Northshore Lake Pleasant Trail
On this short trail, get down close to the waters of Lake Pleasant where you can relax while you enjoy the serene view or throw out a line to catch some fish. Consider spending the weekend camped on the shore (park fees may be required).
Where to go:
From I-10 and Loop 101 in the West Valley, head north on Loop 101 for 14 miles. Take exit 15 (Union Hills Dr.) and turn left. Turn right onto 83rd Ave and follow it north for 1 mile. 83rd turns left into Lake Pleasant Parkway. Follow this north for 9 miles and then turn left onto AZ-74. Follow 74 west past Lake Pleasant for 5 miles and then turn right onto Castle Hot Springs. Continue north on Castle Hot Springs Road for 10.0 miles, ignoring side roads that lead to Lake Pleasant. The road turns to dirt and then crosses over Lake Pleasant. Follow the signs for Crown King by turning right onto Cow Creek Road. Staging is off to the right after 1.5 miles along an old dirt strip (33°57'2.21"N 112°18'40.38"W).
From the staging area, turn left onto Cow Creek Road and follow it south for half a mile. Just before the road turns right downhill, turn left off the main road.
The trail narrows as it leaves the main road. Stay left at 1.1 miles where the trail splits. Driver’s choice at 1.9 miles. Right leads to some of the northwestern coves of Lake Pleasant. Left takes you to some of the more central coves. The trail splits many more times with all the trails leading down to Lake Pleasant. If you explore most of the major coves, it’ll be about 8-9 miles of riding. There are numerous places to stop and have lunch or even set up camp close to the waters of Lake Pleasant. Because this is a regional park, fees may apply for camping overnight, check with the ranger booth along Castle Hot Springs Road if you plan on doing this.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This is a short trail, even if you explore every cove, it is still less than 20 miles of riding. Plan for less than 10 miles of riding from the staging area to the lake and back. The trail is rated ‘4’ because of some of the tight places where you may get Arizona pin-stripping as well as a few washouts along the trail. Stock SUV’s with high clearance can make it to the lake. Good trail for OHV’s as well. Plan for less than an hour to do this trail, allow for more time if you want to stop for lunch or to play around. Numerous other trails in the area (Castle Hot Springs Loop, Tule Creek Homestead Trail, and the Backway to Crown King) are other options to extend your day or weekend.