We just celebrated Daddy’s birthday over the course of several days. Hey, he’s worth a few days. Woof! The highlight for me was spending the day at Horseshoe Lake, just 13 miles outside of Carefree, Arizona. You’d have to ask Daddy what he enjoyed most.
We drove out East on Carefree Highway through Cave Creek like we were heading to Bartlett Lake but instead turned left on Horseshoe Lake Road. You will see brown signs for the lake and will follow them.
In two miles, the pavement ends, and the road becomes a washboard, bumpy, dirt road. A big sign reads: “High clearance vehicles only,” but we disagree. We saw plenty of low-riding cars, and they did just fine. In fact, we even saw a couple of motorcycles on it! The road doesn’t have rocks or big holes in it; it is just full of those rivets that make for slow driving. We were out for a scenic drive, so who cares!
You’ll be on this road for eight miles until you see another brown sign for Horseshoe Lake. If you follow the road to the lake, some human restrooms are available in the small parking lot. Be sure to get out and take some pictures. Unless you are fishing, you won’t have anything else to do here. We didn’t see any shoreline or place for me to take a dip.
Back in the car we went to see the dam. As you head out, turn right on Dam Vista. This parking lot is bigger, but it doesn’t have any human restrooms. By the way, the lake resides in the Tonto National Forest. You will need a pass, but we didn’t see anyplace to buy one. Bring it with you.
Immediately, I smelled water—lots of it! The Verde River flows into and fills Horseshoe Lake, and because of all the epic rain and snow, it was flowing bigtime, creating a massive water fall off the dam. We aren’t sure how much flows normally, so if you have a chance, go see it in all its glory.
A paved walk way goes under the water fall. Mom said the sound was deafening, but I don’t hear much anymore. Probably a good thing. I was happy to walk through the cool, wet payment with a bit of water spray. Felt oh-so-good!
On the other side, you can hike up a little hill to get a fantastic view of Horseshoe Lake. We saw additional water falls and some people fishing. Again, we didn’t notice any dog-friendly shorelines or place to chill out by the lake.
Back through the water fall we went to the car. We packed a picnic to enjoy, and Daddy took us to the Horseshoe Campground. The Mesquite Recreation Area is also available for day use. Both are rugged and overgrown. Since no fees apply, expect very little maintenance. In fact, Mom says to bring your own toilet paper. I don’t worry about such things. I go where I want to go, thank you very much!
We were surprised how busy it was, but we found a spot with trees for shade. We parked, and Daddy laid down a big matt for the chairs and table. He set me up with a tether so I could wander and sniff. Of course, he did a snake check before I even got out of the truck. None to be seen, and that is fine by me!
Mom always makes a nice lunch for us, and I even had my own water bowl. They read books, and I relaxed in the tall grass. Ah. Time in nature…tis good for the soul! Other than a few irritating bugs, we enjoyed the afternoon. I knew my folks had dinner plans, so at the right time, I got up, walked over to the truck, and barked: “Time to go!” Okay, I can’t tell time, but I was spot on. Call it Shiba intuition! Awoof!
We had a lovely drive back home. We were surprised to see quite a few wildflowers out. The elevation right before the lake is 3,600 feet with cooler temps. I suspect the flowers bloomed a little later up there. Anyway, they were a special treat. As we know, the hotter it gets, the flowers wilt.
This adventure was an easy walk with very little hiking, but the waterfall was a real treat. You can’t go wrong with quiet and relaxing time in nature. Get outside and enjoy this wonderful planet we live on!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
and be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog/ and Instagram: kumaitothedog
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!