Bartlett Lake is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Situated approximately 48 miles northeast of metro Phoenix (closest cities are Care Free and Fountain Hills), this beautiful lake offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. It’s almost 3,000 acres of fun!
One of the most popular activities at Bartlett Lake is fishing. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish. Anglers can fish from the shore or rent a boat and explore the lake’s many coves and inlets. The lake’s calm waters make it an ideal location for both novice and experienced anglers. You’ll need an Arizona fishing license to fish the lake. You can acquire a license here.
In addition to fishing, Bartlett Lake is also a great spot for boating and water sports. Visitors can rent boats, jet skis, and other watercraft, or bring their own. The lake’s clear blue waters are perfect for swimming, tubing, and wake-boarding. There are also several beaches around the lake where visitors can relax and soak up the sun.
There are some regulations that you must follow at Bartlett Lake including:
• No glass containers.
• Be prepared for delays in boat access during summer weekends.
• The northern end of the lake is closed to waterskiing.
• Please observe buoys.
• Direction of travel on the reservoir is counterclockwise.
• Free-flowing portions of the Verde River are closed to motorized use.
• Rattlesnake Cove is closed to all motorized watercraft.
• Motors generating a noise level of greater than 82 decibels are prohibited.
• Be aware that motor boating involves hazards, and people engaging in this activity assume the associated risks.
• Periodic major drawdown of the water level occurs.
• Water levels fluctuate seasonally based on precipitation and irrigation demand.
• Trash service and toilets.
• Rocks and other obstacles may be near the water surface.
Maricopa County Sheriff, Arizona Game and Fish and Tonto National Forest personnel enforce regulations. For more information about regulations, click here.
For those visitors who prefer land-based activities, Bartlett Lake has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and desert landscape. The trails range in difficulty from easy to challenging, and visitors can choose from a variety of distances and terrains. Hikers may even spot some of the wildlife that calls the area home, such as coyotes, javelinas, and desert bighorn sheep. The most popular hikes at Bartlett Lake are:
The Rattlesnake Cove Trail – This 3-mile round-trip hike is considered the most popular at Bartlett Lake. It’s a moderately difficult hike that offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
The Jojoba Trail – This 4.5-mile round-trip hike is a bit more challenging than the Rattlesnake Cove Trail, but it’s also less crowded. The trail offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding desert landscape.
The Barnhardt Trail – This 6.4-mile round-trip hike is located a bit further away from the lake than the other two hikes, but it’s worth the drive. The trail is considered challenging, with steep switchbacks and rocky terrain, but the views of the Mazatzal Mountains and the Tonto National Forest are breathtaking.
It’s important to note that hiking can be dangerous, and visitors should always take appropriate safety precautions, such as bringing plenty of water, wearing appropriate footwear, and staying on designated trails. Additionally, visitors should check current trail conditions and weather forecasts before setting out on a hike. For current trail conditions, click here.
Camping is another popular activity at Bartlett Lake. The lake has several campgrounds that offer both primitive and RV camping options. Visitors can choose from sites with stunning views of the lake or opt for a more secluded spot in the surrounding desert. The campgrounds have amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms.
For more information on camping locations, permits and registration, click here.
Bartlett Lake is also a great place for birdwatching. The lake and surrounding area are home to a variety of bird species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons. Visitors can bring binoculars and a bird identification book to help them spot and identify the different species. Try the free phone app, Merlin by the Cornell Lab which can identify bird species by their songs and voices.
Overall, Bartlett Lake is a wonderful destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some time in nature. With its proximity to metro Phoenix and its wide range of activities, it’s no wonder why this beautiful lake is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.