Butcher Jones Trail is a 8.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mesa, AZ that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The Day Pass for Tonto National Forest is $8 and needs to be purchased ahead of time. One location that has the passes for sale is the Chevron gas station at the intersection of 87 and McDowell Street.
fun, beautiful and not difficult.
FIRST!!! This is NOT a 4.8 mile "out and back". This is a 4.8 mile OUT and a 4.8 mile BACK = 9.6 miles. I can do 9.6 miles. But when I searched for a hike between "2-5 miles", because I was taking my pup, this one showed up. I didn't do my due diligence enough because I was ~3 miles in and thought I was close to the end (thinking it was about 2.4 miles in and wasn't keeping close track of my distance) and looked at the map and found out I still had almost 2 miles to go!!! Seriously? Who writes these descriptions??? ANOTHER THING: the day pass for Tonto Nat'l Forest is ***$8**** SERIOUSLY! Who writes these trail descriptions?!?!?! And "Get it at the gas station of 87" isn't helpful. Ya, there's a gas station on 87, but it's about 14 miles from Butcher Jones rec area entrance. I didn't go east on 87 to start with, so I can't say what that trek provides. I did go north on Bush to 87, and turned left onto 87 and continued west for about 12 miles and at the corner of 87 and McDowell Street is a Chevron that sells them. I didn't research before going and I was driving from Mesa along 60 to Usery Pass to Bush. I thought there would have been a gas station before I got there but I misjudged. Just keep that in mind when planning to go here if you're new to the area like me. I've been hiking all over the Phoenix metro area since moving here ~7 weeks ago. I've been toying with "what make a hike easy or moderate or hard?" on here and have found that there are some people in great shape that say the moderates or hards are "easy" Psh seriously? then don't use this page/app! Then I started noticing that "out and back" may or may NOT mean just out and then have to double to get the full distance OR it means the whole "out and back". This website is kind of ridiculous. I'm going to stick with it because it does help with finding new trails and the users help with their recording, pictures, and reviews. But keep in mind to look at the uphills, versus down- if you do an out and back, whenever you go down, you have to go back up- sounds obvious but for a newbie like me it's not at first flush...and I think this website has a lot of newbies because talking to locals and people at REI, this website/app is not used by them at all. Also look closely at the distance from one end to the other, and maybe look at how users have reviewed other trails to get a sense of what their rating system is because it's rather subjective. Take that for what it's worth and keep in mind that I'm typing this late at night after the hike and dinner and so forth so it might be disjointed and not very good prose. OK!! Now to my review of this particular trail: It was SO GREAT being near a body of water, having moved here from Florida! The views were spectacular! I could see Weavers Needle, Flatiron, and Four Peeks from the drive to the parking area and then along the trail. There were a few spots where I could relatively easily take my boy Shadow (my dog) down to the water. However, the shores are mostly rocks and not sand and the rocks at the edge and in the water are covered in algae so they can be slippery. I didn't notice until the way back that you are making a pretty steep ascent and then descent...(again the "newbie" thing) which means when you are going back you are making, in my opinion, a pretty steep ascent into the descent - it felt like more of a challenge going back. There are several side spurs to go check out views and get closer to the water. Be careful that you follow pretty close the same trail back to the main path as there are not a lot of markings and looking for paths that are "worn" will take you the wrong way often enough for me to make this comment because several time we didn't and had to choose between backtracking through cacti or pushing forward into the unknown a few times. There are also some steep drop-offs that my dog thought were interesting and I had to pull him back (I'm a mom so that instinct kicked in quickly). There were times where the trail seemed to go a certain way only to find that when I looked at the app I had gone off the main path. There was a point at about mile 2.2 that was confusing to go for me as to where to go, for whatever reason. The app told me to go down a ravine, so I did. But there was a little switchback further to the right that was way easier. In case you want to know who did that stupid trek down into the ravine, you'll know it's me because I put a line of rocks to indicate not to go that way! hahahah! There was a campsite on a side spur near the water. Might be cool to go with some friends, but there was a LOT of trash in that area, which was disappointing. I want to go again to finish the hike because it was really pretty, but it was getting towards sunset when we turned around to hike the ~3 miles back to the car. I would recommend this hike to anyone!! And I think the "moderate" assignment is accurate. I was just disappointed in the description and being pensive about other trail d
very beautiful and scenic hike
Descent scenic hike. Should be rated as easy.
It's a narrow trail, with a lot of cactus to avoid and even at the end of October, it was 5 - 10 degrees too hot (recommend Nov - March). With that said, it's nice being able to jump into the lake and cool off and has some pretty views of the lake. Worth the trip. Also, make sure to get a Tonto Park Pass on your way. It's $8 and you can pick it up at one of the gas stations off the 87.
make sure you pick up the tonto pass ($8) at any of the gas stations that sell them, there is a station on the 87 right by the ft McDowell casino.
I have done this hike 2x this week. the first time there were horses that were at the parking lot, drinking from the water, as I returned....super cool. the hike is relatively easy as far as the heights you you will have to go. there are a few areas that are somewhat difficult to navigate, but just watch your footing and you will be fine.
got a little scared at the beginning, walking under the canopy, because a rabbit jumped out at me! haha. IRS a beautiful hike, and basically a nice stroll that you can do in about two hours...
It was an OK hike, not very hard because it's mostly flat. The trail is fine but some trail signs were lost and so were we, but we quickly found our way back. Another less nice thing about the trail is that it just stops at a cliff unlike the signs made us think that we could have a break on the shoreline as was mentioned by the signs. (Shoreline 1/4mile)
all in all it was an OK trip and really nice if you don't hike a lot or just want to get started!
You need a Tonto National Park day pass 8$ BTW.
Was a nice hike. Not to crowded but we did go at noon. I would rate this as a easy almost moderate. Nice scenery water was nice to stop and put our feet in.
this is a nice trail. parts of it were overgrown with cactus making it difficult to get through. I wouldn't bring a dog with you on this trail. it is also ranked as moderate but really it should be an easy ranked trail. however there is a great place to swim almost at the end of the trail and the water was so refreshing. I would definitely do this trail again.
Great trail with wonderful views. We had some trouble finding the path at the end and just did a little exploring on our own. We were able to eventually find a nice quiet cove to swim. Will definitely come back with the dogs! FYI: Tonto day pass is a must if you don't want to get a ticket.
Went cliff jumping here! The hike to the little cave where we stopped was only about 20 minutes. We really just wanted to swim and jump off the rocks, but you could definitely keep hiking if you wanted. Beautiful lake, outstanding views!
the sights on the trail were amazing. lots of trash though in the water. a little rocky & small trail near edge of water. could make a parent nervous with little ones. however, walking through the overgrown trees was awesome for the little ones. and a little cooler, since you are shaded. great place for older kids & adults to hike, perhaps a little too precarious for little ones.
had an amazing time, sights, trails and people were all great!