Horsethief Boating Site / Day Use Area

***Until further notice, use of a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for those who plan to visit recreation sites in Horsethief Basin.


Fish Consumption Advisory: The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), in association with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), issued a fish consumption advisory for largemouth bass caught from Horsethief Basin Lake in Yavapai County and south of the community of Crown King. This advisory is based on recent analysis of fish tissue data that indicate elevated levels of mercury. 


Site Description: This site is open year round and is located near a 3.5 acre lake. Swimming and motorized boats are not allowed. No camping is permitted in day use sites.


  • No drinking water
  • No toilet
  • No garbage service - Please pack it out

Horsethief Basin Brocure (12.8 MB PDF)

At a Glance

Fees: No
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Outside of Crown King; Approximately 2.5 hours from I-17; Prescott, AZ
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information


The best route from Prescott is by way of Mayer, particularly in winter. Take Main St. through the town of Mayer continuing east to the junction with the Antelope Creek Road. Continue southeast on this road for approximately 9 miles to Cordes. At the road junction in Cordes take Forest Road 259 to Crown King. At Crown King take FR 259A south for 0.5 miles to the junction with FR 52. Take FR 52 southeast for approximately 6 miles.

If approaching from Interstate I-17, take the Bumble Bee exit and continue north on this dirt road, taking FR 259 to Crown King. Then take FR 259A south from Crown King to where it joins FR 52. Take FR 52 southeast for about 6 miles to the Horsethief Basin recreation area.

The road condition is an unimproved dirt road, high clearance vehicles only.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

  • Horsethief Lake is not stocked with fish, but patient anglers may catch bass, catfish, channel catfish, and sunfish.
  • A valid fishing or combination license is required for resident and non-resident anglers 10 years of age or older fishing any public accessible water in Arizona.

Boating - Non-Motorized

  • Non-motorized boats are allowed on Horsethief Lake.


Please see the news release dated August 28, 2020 for more information about swimming in the lakes on the Forest.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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  Elevation : 
6,100 feet