★★★☆☆ Easy / Phoenix Area
Enjoy a scenic stroll around Lake Pleasant’s intimate coves on the Wild Burro Hiking Trail. Hugging the shores of this bright blue, North Phoenix lake, this trail teems with wildflowers in Spring. Year round, it sparkles with enticing views of kayaks & sailboats frolicking on the water, and the possibility of a wild burro sighting.
TRAILHEAD: Desert Tortise ROAD, Lake Pleasant • DIFFICULTY: easy • DISTANCE: 2 MILES (4 MILES RT) • APPROX. TIME: 2 – 2.5 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: 200′ (approximately 14 stories) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 520-600 • BEST TIME OF YEAR: NOV. – April • PETS: YES • KID FRIENDLY: Yes • FACILITIES: YES, at day use areas • FEES: $7 day (or $85 Annual Maricopa Parks Pass)
In Springtime especially, this is a favorite desert hike. Starting around mid-March an explosion of wildflowers fill the shores of Lake Pleasant. Bright yellow Brittlebush, orange Globemallow and purple Lupine crowd the trail in a brilliant display of color.
From the trailhead, the Wild Burrow Trail rounds a small hill and then winds down to the water’s edge. The hike’s first mile meanders around small coves, where clear blue water plays host to ducks and small fish.
The trail ends at the start of the Pipeline Hiking Trail, just past a water tower Keep your eyes peeled while hiking both of these charming trails. You’ll likely spot one of the wild burros that frequent the lake and its surrounding hills.
The wild burros living around Lake Pleasant are descendants of the burros brought to America by the Spaniards in the 1500s. To keep them from overpopulating, some are rounded up each year and adopted out.
Directions From the intersection of I-17 and Carefree Highway (in North Phoenix) turn west onto Carefree Highway. Drive 11.45 miles on Carefree Highway (which turns into New River Highway) to Castle Hot Springs Road. Turn right / north on Castle Hot Spring Road, towards Lake Pleasant. Continue for 2.16 miles to the Lake Pleasant Access Road. Turn right / east to enter the Lake Pleasant Recreational Area. Take the first right / South Park Road, and then the first left / Desert Tortoise Road. The trailhead is on the right side of Desert Tortoise Road.