Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort River Design

Chandler, AZ


PACE designed a 1.5-mile replica of the Gila River that meanders along Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort’s entry road. The Gila River Indian Community envisioned a resort that would capture the essence of the tribe’s history. Recent development of dams upstream had reduced flow in the river, denying future generations the connection to the historic river where the tribe settled centuries ago.


The recreation features rapids through shallow areas, rock outcroppings, and manmade rock formations scattered along the river’s edge. Wetland planters and sand bars also contribute to creating a natural flowing desert river that ends in a 3.5-acre lake at the rear of the 550-room resort. The river recirculation system provides variable river flows [9,800 gallons per minute (gpm) maximum] to coincide and simulate dry and wet season conditions. An additional half-mile river situated along the front of the resort serves as an aesthetic amenity, as well as a mode of transportation from the hotel to the golf club and casino. A 36-foot-wide arch bridge structure designed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards spans the river and handles boat, pedestrian, and vehicle traffic for the resort. The south face of the lake meets with the resort pool area complex and seamlessly blends the river theme resort together.


Situated along the west side of the resort is a 5,000-square-foot main pool with a faux sand sloped entry, a 3,600-square-foot sports pool, a 15-foot-high winding water slide, a splash pool, a kiddy pool, and two spas. PACE also designed the hotel lobby’s signature rock formation and waterfall, which extends from the first floor to the third floor and houses the hotel’s bar. Native streams and falls were constructed at the Porte Cochere entry and the Great Lawn activity area.


Key Features:

  • Six pools
  • 5-mile-long river
  • 15-foot-high water slide
  • Splash pool
  • Two spas
  • Signature rock formation
  • Waterfall

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa

Lake Systems / Water Features / Pools, Pools / Spas / Swim Lagoons