Horseshoe Lake

4.2/5 (12 reviews)
Cave Creek, Arizona (Maricopa County)
Last Updated: 10/19/2021
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Trail Information

Highlights

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.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.2/5 (12 reviews)
CF
300
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/28/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Easy going even after the recent rains. We saw a 2wd stock Frontier and a fwd Honda all the way at the end. Very choppy/washboarded. Even though it’s a short route, it’s probably worth airing down just for ride comfort.
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 05/07/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fairly scenic dirt road to Horseshoe Lake. I recommend heading out mid morning and having lunch lakeside. I was on an ATV and found the road little busy on a Saturday with trucks and UTVs, but nothing too bad. I parked at the turn off of Bartlett Dam and Horseshoe Dam road. There’s a space on both sides to park and unload.
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - B Wise
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - B Wise
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Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 02/28/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

It’s a good trail for a beginner no doubt, extremely easy to navigate, mellow paths, as of today, Feb 8th, it was dry and easy. That being said, feels like an average service/fire road. Not a lot of thrill to it, most the drive is pretty average. Some cool enough views, but there’s definitely better. Don’t let it stop you from going, if you want a quick mellow trail run this is the one for you! If you want something more technical and exciting, go elsewhere. I went on some offshoots near the river and drove the bank of the lake to have more fun and found some mud! I was in 2wd the entire time except for going through the mud.
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - Alex Pizz
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - Alex Pizz
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Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 11/06/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Road is open and there has been major repairs done the road after the heavy rains we have had the past we months in Arizona. There are sections of the road that is heavy wash boarded but nothing any vehicle cant pass with just slowing down.
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - William D. DuBois
Trail Review: Horseshoe Lake - William D. DuBois
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Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/27/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Easy, scenic trail. Long sections of heavy washboard made the dog a little unhappy. Didn't camp, but this is an easy day-trip for lunch.

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