by Paul Fiarkoski
I have heard some good things about Saguaro Lake about 30 miles northeast of Mesa, AZ but it took me over two years after moving to Arizona to make my first visit. There is plenty to do at Saguaro, and my first experience was hike on the Butcher Jones Trail – a scenic, fairly easy hike with varied terrain, flora and fauna.
A friend and I arrived at the trail head parking lot, which also serves the lake’s only designated beach, around 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning in mid October. About a dozen people beat us to the punch and were already taking to the trails and water.
Bob and I began our leisurely stroll along the eastern shore and took it easy as we meandered along the well-marked path. The trail hugs the shoreline for about a mile, then dog-legs to the left across a stretch of desert before intersecting with a bay just of the reservoir’s main channel.
What stands out most to me about this hike is the presence of water, which is in short supply in Arizona. In addition to the numerous scenic views of the lake below, the trail winds through some of the thickest foliage you will likely find this close to the desert floor.
Whether you’re visiting Arizona or live hear, if you like moderate hikes with great views, you owe it to yourself to give Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake a try.