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Water in the desert means life. The beautiful and wild Verde River flows 170 miles through the center of Arizona before emptying into the Salt River. Two dams create broad lakes near the river's southern terminus, the first being Horseshoe Dam. Less crowded than the lower Bartlett Lake, Horseshoe Lake offers boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, wildlife watching, broad desert vistas, and quiet relaxation, The sandy saguaro-lined road to Horseshoe Lake passes below St. Clair Mountain on its descent through the rugged Tonto National Forest into the Verde River's deep valley and then on the lake. Numerous trails branch off for those looking for some adventurous wheeling. The K A Ranch appears wonderfully bucolic on the eastern bank of the river. Easy access to the Verde River below the dam offers fishing and dispersed camping opportunities. Numerous species of catfish, crappie, and bass, along with bluegills and carp, are plentiful. Anglers may find themselves competing with bald eagles who frequently fish the river and lake. The trail ends at a boat ramp often used as a takeout for kayakers coming down the Verde as well as those wishing to troll the lake. Be sure to take the short detour to visit the dam and Catfish Point, a great place to watch the river's precious water cascading from the dam's spillway.
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