Butcher Jones Trail

MODERATE 331 reviews
#2 of 105 trails in

Butcher Jones Trail is a 4.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mesa, Arizona that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
541 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

paddle sports

walking

lake

views

wildlife

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.

hiking
2 days ago

Excellent hike to get your hiking legs back. Elevation is just enough to get your heart pumping and the views are incredible.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike along the water. Beautiful views along the way. Very enjoyable. When I hiked this it was pretty well traveled and some spots made ‘two lane’ traffic interesting. I did go on a fee-free Park day. Trailhead has a bathroom, picnic area, and lake access.

hiking
4 days ago

Relatively easy hike with a couple of challenging spots. Mainly walk along water offering great views. Need to go to end of trail for beautiful view of Four Peaks over the Salt River. Well worth the hike!

6 days ago

Beautiful! Not very challenging but the views of Saguaro Lake and Salt River are some of the best I’ve seen in the east valley.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful day busy with lots of snowbirds. It rained this week but the trail was in good condition weather perfect had my sweatshirt off within the first hour. Views of course are incredible. I would’ve like to keep going after the 4 peaks look out point but the cactus along the marsh area are all rotted and seriously looked as though they could topple over anytime. I love this trail and will be back always feels good to hike next to water. Earth and water

It was amazing! Nice views with lots of water and wildlife (birds and ducks). An easy trail that has many to offer!

hiking
12 days ago

By far my favorite hike in Arizona. Stunning views and a pretty easy walk. Highly suggest.

hiking
12 days ago

Just as described. Beautiful trail along the lake.

hiking
13 days ago

Great beginner trail, loved seeing the water most of the way through

15 days ago

one of my favorite trails to hike

hiking
15 days ago

Went hiking with 13 members of SSV hiking club. Very nice easy hike in and out. Great photo opportunities.

17 days ago

Great trail with beautiful views of Saguaro Lake! Nice variety of trail and incline. Lots of people, but everyone was probably starting the new year with some exercise

hiking
1 month ago

Great easy trail along the lake. Fantastic views. Bonus points since I got to see a bald eagle at the end of the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Really beautiful trail and nice to walk around the water in Arizona. Not very difficult, brought my kids along.

hiking
1 month ago

Great views and a pretty easy trail, I find it can get crowded very fast if to many people are going and coming in opposed directions.

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite hike! It offers the cactus view with some water too. I would say this is moderately trafficked though.. not lightly.

1 month ago

Pretty easy hike with beautiful views to 4 peaks and even Flatiron

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views and great hike

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is such a treat and not too far of a drive if you live in the East Valley.

Butcher Jones gracefully wraps around the edge of a small popular lake. There were a fair amount of people on the trail, however it was far from crowded. The people we passed were friendly, and there were plenty of dogs along the way as well.

This whole trail is beautiful and provides many great photo ops, if that's your thing.

Make sure to get a pass for the day for Tonto National Park. They are sold in various stores (walgreens, Frys etc) around the area.

hiking
1 month ago

Permit passes available at the marina, which is a short drive past the trailhead turn in on bush highway (next left if coming from Scottsdale/fountain hills).

I would rate this trail as easy in, but moderate out. There is several small miniature paths you can take along the path that either lead down to the water, or to a cliff like area for photo opportunities. we clocked in about 6.4 miles round trip on our fit bit. we took the trail all the way down to butcher Jones cove. there is very little sun protection on the trail, so wear a hat and sunscreen. There is also narrow areas on trail with cacti very close, and trees with thorns making it easy to knick yourself if not careful.

While the trail is gracious with opportunities for photos of the view, I would say the view is one of the weaker areas of this trail. It's mostly just large expanses of the lake full of motor boats and jet skis.

The trail starts out on a path that is slightly elevated above the lake and runs along side it for maybe the first quarter mile or so, before curving around the mountain.

At the end of the curve, you enter into a thick area of trees which offers tons of shade and opportunities to knick yourself on the many thorns connected to the low hanging branches. Be prepared to do a lot of ducking if you're decently tall. luckily this portion of the trail is very short.

After emerging from the "thorn weald", you basically follow a narrow path up and a small mountain. This is where some of the difficulty begins. At the top is there is one of the few decent views on the trail, so definitely and take pictures!

After following the trail up, you decline down on the opposite side. after around a mile or so you arrive a sort or cross. One of the paths leads to sort of a tiny island that would be great for fishing. I think a lot of people use this as a stopping point for reasons I will explain below.

if you continue down the path, you are greeted with a remarkably unimpressive view and ugly desert land scape. The rest of the trail is mostly brown rocks, dirt, cacti, and Palo Verde trees. if that's your jam, you will love this.

At the end of trail, there was a decent rock sitting area overlooking the other side of the lake. While this area had far fewer boats, it was a little crowded in the water (Only saw two other people on trail past my previously mentioned stopping point).

overall I would say the trail is incredibly average and manageable for beginners. if you're looking for great views outside the city I would look elsewhere, but this was a decent outing overall. I would not hike the trail again, but would come back for either fishing, or enjoying the lake with family.

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