Dog Feeding

Riparian Protect at Water Ranch

Summer season temperatures are excessive, however many parks in metro Phoenix nonetheless supply some respite from the blazing warmth. One which’s noteworthy is the Riparian Protect at Water Ranch in Gilbert. This park is a scenic and important habitat the place quite a lot of wildlife thrives in an city setting.  

The park has lush strolling trails, ramadas, gardens and an observatory. However what actually makes it particular is that it is dotted with a 5-acre lake and 7 ponds. 

Want someplace to go this weekend? Try the Riparian Protect at Water Ranch. This is every part you are able to do there.

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Gilbert's Riparian Preserve is a key attraction for out-of-state visitors.

How huge is Gilbert’s riparian protect?

The Riparian Protect at Water Ranch was inbuilt 1999 to replenish groundwater provides and help native riverside forest and wildlife habitats.

In line with town, the riparian protect covers 110 acres. Over 70 of these acres comprise seven water recharge basins which might be crammed on a rotating foundation with handled wastewater. 

This technique has created mesquite-cottonwood stands, ponds and different wetland habits for quite a lot of animals.

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Julia Gillingham (left) and Jessica Vaughan walk along a trail at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch on June 26, 2022, in Gilbert.

What animals are you able to see on the riparian protect? 

The park’s focus is Water Ranch Lake. Right here you possibly can spot geese and different waterfowl swimming about, there are fish within the lake and also you may spot a desert cottontail rabbit operating by way of the greenery that encompasses the water. 

Water Ranch Lake is surrounded by strolling trails and lots of the paths interweave all through the park’s flora and ponds. A floating boardwalk on the northern finish of the lake provides guests a scenic vista of the park and close-up views of the fish and birds on the water.

American avocets look for fish at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch on June 26, 2022, in Gilbert.

However geese aren’t the one birds to see. The wetland habitat of the Riparian Protect at Water Ranch has been designated an Essential Birding Space by The park attracts over 300 species of birds, lots of that are migratory. 

Examples of birds to search for on the protect: 

  • A wide range of geese together with northern shoveler, green-winged teal and mallard. 
  • Home finch.
  • Gila woodpecker.
  • Gambel’s quail.
  • White-winged doves.
  • Cliff swallow.
  • Yellow warbler.
  • Noticed sandpiper.
  • Anna’s hummingbird.   

Wish to spot birds with the specialists? Desert Rivers Audubon presents free fowl walks from 8 a.m. to midday on the third Saturday of the month from October by way of March. Excursions start on the Dragonfly Ramada. 

The protect additionally supplies habitat for these animals and bugs: 

  • Raccoons.
  • Desert cottontail rabbits.
  • Sonora mud turtles.
  • Dragonflies.
  • Butterflies. 
  • Bees.

For wildlife safety, guests might solely feed waterfowl. All different animal feeding is prohibited. Chances are you’ll feed fowl seed, corn or entire grain cereal to the waterfowl. 

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Gilbert Riparian Preserve

What sorts of fish are in Water Ranch Lake?

Water Ranch Lake is a part of the Arizona Recreation and Fish Group Fishing Program. Which means it is open for public fishing and is stocked with quite a lot of species. You may catch trout, catfish, bass or sunfish. Fishing is allowed any time the park is open.

Go to the Arizona Recreation and Fish web site to see the day by day catch limits for every species. All bass and sunfish have to be launched. Single barbless hooks are required. 

A fishing license is required for anglers age 10 and older. To see the license choices, buy yours on-line or discover the places of greater than 300 license sellers statewide, go to

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The observatory at Gilbert Riparian Protect 

The Riparian Protect at Water Ranch doesn’t solely have alternatives to discover on land.

Subsequent to the Gilbert Library at Greenfield and Guadalupe Roads, the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory lets guests peer on the night time sky. The observatory is owned by town and managed by the East Valley Astronomy Membership. 

Public viewing hours are from sundown to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Guests can look by way of the telescope at stars, planets, constellations and different celestial objects. Admission is free; donations are welcomed. 

Wish to convey a bunch? Personal viewing is out there Sunday by way of Thursday evenings for as much as six folks. Appointments are required. Go to and click on on Personal Viewing.

For an optimum expertise, the observatory recommends that guests chorus from utilizing flashlights or shiny lights throughout their go to. In line with the observatory’s web site, the most effective viewing is achieved when your eyes are “darkish tailored.” 

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Wild flowers are in bloom at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert on March 13, 2020.

Extra issues to do on the Riparian Protect at Water Ranch

The park’s trails are lined with academic panels that designate the vegetation and wildlife.

A pollinator backyard reveals how flowering crops rely on bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and different bugs for seed manufacturing. There are also a bee backyard,  wildflower backyard and butterfly backyard.

All through the protect there are viewing areas, lots of that are in shade, which might be excellent for fowl watching and stress-free. 

There is a play space for teenagers, and restrooms can be found.  

Canine are welcome on the riparian protect. They have to be on a leash.

Are you able to picnic on the riparian protect?

The protect has two picnic ramadas, every with 4 tables and a grill. Ramada leases value $15 per hour for Gilbert residents and $22.50 per hour for nonresidents. To order a ramada, go to the Gilbert Parks and Recreation web site. 

There are also picnic tables and benches scattered all through the park which might be first come, first served, and free to all. 

Are you able to camp at Riparian Protect?

Three group campsites can be found. All are on the water and have views of the marshlands.

Small campsites can maintain as much as 20 campers and value  $30 an evening for Gilbert residents and $45 for nonresidents. Giant campsites can maintain as much as 35 campers and value $40 an evening for Gilbert residents and $60 for nonresidents. 

To order a campsite, go to the Gilbert Parks and Recreation web page. 

Riparian Protect at Water Ranch

When: Park hours are 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Trails are open daybreak to nightfall. 

The place: Riparian Protect at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Highway, Gilbert.

Admission: Free. 

Particulars: 480-503-6263, 

You possibly can join with Arizona Republic Tradition and Outside Reporter Shanti Lerner by way of e mail at  or you too can comply with her on Twitter. 

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