Length: 2 miles (just a short portion of the trail)
With the cooler weather in the Phoenix area lately, I decided to try another attempt at the Superstition Wilderness, which is the mountainous area just east of the city. Several months ago, I attempted the Boulder Canyon Trail...only to succumb to the heat and humidity of July in Arizona. Well, I can gladly say that the weather was perfect this morning for my trip to the Butcher Jones Trail!
The Butcher Jones Trail traces it way through the riparian and desert areas along the western shores of Saguaro Lake. The lake, which is the smallest formed by a series of dams along the Salt River, provides a beautiful oasis of wildlife and vegetation quite uncharacteristic of the desert. The first 1/4 mile of this trail is well-developed with paved sidewalks, hand railings, and plenty of trees.
However, the trail soon leaves the shoreline, and the path becomes much rougher! For about a half mile, the rocky trail weaves it's way between a variety of interesting cacti. Unfortunately, the trail soon all but disappears....becoming overgrown and all but impossible to follow. Although I made several attempts to find the correct path, I only found myself scrambling again and again through low underbush! In the end, I had to admit defeat and give up on the Butcher Jones Trail.
On a side note, I would like to mention that all areas surrounding the Saguaro Lake require a Tonto Forest Parking Pass. Before I went this morning, I had read a number of sources that said that the fee had either been discontinued or that you could pay for the permit on site. Neither of these things were true! You must purchase a day pass at a gas station in town before heading out there...learn from my mistake and save yourself the extra 20 miles required to return to the nearest gas station!
To see more pictures of the Butcher Jones Trail and Saguaro Lake, click here.