By Adam Triplett ’10
Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it’s time to plan a weekend getaway to cool down.
Bartlett Lake is just outside the city, about 90 minutes north of Brophy, and is a great place for either a day or an overnight camping trip.
This is also the perfect time to visit the lake due to the recent rainfall. It has not been this full in almost a decade. According to Arizona Game and Fish, the lake is at 91 percent capacity.
Of course, with rain comes new growth. There is green in all directions and spring will bring vibrant wildflowers to the mountains surrounding the lake.
The lake itself is a great spot for fishing and every kind of motorsport. There is a small marina that offers small boats to rent for going out onto the lake. Currently, large mouth bass are in their spawning season and flathead catfish are strong in numbers.
To get to the lake, take the Pima exit on Loop 101 and go north. After going down Pima for about 10 miles, then the road will end at an intersection with Cave Creek Road. Take a right turn, heading east, and go four miles.
There will be a left turn onto Bartlett Dam Road. This will take you straight to the lake. On Bartlett Dam Road there will be a turn to the left for Horseshoe Lake.
Personally, I prefer going to Horseshoe Lake; it is more secluded and I have never seen a boat in the water.
Although, if you plan on going to Horseshoe Lake, be warned that it is a very primitive road for 16 miles.
In sections it is sandy, which could leave a passenger car stranded, and in other areas it is very narrow with blind turns. I would suggest staying away from this road if your only transportation is a smaller sedan or an equivalent vehicle.
Both lakes are part of the Tonto National Forest, so a permit is required if you plan on parking your vehicle for any period of time.
A Tonto pass can be picked up at most sporting good stores; I use Sportsman Warehouse, or the Ranger station on the way out towards the lake. A day pass is $6 and an annual pass is $95 and good all year round.
If you do plan on going out to see the lake, make sure to bring a camera.
The surrounding landscape makes Bartlett Lake one of my favorite day trips around the Valley.