In the late 1800s, a few industrious horse thieves began using a lush, and largely inaccessible, valley in the southeastern Bradshaw Mountains as their hideaway. The remoteness kept them one step ahead of the law. A lake and plenty of grass kept the horses fed while altering the brands for later sale. The area became informally known as Horse Thief Basin.
Horses gave way to motorized vehicles. The depression of the 1930s produced the Civilian Conservation Corps which, among many projects nationwide, built a road into rugged Horse Thief Basin. They also built an arch dam on the small lake as well as several first-rate campgrounds. In 1934 Horse Thief Lookout was erected on a promontory at the end of the road to monitor the area for forest fires.
Today intrepid off-roaders drive the remote Horse Thief Basin road. While boondocking at the scenic spot of your choice, or camping at the quaint Hazlett Hollow Campground, you can fish in the picturesque Horse Thief Lake. Hopefully, you'll even be invited to scale the Horse Thief Lookout for what is arguably the best views in Arizona outside the Grand Canyon.
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