the water.  The shower is unique as it is shaped into a cactus…so Arizona.  There are Ramadas and picnic BBQ grills throughout the beach area.  The beach comes complete with beach sand and palm trees.  Today is a very VERY windy day so we didn’t even test the water, but looks like a great place to cool off in the heat of the summer.  We are told that temperatures can climb to as high as 120 degrees during the summer months.

For a number of years, Graham County had been working with its legislators to have a State Park in their county. In 1972, HB 2150 authorized the acquisition of Roper Lake as a State Park.  Although it wasn’t that easy to make Roper Lake a state park.  Much engineering and negotiations took place before things became official.  The main part of the Park, located around Roper Lake, was developed in the early 1960’s as a private recreation area.  The lake and the property were sold to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in 1969 so it really couldn’t become a state park…the state didn’t own it.  State Parks began negotiations with the Game and Fish Department to secure an acceptable agreement wherein State Parks would operate and manage Roper Lake.  Finally on December 31, 1974, Roper Lake State Park became official.  The Park opened to the public in March 1975 but was nothing compared to what it is today.

Roper Lake offers a park store that has books, clothing, children’s toys, flora and fauna guides, fishing equipment and bait.  The Visitor Center is open year round and features a gift shop, local area information, Junior Ranger programs, and restrooms.    This is a great State Park.  All the amenities are very easily accessible and everything is just a short walk away.  Although the weather wasn’t the greatest during our four day stay, we still enjoyed the park.  It is being put on our list as a park to come back to and maybe spend a week.  Roper Lake State Park gets an A rating, and we will be back.



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