register help

Butcher Jones Trail #463, AZ

990 122 1
Guide 122 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.4 of 5 by 37
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,534 feet
Elevation Gain 180 feet
Accumulated Gain 600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.4
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
8  2019-05-20 azsunshine
1  2019-01-30 kelly14
14  2019-01-26 kenandjude
10  2018-11-27 CannondaleKid
2  2018-08-12 jacobemerick
12  2018-03-17
Rolling Hills - Butcher Jones
15  2017-11-19 DarthStiller
3  2017-11-17 TJHIKER
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 10
Author OhOh7
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 2
Photos 1,591
Trips 81 map ( 435 miles )
Age 83 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Seasons   Late Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:29pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Trash and beauty
by OhOh7

History by Teva Joe
Dr Jones did surgery on his dining room table... the butcher was supposedly a friend of our favorite Dutchman. The recreation area opened in 1960. By late '62 after 150k visitors it closed two months for renovations due to being so busy. In '64, three Saguaros were axed down across a road in an attempt to cause an accident.

This is a lakeside hike on the east side of Saguaro Lake and is an excellent hike to take out of town guests who think Arizona is all desert. Dan and I were abaolutely stunned and disgusted at the trash and garbage we saw along the trail. We can not believe there are idiots who simply drag their trash along the trail with beer bottles and cans and have no respect at all for nature.

We started out at 5:30 AM from the trailhead clearly marked at the SW end of the parking lot at the end of the Butcher Jones road from the Bush highway. The first 1/3 mile is sidewalk and pavement as it goes to a large boat launch area and gate at Peregrine Point. From here on it is actual trail along the lake winding around its arms until you cross over the peninsula which is a short up and down jaunt. There are many great photo opportunities and excellent lake views. There is even a place where, through a canyon to the south, the Flatiron is framed from the Superstitions.

A nice variation that will add a mile or so and some climbing can be done when you come to the first u turn around a lake arm. The main trail goes to the right around the end of the arm but another faint trail goes to the left up a hill. You can climb to the top where you can look down on the parking lot and see the Four Peaks clearly.

Except for the horrible trash we saw, this is a wonderful trail that has trees, reeds, water, desert plants and beautiful flowering trees. Your friends from other states will not believe we are in the center of the Arizona desert (even though the lake is man made by Stewart Dam)

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.

2004-06-13 OhOh7
    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 16 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Time to check out Butcher Jones Loop, did a variation of our last loop, and was a nice one, one spot needs some rocks laid down due to the height of the mini-falls, also had a couple of small slot canyons, jumped out of this wash and headed over to our previous route. Had a snack at the Promontory Point over looking Burro Cove. Nice hike, some patches of color, but not much. After we got to the main trail it was Grand Central Station all the way back. Was not a open parking spot anywhere when we left. Was nice to get back here, someone has been doing trimming, Thanks
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Short hike around Saguaro Lake with the boy and the Gabby Dog. I used to go fishing at Butcher Jones with my Grandpa when I was a kid but I have never hiked here. I really enjoyed this hike. This was a really cool trail that takes you in and out of some coves that have some really cool overhanging trees and then a nice desert section. Excellent views of the lake the whole time! Unfortunately there were views of massive trash pile ups, also. There were fisherman in every single little cove and lots of boats on the lake at 7AM, I can only imagine what it's like in the afternoon. The trail is pretty well defined until you get around to the east side and then it's a bushwack. We found a tiny little beach from underneath all the trees and bushes. This is where we took a short break and then turned around. Jumped in the lake for a while afterwards to cool off. I wish every desert hike in AZ had a lake to cool off in afterwards!
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Fun day at the lake!
    Hiking - Swimming - Photography
    Hiked to Burro Cove and back.
    Swam at the beach.
    Encountered my 1st rattlesnake of the season, black-tail.
    Found horses in a wash at the end of my hike.
    Saw lots of saguaro blooms.
    Enjoyed several good desert & lake views.
    Good cloud cover today keeping it all cool.
    Was good to see Saguaro Lake again, it had been a while!
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My cat woke me up at 3am because he wanted to go on a walk. I walk my cat, by the way. Seeing that sleep was not in my future plans for tonight (my cat's quite persistent when he wants something), I ended up walking my cat for an hour. After that, I eat, cleaned, and decided that I should do something productive on my day off.

    I decided on Butcher Jones. Who's Butcher Jones, by the way? I wanted to see some bald eagles. I didn't see any. Clouds were blocking the sun at first, making photography a bit more challenging than I wanted it to be, but it cleared up later. I saw a dback and possibly a new bird species for me, but I'm not sure. There were a bunch of bird out.

    Afterwards, I was supposed to have a photo shoot at Gilbert Riparian Preserve. My model canceled on me, but I went there anyway.
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I should really explore this area more. I read some triplogs, and the biggest complaint about this area is that it is too crowded and trashy. I've only been here twice. Maybe it was luck, but I've haven't seen it crowded or trashy. This trip, I've only seen 2 people on the trail with a few bird watchers near the beginning.

    I was hoping to see some bighorn sheep and a bald eagle or three, but I saw none. :( I did hear a bald eagle screeching in the distance. Probably a cold winter day would be best to see them. Instead, I saw a few song birds, more coots than you can shoot, western grebes in large numbers.

    The hike was okay. It's really nothing special. I'm sure that this trail does get busy, scaring away the wildlife, except for the coots. The views were great, but I mainly hike to see wildlife. I figured that I'd see more birds at least, but the birds were far and few. I did see my first canyon towhee, my 55th new species seen this year. Thanks Outdoor Lover for identifying it.

    I checked out Burro Cove and the other coves. Don't bother exploring all the coves. They all look the same. On the return, I saw a small patchnosed snake. It slithered into a hole before I could photograph it. Then exited the hole as soon as I put my camera away and went back underground when I got my camera ready. :tt:

    I didn't want to leave without photographing a snake (not for my sake, but for you all), so I scrambled a bit and almost stepped on a little diamondback. Afterwards, I saw a few more song birds and called it a day and had to rush to work.

    I guess I'll have to go to CA to see some bighorns this weekend.
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After my 1st hike out to Saguaro, hiking solo last spring, I knew I wanted to return with Roger to plot out making a true loop out of Butcher Jones #463. I had reviewed Kingsnake's Lasso Loop up the wash and back to Burro Cove's overlook and MEWhiteman's extension of the trail past the overlook and all looked doable. Off we went, as we went up to the wash and made our left on ( Kingsnake's tracks ) we were glad we took our clippers along, was really overgrown, but as we exited the overgrowth after approximately 100 feet, it opened up to a nice wide wash with a easy hike up to the ridgeline, we paused to review our route and wondered about the Slot Canyon and if it was doable :scared: , we agreed we'd try it as it didn't look to bad, and we're glad we did as it gave us a little thrill of the unknown :y: . We worked our way around and over several Rolls that were to steep to cross and worked our way over to a Cove overlook and had lunch. Left our sweet spot and worked our way East and around the hill following a Critter Trail ( just as the Excursion Boat went by, bet they thought they spotted a couple of big Rams ;) ) and connected back up to MEWhiteman's Extension tracks and hooked back up to the official route back to the TH. We'll go again soon and do some trail maintenance on the Extension to give the trail some identity and make it easier to traverse.
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Judy and I on the Memorial Day weekend. Got one of the last parking spots at 9:15 AM. Trail was not that busy and as others have said there was a lot of trash along the trail. Very nice views down onto the lake. It was getting warm so we turned around a bit before the end of the trail. Will do again.
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    So close to the house and this was my 1st trip out to this trail :( :( .... WHAT a pleasant surprise !!!! Will not be my last , looks good for a nice loop seen an Eagle and a Gila Monster
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Planned to hike from Butcher Jones TH across the north shore of Saguaro Lake to the AZNG site on Hill 1980 at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek. Got to the TH only to discover it was a fee area ... and they don't sell passes at the Saguaro Lake marina. Yet, also in the Tonto NF, they *do* sell passes at the Bartlett Lake marina. Why the difference? Very inconvenient. Very goverment bureaucratic. :roll:

    Thought about risking the ticket. Not sure if the Ft. Dowell gas station sells them; it's equidistant to Mesa, but a lot faster doing 70 on the Beeline Hwy, than 35-45 through the cop gauntlet on Bush Hwy. Ended up going to Mesa, just so I would not strike out in Ft. McDowell and get really :tt: having to go to Mesa. I was already stressed out enough as it was. (Just life.)

    Hiked .75 miles up the semi-paved beginning of Trail #463, before turning left/north up a small canyon. It was smooth sailing for a mile. Some small flowers, but not many.

    I cut over a saddle, finding myself going down a slot canyon. I probably could have negotiated it, but I wanted to move faster, so exitted, working my way instead down a spur towards the next wash. The wash was not deep, but it was steep. When I got to the top of the next spur, and looked in the direction of Hill 1980, I thought, "This is going to take much longer than I thought." And, I would have to come back the same way. Audible.

    Instead, I went to the end of the spur, which projected into Saguaro Lake, then sat down to listen to the waves. It was quite relaxing. I needed to think about life, and wash away the stress. (I had woke up even more :x than I had went to bed.) After 45 minutes, I worked my way back, following a ridge for a bit, and finding many flowers, before dropping back into my small canyon.

    By the time I got back on Trail #463 it was Piestewa Peak busy. On a Thursday. 20 miles out of town. I was shocked. :o I busted it up the trail for a couple of miles until I came to a small outcropping of rocks, where I took my second break, with my usual snack of vinegar chips and energy bar. Despite taking my time returning to Butcher Jones TH, and taking many more flower pix, I was still passing people left and right. But at least the majority of people were friendly, unlike trails inside the city. :)

    Hike Video:
    Butcher Jones Trail #463
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My girlfriend and I brought one of our friends here. He hadn't been hiking in years, and we figured this was a good starting point for him with some nice scenery. Completely overcast when we got there around 10:45am, and looked like it was probably gonna rain. Not a lot of people at the TH. It was pretty breezy, making for some nice little waves on the lake. The sound of the water was immediately calming.

    We ran across quite a few people along the first mile of the trail, but we saw pretty much no one after that point. I guess most people don't actually finish this trail. We saw several falcons and bald eagles. Hard to get good photos of them with the bad lighting. It sprinkled on us a few times throughout the hike, but it never really rained. It was a great day out there. This was a pretty good workout for our friend, but I think he had a good time. Hopefully I can get him to come hiking with us more often.

    A decent amount of flowers scattered throughout most of the trail.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    North on Beeline highway to the Bush highway junction. Right on Bush Highway to the well marked Butcher-Jones turnoff. Or, North on Ellsworth until it turns into Usury Pass highway to a stop sign. Right turn on Bush highway to butcher-Jones turnoff. it is about 20 miles from east mesa, an easy half hour.

    Tonto Pass is required!
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
    help comment issue

    end of page marker