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Beardsley Trail - Lake Pleasant, AZ

no permit
102 7 0
Guide 7 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NW
3.3 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,439 feet
Elevation Gain 288 feet
Accumulated Gain 547 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.17
Interest Perennial Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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13  2019-05-27
Lower Morgan City Wash
15  2018-10-13
Rainy day at Lake Pleasent
14  2018-04-21
Lake Pleasant Wander
26  2018-04-16 RowdyandMe
20  2018-03-03
Lake Pleasant & Frustum #19
12  2018-02-16 kingsnake
6  2018-02-10
Lake Pleasant Wander
2  2017-05-01
Lower Morgan City Wash
Page 1,  2
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Sun  6:12am - 6:36pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
by kingsnake

The Agua Fria Trailhead is just north of the Carefree Highway (AZ-74), at the south end of Lake Pleasant. I’ve driven past the Beardsley CSR Road, many times. I always thought it was “official use only”, but at least as far as the trailhead, it is open to the public. There is no park entrance fee for parking there. (Unlike if you park at the north end of Beardsley Trail on Desert Tortoise Rd.)

The first of six gates, a ‘V gate’, is at the trailhead. (The rest are all some variety of swinging gate.) After passing through the gate, Beardsley Trail descends to Morgan Wash on the Agua Fria River. Morgan Wash is filled with typical Arizona river bottom brush, but there is no threat of impromptu acupuncture, as Beardsley Trail is well cleared. That remains true all the way to Desert Tortoise Rd. The temperature is noticeably cooler in Morgan Wash, which is crossed by two wooden footbridges. (With a second gate in between.) On the west side of Morgan Wash, the Maricopa Trail — which is initially co-located with the Beardsley Trail — turns south while Beardsley turns north.

After Morgan Wash, Beardsley Trail crosses the third gate, travels north on the siding of Old Lake Pleasand Rd. for 250 yds., then passes through the fourth gate on the west side of the road.

After crossing Old Lake Pleasant Rd., Beardsley Trail is never more than a ¼ mile from pavement. The sound of heavy Carefree Highway traffic begins fading, being replaced by regular aircraft flybys.

Beardsley Trail generally follows the contour line from spurs & washes running west off Lake Pleasant. Heading north, it is uphill (550 AEG), with two 170 ft. climbs. Heading back south to the Agua Fria Trailhead, Beardsley is generally downhill (300 AEG). The trail surface is not pristine, but it is still mostly rock-free. Beardsley would be awesome for trail running, or as a fast mountain bike track.

At 2.2 miles, Beardsley Trail crosses the fifth gate, then intersects Frog Tanks Trail, which runs 0.3 miles northeast to the Bobcat Day Use Area. From the fifth gate, it is 2.1 miles, a sixth gate, and a final road crossing, to Beardsley’s northern terminus on Desert Tortoise Rd.

Beardsley Trail is good exercise on a great trail, but nothing really special without scenery, flowers or critters. But it does have far fewer people than Phoenix Mountains Preserve, so there is that.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2018-02-17 kingsnake
  • 2018 PDF
    area related
    2018 PDF

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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
Beardsley Trail - Lake Pleasant
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Even though Lake Pleasant is less than 30 minutes from my home in Sunnyslope, I left early to avoid the beginning of rush hour. After dodging a few Phoenix :pk: drivers, I arrived at the Agua Fria Trailhead while it was still dark. I caught up on Twitter ( ) while I ate breakfast and drank coffee.

The sun rose, but it still wasn’t sunny due to the overcast. I was bummed because I had hoped the clouds would result in a spectacular Arizona sunrise. It was overcast, windy and a chilly 55° when I started hiking at 7:20 a.m.

After crossing Old Lake Pleasant Rd., the sound of heavy Carefree Highway traffic began fading, being replaced by regular aircraft flybys, particularly a plane that looked similar to a Beechcraft Model 18, but with a single tail. It was overhead, off & on, for four hours. Does someone do air tours over Lake Pleasant like they do the Grand Canyon? 🛩

It soon become obvious there would be neither spectacular scenery, nor flowers, along Beardsley Trail. (Too soon after our only rain, so far, of Arizona’s winter monsoon.) If my hike video had been a slideshow, it would have been 15 seconds long. Thankfully, I was shooting plenty of video, while occasionally taking saguaro pictures, like I had at Skyline Regional Park.

The trail surface is not pristine like Turnbuckle Trail in Skyline Regional Park, but it is still mostly rock-free. Beardsley would be awesome for trail running, or as a fast mountain bike track. Still, my inner tard emerged as I managed to stub my toe a dozen times, stumbling eight of those. 🤪

At Beardsley’s northern terminus on Desert Tortoise Rd., I contemplated turning around, but decided since it was only another 0.4 miles to the picnic tables at the Wild Burro Day Use Area, above Two Cows Cove, that I would continue.

At the Agua Fria Trailhead, I heard coyotes yip several times, but I wasn’t able to spot them. Or wild burros anywhere, despite plenty of burro scat scattered along Beardsley Trail. Lizards are the most common critter I see while hiking, and I don’t recall seeing any of them either. All I saw was one rabbit, and a few birds here & there. 😕

At Wild Burro Day Use Area, I spotted the only flower I saw all day, on an ocotillo. In five miles, and three hours, I had not quite finished a bottle of water. I rehydrated with a half bottle of gatorade and a McEwan’s Scottish Ale. At 8%, I could feel the alcohol’s effect. Good thing I had five return miles to sweat it out.

On the return I drank a second water. Despite my low fluid intake, I peed an oddly large number of times, six from the time I arrived until I left. Usually it is once or twice. Any idea why that would happen? 🤔

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

Saw one blooming plant -- an ocotillo at the Wild Burro Day Use Area -- all day.
Beardsley Trail - Lake Pleasant
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This is a relatively new trail in the Lake Pleasant area. After you go through the pay stations take the first right, then first left and the trail-head is on your right. There is a dirt pull off with room for about 6 cars. Kiosk with an out dated map that does not show this newer trail. The trail is 4.1 miles one way. We chose to hike trail to Frog Tank Trail (.3 miles) so we could get a view of the lake then we turned around. We will start at the South end of the trail next time so we can get in all done. On a Sunday morning with a 7:15 AM start...we only saw one lone mountain biker.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix, head north on I-17. Take exit 223B onto Carefree Highway / AZ-74. Drive west for 9.1 miles. By Lake Pleasant, at the bottom of the hill, just after you cross the second bridge, turn right onto Beardsley CSR Rd. The Agua Fria Trailhead is 0.3 miles straight ahead, on the left.
page created by joebartels on Feb 17 2018 8:37 pm
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