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Boating On Horseshoe Lake In Arizona

By AA-Boats & Boating Staff Writers

Horseshoe Lake, Arizona

Free Public Boating & Water Sport Activities

Horseshoe Lake is a picturesque reservoir located in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. Situated near the town of Cave Creek, the lake is surrounded by breathtaking desert landscapes, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Boating is available at Horseshoe Lakes. Whether it's paddling a kayak or gliding along in a motorboat, boating offers a fantastic way to soak in the serene beauty of the lake and the surrounding scenery.

The lake's peak season for boating and water sports typically runs from spring through early fall, when the weather is warm and inviting. During this time, the lake attracts both locals and tourists eager to escape the summer heat and engage in water-based activities.

The Ocotillo Boat Launch Ramp is a convenient and well-maintained facility that allows easy access to the lake for boaters. It offers a hassle-free way to launch boats and watercraft, ensuring a smooth start to a day of exploration and enjoyment on the water.

Camping opportunities are available around Horseshoe Lake, with several campgrounds situated nearby. Visitors can choose from both developed and primitive campsites, providing various levels of amenities and facilities. Camping enthusiasts can immerse themselves in nature, enjoy stargazing, and wake up to the peaceful sounds of the surrounding wilderness.

Fishing is another popular activity at Horseshoe Lake, with anglers seeking to catch various fish species, including bass, catfish, sunfish, and more. The lake's diverse fish population makes it a favorable spot for fishing year-round, providing an opportunity to reel in a rewarding catch.

Horseshoe Lake in Arizona offers a perfect blend of boating, water sports, camping, and fishing in a serene and scenic setting. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Tonto National Forest, the lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether it's gliding across the waters on a boat, setting up camp under the stars, or casting a line to catch a fish, Horseshoe Lake promises an enjoyable and memorable experience for all who venture to this desert oasis.

Boating, camping and fishing.

Located northeast of Carefree, AZ, is the remote boating and fishing option, Horseshoe Lake. This is a 2,200-acre reservoir when full, and lake levels often fluctuate dramatically - often limiting boat and fishing success. The boat launch is primitive, and parking is often limited. As a result, the lake receives limited pressure. When the fishing is good, avid Horseshoe fans may have it all to themselves. Fed by the Verde River, the lake has big catfish along with bass, crappie and sunfish. The primary road to the lake ends at the boat ramp, and offers access to some shoreline for bank fishing. Other shorelines are accessible via four-wheel drive roads, or walking the lake bed when water levels are low. Note that the lake bed may be muddy and unstable for vehicles.

Area Amenities

Marina: NO
Boat Rental: NO
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: NO
RV Hookups: NO
Lodging: NO
Convenience Store: NO
Bait & Tackle: NO
Restaurant: NO


There are places for primitive camping near the lake. However, the closest campground is at nearby Bartlett Lake, approximately 45 minutes away.

Horseshoe Reservoir Map


Fish species found in Horseshoe Lake include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, rainbow trout and bluegill.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish Black crappie Rainbow trout Bluegill

Click here for a AZ Fishing License.

Local Contact Information

Horseshoe Lake
Tonto National Forest
602 225-5200

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