Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
612.00 ft (186.54 m)
Trail type
5.80 mi (9.33 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Butcher Jones trails is a 5.8-mile trail that follows the shore of Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest.  This trail is a beautiful way to explore the lake that was created in 1928 when the Salt River was dammed.  The trailhead starts from the Butcher Jones recreational area. While there is plenty of parking this area serves as an area for beach goers and paddleboarders the lot begins to get crowded on nice weather days. The trailhead has limited amenities so hikers should bring their own water. A Tonto National Forest Day Pass is required.  The best option is to get a pass in town as the pay stations at the trailhead can be unreliable.

Hikers will set out through a mesquite bosque and then will be greeted immediately by views of the lake.  Hikers will make their way out to Peregrin Point for the first major view of the trail.  Hikers will then hike around the cove, and they will then begin one of the main climbs of the hike.  Hikers should occasionally glance behind them as they will get an open view of the Four Peaks.  Hikers will make a turn to the south at the apex of the hill and get a view of the lake as it narrows onto a beautiful red walled canyon.  Hikers will then descend gradually and will have options to take side hikes to the lake if they so wish. 

Hikers will continue to the end of the trail which ends in a fork.  Hikers can follow the trail to Burro Cove or the Shoreline.  Both are about a half mile in total, and hikers can easily do both.  Once hikers have explored the area, they can return to the trailhead the way that they came.  This is a beautiful way to explore the Tonto National Forest.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day Use Parking

Open Year-round



Beautiful Lake Views.



Trailhead Elevation

1,531.00 ft (466.65 m)

Highest point

1,710.00 ft (521.21 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona


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