Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hike #24: Palo Verde Trail, Tonto National Forest

Length: 7 miles

Bartlett Lake, formed by the damming of the Verde River, is the second largest lake developed by the Salt River Project and a major recreation area in the Phoenix area. The Palo Verde Trail, which runs along the lake's shore, provides an enjoyable, yet relatively isolated, hike among lush riparian land.

Beginning at Rattlesnake Cove (a large recreation area along the lake), the Palo Verde Trail turns left at the large dock and works its way along a well-worn path. The trail weaves it's way through some thick growth until it comes to a series of rugged cliffs. Continuing along the coastline past many wood-littered beaches and through multiple washes, the trail passes through the surrounding hills with the lake resting immediately to the right.

Eventually, the trail comes to a major wash and forks. The trail to the left heads away from the shore and provides a shortcut to the turn-around point; the trail to the right is much lengthier and continues tracing the shoreline much as the trail had done for the previous miles. At this point, I was ready to travel the shortest path possible to end this journey. Unfortunately, the shortcut was not so easily followed (even with multiple trail markers), and I merely decided to turn around and end the hike a mile early.

To view more photos of the Palo Verde Trail, click here.

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