Carefree is adjacent to many scenic lakes in the surrounding area that provide picnicking, water skiing, fishing and camping enjoyment. Some lakes offer picturesque mountainous scenery, large stands of Saguaro Cactus with beautiful desert views with spectacular wildflowers during the spring.
Located in the heart of Tonto National Forest, Bartlett Lake is fed by the pristine waters of the Verde River which Indians of this valley spoke descriptively in their legends of the river's "sweet waters". Located just 20 miles east of Carefree, visitors can drive to Bartlett Lake for a variety of recreational opportunities, including shoreline camping in Arizona's natural desert terrain. Visitors may catch a glimpse of diverse wildlife from mule deer, bald eagles, javelina, coyotes, as well as many indigenous desert plants, including the majestic saguaro, mesquite trees and blooming ocotillo.
20808 E Bartlett Dam Rd
Tonto National Forest
40202 N. Cave Creek Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
Horseshoe Lake, also known as Horseshoe Reservoir, is located inside the Tonto National Forest and one of the most remote lakes in the area. The lake features quiet recreation opportunities, ideal for anglers looking for a quiet lake and is one of the best fish nurseries in Arizona. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. Horseshoe Lake feeds its water to Bartlett lake just below it to the south.
Tonto National Forest Supervisor’s Office
2324 E. McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85006
One of the most scenic water recreation areas in the “Valley of the Sun,” this northwest valley park is a recreationist’s dream. Lake Pleasant offers many activities, such as camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
41835 N. Castle Hot Springs Rd.
Morristown, AZ 85342