This is an excellent short ride that will get you out of town to a little higher elevation. If you are looking for something quick, scenic and fun to ride this is the one for you. Bartlett lake is located about 20 miles East of Carefree in the Tonto National Forest. It is a very fun ride that will take you as high as 3200 feet in elevation while meandering through the desert twisties and rolling hills before dropping down to the lake. Once you get in sight of the lake you will experience some beautiful desert saguaros, mountain vistas and lake views. After you make it to the lake you can turn left on the road to Bartlett Flats that will take you 3 3/4 miles through some beautiful scenery to the lakes edge or turn right that will take you to the Marina. On the weekends you can go to the Concession trailer that will let you into the Marina area for food and drink. For more information on Bartlett Lake Click Here or call 602-316-3378.

Option 1: If you are inclined to get off and take a short hike, you can stop at the Sears- Kay Ruins, which is about 3 miles North of Bartlett Lake Dam Rd. This is an old Indian ruins that you can follow about a 1 mile trail and see the ruins. Once you come back out of Barlett Dam Rd. you can turn right and follow that another 3 miles to the ruins.

Option 2: You can continue on past the ruins that will take you another 2 miles through some 15 mph switchbacks, hills and raw desert until the pavement runs out and the road turns to gravel. A fun little stretch. I would recommend it.

Distance: Varies from where you start in the Valley. It was 113 miles roundtrip for me starting at I-17 and Loop 101.

Riding Time: Approx. 3 hours
(Depending on where you start from)

Depending on where you start from will affect the total time and mileage.

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Starting from Loop 101 take the Pima Rd. Exit and go North.
Go North on Pima Rd. 13 miles to Cave Creek Rd.
BE ADVISED! There is a noise ordinance in Carefree. If you have loud pipes, take it easy through that area.
Turn right on Cave Creek Rd. and ride 5 miles to Bartlett Dam Rd.
Turn Right on Bartlett Dam Rd. and ride 14 miles to Bartlett Lake.

Scenes From Bartlett Lake

When you get to the lake you can take a left at the sign and go 3 3/4 miles to Bartlett Flats. The last 1/4 mile is dirt but it is a very good road. This will take you right to the water's edge.

For more information on Bartlett Lake Click Here

Option 1: If you would like to stop and take a hike, you can turn right as you come back out of Bartlett Dam Rd. and go about 3 miles to Sears-Kay Ruins. There is a 1 mile trail that will take you to the ruins. Below is a picture of the sign explaining what you will see.

For more information on The Sears-Kay Ruins Click Here

Option 2: Be sure and go the extra 5 miles North as you come out of Bartlett Dam Rd. This is a very fun and very short run through twisties and raw desert. You will pass an old gold mine on the way, but the road getting to it is pretty bad. Unless you are a skilled rider on rock I wouldn't recommend it. I did it and it was a little exciting coming back down.

My Review Of This Ride:

Pros: A thouroughly enjoyable short ride out of the city. You get to an elevation of 3200 feet so it is even a little cooler out there. I would recommend this as a morning ride or late evening ride in the summer months. The rest of the year would be enjoyable at any time. If you get thirsty or hungry while you are there, you can go to the concession trailer near the Marina for food and beverage. On weekends you can stop at this same trailer and they will let you down to the Marina to eat cooked meals while sitting on the water.

Cons: No cons on this one. It is a great short ride. The only thing would be that it could be longer.

Conclusion: I give this ride 3.5 Spokes out of 5

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