nature trips



wild flowers


dogs on leash

trail running

kid friendly


mountain biking



dog friendly

off road driving


horseback riding

scenic driving


no dogs


The Tonto National Forest, Arizona, embraces almost 3 million acres of rugged and spectacularly beautiful country, ranging from Saguaro cactus-studded desert to pine-forested mountains beneath the Mogollon Rim. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude (from 1,300 to 7,900 feet) offers outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forest. As the fifth largest forest in the United States, the Tonto National Forest is one of the most-visited “urban” forests in the U.S. (approximately 5.8 million visitors annually). Its boundaries are Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east.

We really enjoyed this out and back hike. Some nice views through and above the treeline. We timed it right and caught all of the foliage in bloom. Some scrambling is needed towards the end.

The trail is dog-friendly, our 7 y.o JRT trail dog had an easy go at it until she tuckered out (must have been the elevation :-)

Please note that to get to the TH may require a high ground clearance vehicle (lots of washboard and rocky dirt road). 4WD is not necessary (we saw a Honda Accord parked at the TH) but care is needed around turns with the ATV traffic.

We enjoyed this trail quite a bit. The first 1/3 is relatively flat as it descends into a rocky wash. Then there are are some large boulders to navigate. We took our 7 y.o. JRT trail dog with us, who had to be carried over the boulders (small legs), but otherwise not too demanding on her.

All in all, lightly trafficked, and sparsely marked in areas. Otherwise, great scenery.

16 hours ago

One of our favorite hikes to date. A very nice trail which runs along Horton Creek, which is never far from view. The climb is gradual and the trail condition is mostly hardpacked earth with the exception of where some washes cross the trail. We went on a Sunday and caught some returning traffic from those who had hiked in and camped along the creek the night before. Plenty of day hikers, dogs, and wildlife (a white-tailed doe crossed the trail less than 25 meters from us).

For you dog owners, the rocks in the wash sections are mostly rounded or avoidable, no steep climbs or jagged rocks to tear up soft paws.

Plenty of views of the creek as it changes elevation and although we did not camp, various camping areas appear to be able to accommodate at least 10-12 campers.

1 day ago

Fun & easy hike. There's some shade which was nice, and it followed along the lake for a bit.

Gorgeous views but poorly marked trail on the second half. We had to search around to try and find the trail a lot which took away from the beauty of the area. There are better hikes that are just as pretty that I’ll stick with.

2 days ago

2 days ago

2 days ago

We started this hike at 7:30am on a Saturday. Glad we went so early because it started to get very crowded. The parking lot was completely full when we finished. This is more of a moderate hike and not a hard hike. It took us 2 hours and 20min to finish the whole hike. We hiked into the saddle, took a few pictures and headed down. The views are absolutely stunning this entire hike. Dirt road is about 7 mile and we saw a lot of cars that were easily able to get there. Watch out for the rattle snakes.

2 days ago

Great views, not boring but not really that exciting. Good workout! Not sure why it says 1981 ft elevation gain. It’s only a couple hundred.

4 days ago

Bartlett Lake was beautiful. This trail is deseaving. The mileage is one way, not round trip and as others state, the trails are not maintained and not marked in many areas. We got off trail several times. Made out about 5 miles till we couldn't find the trail any longer and decided to turn around and head back. Be sure you are using a downloaded map and some kind of clippers to cut back thorny bushes to pass through the trails where it has over grown.