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Horsethief Lake Trail, AZ

55 4 1
Guide 4 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Black Canyon
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 0.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,101 feet
Accumulated Gain 35 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.78
Interest Historic
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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8  2015-05-28 AZWanderingBear
5  2010-09-18 cabel
6  2010-06-02
Horsethief Lake
36  2008-08-27
Crown King - After the Fire 2008
Author AZWanderingBear
author avatar Guides 27
Routes 62
Photos 2,620
Trips 700 map ( 4,689 miles )
Age 63 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:36pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Surprising Lake in the Pines
by AZWanderingBear

The southern Bradshaw Mountains are pretty dry. So finding an alpine lake here is surprising. A nice little trail loops around the lake.

Horsethief Road from Crown King to Horsethief Lake is not routinely maintained. Four wheel drive is not required, but some clearance is.

In the 1930s the CCC did extensive work in this area of the Bradshaw Mountains. Besides construction of Hazlett Hollow and Turney Campgrounds, the also constructed an arch dam and created Horsethief Lake.

After arriving at the lake, park and proceed north. The path takes you over the rock and cement spillway which keeps the lake fro flowing over the damn. You will need to clamber up about 3 feet to get onto the top of the dam. The arched dam provides a nice walkway and views across the small lake. At the far end of the dam, look back to admire the construction and how high the dam actually rises.

The trail continues along the edge of lake. Cattails and other reeds line the lakes edges, but a few clear places are used by anglers. Bass and bluegills are the predominant fish in the lake. Occasionally visitors may find a fisherman in a small boat casting peacefully. Only electric motors or paddling is allowed.

Various duck species make the lake home. Often you will see mothers and babies patrolling the edges of the lake, sometimes even approaching for a hand out.

Expect to find numerous animal tracks in the sand and mud near the lake. It is a reliable water source. You might even notice the grasses and tender aquatic plants along the lake edge have been grazed down by deer.

A sandbar on the northwestern edge of the lake is a favorite bedding ground for spawning. Look closely in the shallow water for activity.

The trail continues around and deposits you back at your start point. Bring your camera and a fishing pole.

Water Sources
Potable water is available from Spring to Autumn at the Ranger Guard Station and Hazlett Hollow and Turney Campgrounds nearby.

Extensive dispersed camping opportunities as well as Hazlett Hollow Campground are nearby.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2015-05-30 AZWanderingBear
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Horsethief Lake Trail
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    While we had visited the lake quite a few times, had never hiked all the way around. One guy and his kids were fishing off the dam. The ducks with chicks in tow were patrolling edges of the lake. Found some fish bedding on a shallow sandbar. Lots of tracks of varying kinds leading down to the water. We'd seen 4 nice sized deer on the drive in about a half mile from the lake. A peaceful little walk to end the hiking day.
    Horsethief Lake Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Horsethief Lake
    It'd had been 4 of 5 years since I'd been out to this area, so today was the day.

    This is triplog 1 of 3 from the Prescott Nation Forest including Horsethief Basin Rec Area and the Castle Creek Wilderness.

    Getting to to this area is half the fun. It's 27 miles of dirt road (1 hr drive) to get to the town of Crown King. It can be done in a passenger car. Make sure to stop in the General Store/Post Office for any of your needs before heading out into the Wilderness. It's worth the stop to see a bit of history up there. They have gas available there, but a $2.00 more a gallon than in the valley make sure you have enough. I talked to the nice lady working the store and was able to get copies of trail desc/maps for 7 of trails in the area. The Saloon and ex Brothel (The Oldest in the State of AZ) is right next door. I'll talk about that in Triplog 3.

    OK, leaving Crown King it's a 6 mile drive to the Horsethief Rec area and Lake. I'd recommend high clearance on this road, there are a couple of spots that may be dicey in a car.

    The Crown King Area was hit by a fire in August of 2008. There are burned areas on the drive to Horsethief Lake that just make you sick.

    There are no actual trails around the Lake, but it's a nice place to relax, eat lunch, and explore the Lake and Dam area. This section was spared fire damage.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix take I-17 north to the Bumble Bee Exit 248. Proceed 27.6 miles to Crown King. Continue through Crown King .5 miles and turn left on Horsethief Road. Continue 6.5 along Horsethief Road and turn left onto FR 52G across from the Ranger Guard Station. Follow FR 52G about a half mile until it dead ends at the lake.
    page created by cabel on May 30 2015 12:47 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
    help comment issue

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