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hike with lake views boat access
While canoe camping for a weekend at Saguaro Lake, we planned to do some hiking, but all the trails we were able to find beforehand were either too far (to paddle conveniently) from the campsite at Bagley Flats or were off-trail bushwhacking hikes. While paddling in, we noticed several mostly Jeep-type trails going to the beaches across the water. We decided to explore and found a route that gave excellent views of the lake.
Boat/paddlecraft access only. From The Saguaro del Norte boat ramp/marina, proceed upriver to the Kings Beach area. Land at Saguaro Cove #3 (the easternmost of the 3 significant beaches) and begin the hike. This beach is just a short paddle northwest of the Bagley Flats Campground.
These trails are mostly 4x4 trails. Jeeps, dirt bikes, and ATVs are the primary users. The trails are clear, but there are a lot of interconnections and branches going in various directions. A GPS helps make the right turns as there is no signage, and trail paths noted on google maps do not show all the routes or the route you necessarily might want to take.
Trail surfaces tended to be mostly unchallenging packed dirt and dust. Some relatively steep sections were pretty loose and were somewhat interesting to descend (without slipping and getting all dusty). Vehicle traffic was not too bad in the early afternoon when we hiked. It may be that everyone was already on the beach by that time rather than going to or coming from.
General Comments and Musings
This was an impromptu exploration that turned out far better than expected. We initially thought of hiking the 4x4 trails back to Butcher Jones (or at least as close to Butcher Jones as we cared to hike) and attempted initially to follow the google maps indicated trail. This didn't work out quite as planned as it quickly became apparent that we had turned onto a trail that was not on google maps and were not inclined to double back. Noting our current relative position, we decided to try to make our way to the promontory that overlooks the beaches and began choosing trails with this new goal in mind. This worked out perfectly, and we ended up hiking all the way out the edge to some excellent views. Notable features visible on this hike include 4 Peaks and Weavers Needle. This hike turned out to be just what we were looking for; a scenic day hike with views of the lake. As long as you don't mind the occasional off-roading party, this is a great spot.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.