Best Urban Kayaking (2011)

Dobson Ranch

Metro Phoenix is an urban kayaker's dream — if you don't mind ignoring a few posted signs and are willing to drag your 'yak a couple of yards down to the shore, that is. Case in point, the lakes of Mesa's Dobson Ranch neighborhood. These pretty little canals loop around for several miles, giving pleasant views of nice homes and cute little parks. Technically, you're doing just a teensy-weensy bit of trespassing if you paddle without permission. And since you probably don't pay HOA dues, you don't, in the strictest sense, have permission. Don't be a sissy — so long as you don't appear to be casing the houses, no one is gonna notice you're poaching their water. Hey, it's not like this is the similarly devised 'hoods of The Lakes in Tempe or The Islands of Gilbert, where strangers can actually raise a few eyebrows. Folks are chill in the DOB, man. Drop in from one of the grassy parks tucked into corner lots along the snake-shaped lakes. If someone on a pontoon boat asks what you're doing, keep paddling. If they ask again, say you're visiting your friend Tom over on Javelina Street. What do you mean you don't know Tom? He used to be the president of the HOA. He draws a lot of water in these parts, buddy!


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