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Palo Verde Trail #512, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 4.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,800 feet
Elevation Gain 92 feet
Accumulated Gain 580 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 - 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.63
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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10  2019-09-14 DarthStiller
7  2019-09-14 RowdyandMe
9  2019-05-17 RowdyandMe
3  2019-03-30 Nightstalker
16  2019-03-29 kingsnake
10  2019-03-17
Jojoba Trail #511
19  2019-03-13 Yoder
29  2019-03-11 RowdyandMe
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr, Oct → 10 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Beachin Views!
by HAZ_Hikebot

The south end of the trail begins near the northern edge of the Rattlesnake Cove Recreation Site. The trail roughly parallels the shoreline of Bartlett Reservoir, providing access to the shore, crossing washes and small ridges, and running along hillslopes. From Rattlesnake Cove Trailhead to SB Cove is 3.8 mi. A 1.2 mi. loop-trail intersects the main trail at two locations: about 0.5 mi. south of SB Cove and again at 0.8 mi. south of SB Cove. The loop-trail provides access to other areas near the edge of the reservoir.

- Palo Verde Trail offers access to many coves and stretches of shoreline, providing opportunities for swimming and angling. The trail winds through rocky outcrops and crosses several ridges and hill slopes offering scenic views of Bartlett Reservoir. *This trail passes through the Arizona Upland Phase of the Sonoran Desert, featuring saguaro cactus, mesquite, palo verde and ironwood trees.
- Bartlett Reservoir has been popular with anglers almost since the dam was constructed in 1939. Fish species include crappie, large-and smallmouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, carp, bluegill and green sunfish. - Along with many partners, the USDA Forest Service is improving fish habitat by installing a variety of structures in strategic locations.

- Closed to motor vehicles
- Carry an adequate supply of drinking water. One gallon/per person/per day is recommended during hot periods.
- Portions of the trail are rough in places, and should be traveled with caution. Decomposed granite trail surface can be slippery.
- Water levels fluctuate seasonally based on precipitation and irrigation demand
- Do not drink untreated water. Giardia, a protozoan, is in many water impoundments and streams.

Cave Creek Ranger Station
40202 N. Cave Creek Rd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262
Phone (480) 595-3300 Fax (480) 595-3342

TRAILHEADS (TH) Rattlesnake Cove TH SB Cove TH

South end: (1840 feet elevation): at Rattlesnake Cove
North end: (1820 feet elevation): at SB Cove

Trail use: Light
Trail difficulty: Easiest
Trail length: 3.8 - 4.7 miles
Season of Use: All year
USGS maps: Bartlett Dam, Maverick Mountain Elevation: 100 feet

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 of 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Well I It was nice to meet Chris. I am glad that I decided to wear pants and not shorts. A few over grown and very healthy cactus claws along the way.
No other hikers on the trail and really the weather was perfect for at least the first half.
After that it got hot and humid. Rowdy was letting me know he was feeling it and at that time I to Chris to go ahead and Rowdy and I took more breaks on the rest of the way back.
I really enjoyed the views and the wildlife we saw a long the way. The Rattlesnake was the only one we seemed to upset go figure.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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There’s a lot of flowers on this hike. I’m not a plantologist, but there were tons of Mexican Gold Poppy, as well as fairy dusters, lupine, and other species I don’t know the names of. One purple species, in particular, gave me real trouble trying to get a half decent focused shot (left middle in my flower collage). As last week at Alamo Lake, the Mexican Gold Poppy opened up around 10:30 a.m.. They were going nuts on the far side of Bartlett Lake, so much so that dense patches were visible from two miles away!

Just after I started my hike, I noticed a Coke can, which I speared with my hiking pole on my return trip. I was surprised it was not a Bud Light, like most of the hiking garbage I find.

After I arrived at SB Cove, I took a break in a picnic cabana, downing some fluids & eating some chips. (Some gluten-free vegan thing with chia seeds: Enh.) Then I sat on the embankment for about 15 minutes, mellowing out, admiring the Yellow Cliffs and watching the waves ripple in the sunlight.

Then I hauled ass back to Pirate Cove, trying to beat my dying GPS batteries. Almost made it, falling only a quarter mile short.

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

Chilly at 0830, but the flowers really started popping near lunch time. Spotted at least 10 species, of which Mexican Gold Poppy, lupine and fairy duster were the most prolific.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Well I decided to take Rowdy on another hike with water. When we got to Bartlett lake it was getting warm and humid. But after the first mile clouds started to move in and a breeze followed right behind.
By the time we reached the end of the trail it was completely cloudy and the breeze became a stronger with wind gust. I had a feeling it was going to rain on us before we made it back, luckily it never did.
I never did see anyone else on the entire hike which was nice. But I was surprised that I did not see any of the Cranes or any other large birds on this hike. But I was surprised to see a really nice looking Gila Monster with a attitude must have been a female :lol: .
This trail really isn't hiked that often as there was a lot of overgrowth near the end of the trail. And rowdy wasn't to happy with the waves that the wind brought with it.
It was really beautiful out today not to many boats on the lake either. Just a really nice peaceful hike with lots of different flowers in bloom and I could hear birds singing but could not see them.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Jojoba #511-Palo Verde #512
This was my first time on these trail :y: . Well it also looked like no one has hiked these trails in a while. As I hiked both trails I saw no one coming or going now that's not counting the people on the beaches or boats. The hike it self was harder than I thought it would be and that probably has something to do with them not being used.
I did slip and fall a couple of times as there was so much lose rock and gravel. The trails had a few places where there was over growth crossing the trails.
But I did see two Cardinals but could not get a picture. Lots of cactus blooming all over the place. This is really a very beautiful area. I will have to come back again wearing pants. Rowdy seemed to struggle as well so I let him hit the beach coming back I think three times and he loved it. We did take 5 liters of water and drank them all before we finished the hike. Of course that's with just a half mile to go knowing we had more water and beer in the trunk. Its always good to be prepared.

Lots of cactus blooming as well as wild flowers
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Devil's Hole / JoJoba / Palo Verde Loop
Fan & I did a loop with JoJoba, Palo Verde and Devil’s Hole. We parked at the Indian Spring Wash TH/Road and headed down to the JoJoba trail.

The Jojoba and Palo Verde trails are getting a bit washed out in spots. Even thou the forest roads between Bartlett and Horse shoe dams are closed, there’s quite a bit of tire marks on the road(s) [-X . There’s been recent trail maintenance along the ATV trails.

We took lunch at Devil’s hole. :y: The half-moon was bright enough for us to hike back without flashlights :y: . You just gotta love a hiking by moonlight ion the desert.

I was cold for most of the hike , but Fan though it was just right.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Bartlett Lake to Cottonwood Grove
I parked outside the Rattlesnake Cove because the gate was closed due to debris on the road. I went on the Palo Verde trail to where it split and followed the split to the old FR42. I checked out the quarry but it there wasn't anything of interest here.

Next I went down the Bartlett flats to where it ended and picked up a wash that lead me to FR42. I followed FR42 to Jack's cove. With the lake/river being so low, I followed the shoreline from Jack's cove to FR1069. Normally one would have to follow FR42 to make it from Jack's cove to FR1069. I was able scramble on the exposed rocks from shoreline to shoreline. There was one place where the rocks where to soft and where crumbling, so tried to walk on the mud. My second step went a 1 foot and half under the mud! :o ! I've never been in quicksand, but I would image it felt like this. I was really worried about losing a boot. I managed to find a solid spot to gain some leverage and pull my foot and boot out!

Going from FR1069 to Devils hole was un-uneventful.

As I got closer to the Horseshoe dam, I came across two rangers doing trail maintenance. The recent rains had caused some washouts on the new trails. The rangers said that they lost an entire section of a new trail. We chatted a bit about the new trails and they won't be opening the trails to ATV until summer 2014. I also found out that the Horseshoe dam is at 80% capacity and they will start testing the release system the week of 3/10.

From looking at the maps, I noticed a shortcut from FR42 to the Cottonwood Grove TH. There's an unnamed wash that goes from FR42 to the Verde, right by the TH. I went down the wash and very quickly it went from a desert terrain to a grassy / forest setting. It was very cool (figuratively and temperature wise). With 10 minutes I was at the gauging station / Cottonwood Grove TH. There was an abandoned campsite at the TH. I had lunch here. This spot was 100% shaded. Now there's water flowing down from horseshoe dam.

I headed back and this time I skipped the rock scramble and the Palo Verde trail.

The Cotton Wood grove TH is a really neat area.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Devil's Hole loop between Horseshoe & Bartlet
My original goal was to do a loop hike via Indian Springs wash / FR42 / Cottonwood TH.

I parked at the Indian Springs TH (this would be my exit point) and headed down to the Rattlesnake cove to pick up the Palo Verde trail. I haven’t been on Palo Verde trail in about 10 years. I forgot how enjoyable this trail is. I enjoyed it so much that, I passed the FR42 turnoff and continued to the Bartlett flats area. This was my first time at the flats and I was impress how wide and long the beach is. It goes on for a 2 or 3 miles. The low water level has exposed a lot of new beach area. I spent too much time exploring around thus area. There was a nice cool breeze blowing and it was hard to leave. I’ll have to bring my son Nate here.

I headed back to the start of FR42. FR starts at the Palo Verde trail and crosses the North Lake road. This section has been closed to vehicles for a long time. Now I’m section that I did in the dark last January. The trail is pretty easy to follow in the day light! This time I stayed on the coast of Jack’s Cove and cutover to FR42. This avoided a bushwhack section of the trail and provided more scenic views of the lake.

The heat started to build up and I felt it on constant climbs. I stopped at Devil’s Hole to filter water. This was my first time using squeeze filter and it went way too slow. I realized that I brought the small bag. Next time I’ll bring the bigger bag.
It was late in the day and I still wanted to make the Cottonwood TH by the Horseshoe dam. Sad to say, I didn’t make it. I got about a mile from the end of FR42 before it started to get dark. I spent too much time at the Bartlett Flats. At least that gives me an excuse for a next time!

I took FR42 to FR532 back to the Jeep. I ran out of water about 3 miles from the Jeep. At least it was dark and cool.

The lake levels are very low. I almost considered hiking down the Verde to the Cottonwood TH. I saw some people camping in what used to be the Verde at the end of Jack’s Cove.
I saw one coyote near the beach area. A rabbit and I scared each other :scared: . It was dark and I stopped to sit a rock to drink some water and a rabbit jumped between my legs and high-tailed it down the trail :o !

It was a fun hike, but temps got way to warm for February!
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Last time out, I lost Trail #512 as soon as I stepped foot on it. This time I came equipped with more than a hiking guide book: I not only had a topo I mashed up from the HAZ topo view, but also Al_HikesAZ's GPS route. Funny thing is, I ended up needing neither. (In the case of the topo, good thing because I accidentally left it with my wife.) The trail is very obvious, with a smooth, slightly sandy surface. Narrow, and a bit off camber in spots, but no big deal. Very benign. If you are following Al_HikesAZ's route, keep in mind that it appears to be following the shoreline for about the first mile, not the trail. Weather was sunny and warm, but with a cool breeze, perhaps blowing off the Mazatzal's where you could see snow from Bartlett Lake. I was planning on doing an out & back to SB Cove, but as I did not get started until almost 11:30, decided to bail at the halfway point. (Where my wife met me.) Despite Trail #512 looking relatively smooth on the topo, it's a pretty good blow for a hair under four miles. (If you take the pleasant shortcut through the boulders, otherwise it is about another mile.) FYI: Cell phone reception is very spotty in and around SB Cove. Best bet is to go back up the road for a mile to the info kiosk.
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Fauna: Red Tailed Fox, several groups (2-3) of Vultures and some individuals, Ringtailed Raccoon (dead), Mule Deer (also dead), 2 Velvet Ants, 1 Checkerspot Butterfly, Bees, Hummingbirds, 2 Ducks,2 Fish (Unknown but made several jumps.

Flora: Blue Dicks, Catclaw, Chia, Catclaw, few other things, Catclaw.

All in all, despite the many negatives, this is a wonderful hike. Lucky for me I still had my pruners in gear from yesterdays thwarted Big Dipper hike. Yesterday the catclaw was just an annoyance but here there were a hazard. The trail and surrounding terrain for that matter is gravelly and I mean through out, and in many areas if the trail is on a hill the trail is sloping right along with it. Fighting the Catclaw, the slope, and the gravel is someone else's fight, I just pulled out my pruners (Think I'll make them part of my permanent gear).

I did a lot of back tracking. Again the gravel is every where and the trail is often seamless with the landscape, or looks like runoff and overgrown. And what is apparently not the trail can go on for quite a ways before revealing itself. For this I had many tools at my disposal. I humanized them and gave them names:

Duck Boy: He's in charge of the cairns. He's apparently a fair-weather friend and only at work when the trail is painfully obvious.

Stick Boy: Prone to dragging his stick in the ground, actually pretty helpful, unwittingly or not. Get there before the next rain. (That's tomorrow)

Horse Boy: Out of nowhere suddenly I am following a single track of Horseprints. He's pretty handy for a while but apparently not concerned about following the actual trail.

Ribbon Girl: Ribbon girl was amazing, if not somewhat hard to find, in some spots. Crucial if your taking the short cut. She's apparently only in action towards each end of the trail.

None of them were no match for Half Naked Drunk Boy. Half Naked Drunk Boy is an actual 40 year old drunk boy we spotted about a 1/4 mile from the finish... err, halfway point, coming up from a beach and disappearing with our trail over the next hill . Wendi expressed concern wondering what he was doing, I shrugged it off, as if I see this on every hike. As we descend into the arroyo that opens up to the beach, we see that Drunk Half Naked Boy has friend Old Hairy Tattoo Back Man. He's playing with a dog. The dog notices. He notices us. They both stare at us as we walk. I waive, they stare, hesitantly they wave(It was the infamous you're gonna catch my friend taking a dump stare).
I keep walking, now on the ascent out of the arroyo. Suddenly Drunk Half Naked Just Did My Business Boy comes over the hill, sees us and immediately took the most direct route from where he was back to where the beach and his friends were, which was not the path but through a patch of catclaws. It was hard watch, I almost offered my pruners, but his drunken state shielded him from most of the pain. Anyway we moved on...sadly, we moved on...WTH Who uses the trail as restroom....For a WEEK! I won't describe what I saw but it should be said that we did not finish this hike, and there were no friendly waives on the way back through the arroyo.
On the way in we took the long way, but we decided to take advantage of the shorter route on way back. Wendi spotted the Fox on the next ascent after the two trails come back together. We watched him for a while, he had obviously already seen us and on his escape up the nest hill he stopped for a minute to return our stair and then disappeared.
All in all this was an excellent hike, I feel the need to repeat myself. In fact I am adding this one to list of yearlies. But in words that one man might give to the next guy in line, "I might give that awhile". That's potty humor. : )
Palo Verde Trail #512
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Bartlett Reservoir -- Palo Verde Trail

Directions: Loop 101 to Pima Rd exit. North on Pima Road, 12 miles. East on Cave Creek Rd, 4.2 miles. East Bartlett Dam Rd, 13.3 miles to marina. Get your 24-hour pass for $6 at the bait shop. Back up the road a half mile to forest road 459, right turn, go .7 miles, right onto Lower Rattlesnake Rd. Park anywhere.


Time out: 10:15 a.m. Weather: Completely overcast, no breeze, warm. Go down the path towards the fishing pier. Just before the pier descends, the trailhead is to your left. Good luck finding the rest of the trail. I couldn't. Went back to the car for my guide book. Headed back up the trailhead. Still could not find the trail. Cut across a few arroyos hoping I would intersect the trail. Didn't. Head up a rideline hoping to intersect the trail. Didn't. Wandered around. Couldn't find it. Couldn't even see a hint of trail on any of the distant ridgelines or near the lake. Finally gave up, heading back to parking. Got plenty of cactus scars. At least it was exercise! :-)

Permit $$
Tonto Pass is required.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Take Scottsdale Road north passing the Boulders. Scottsdale Road turns into Tom Darlington. Continue through Carefree and turn right onto Cave Creek Road. Follow Cave Creek Road to the turnoff on Bartlett Dam Road. Follow the signs to the lake. Pay the parking fee and continue on to Rattlesnake Cove.

HAZ Member al1inaz updates: Take the 101 to the Pima Road Exit and head north on Pima Road. At 11.8 miles you intersect Cave Creek Road. Turn right. At approximately 4 miles you will come to the Bartlett Lake turnoff. Turn right. Follow the signs to the lake. Pay the parking fee and head north to Rattlesnake Cove. The trailhead is at the north end of the cove.
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