Bartlett Reservoir

Area Status: Open

Bartlett Lake


The Bartlett Reservoir area is noted for the spectacular vistas of the Desert Mountains and the Sonoran plant life. A fair portion of the west side of the reservoir is devoted to camping and picnicking. Bartlett has been a favorite with anglers since Bartlett Dam was constructed in 1939. Several state-record fish have been caught there. The 1977 Small-mouth Bass state record tipped the scales at seven pounds. The carp state record still stands at 37 lbs. 5 oz. Flathead Catfish lurk in the depths. “Fish City” near Bartlett Flat is a fish-habitat improvement project.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY: Harmful algae bloom in Bartlett Reservoir Lake
Permit Info: Group events like fishing tournaments require a permit. Contact the local Ranger District.
Open Season: Year-round, as water levels permit
  • No glass containers.
  • Be prepared for delays in boat access during summer weekends.
  • The northern end of the lake is closed to waterskiing.
  • Please observe buoys.
  • Direction of travel on the reservoir is counterclockwise.
  • Free-flowing portions of the Verde River are closed to motorized use.
  • Rattlesnake Cove is closed to all motorized watercraft.
  • Motors generating a noise level of greater than 82 decibels are prohibited.
  • Be aware that motor boating involves hazards, and people engaging in this activity assume the associated risks.
  • Periodic major drawdown of the water level occurs.
  • Water levels fluctuate seasonally based on precipitation and irrigation demand.
  • Trash service and toilets.
  • Rocks and other obstacles may be near the water surface.
  • Maricopa County Sheriff, Arizona Game and Fish and Tonto National Forest personnel enforce regulations.
Closest Towns: Cave Creek and Fountain Hills
Water: Available at Bartlett Lake Marina off of Horseshoe Dam Rd. & various recreation sites around lake
Restroom: Available at Bartlett Lake Marina off of Horseshoe Dam Rd. & various recreation sites around lake
Passes: America the Beautiful Passes are only accepted at the Picnicking Sites. For boating, a Tonto Daily Pass and Watercraft Sticker or Tonto Discovery Pass are required. ampground fees at various sites around Bartlett Reservoir might be separate from the Tonto Daily and Discovery pass. Please call Cave Creek Ranger District for specific details or visit individual websites
Information Center: Cave Creek Ranger District (480)-595-3300

General Information


The reservoir is 20 miles east of Carefree. From Carefree, take the Cave Creek Road/Forest Road (FR) 24 to the Bartlett Road/FR 19 junction. Turn right on this paved highway; it is 13 miles to the reservoir.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

Fish Species: Large and Smallmouth Bass; Crappie; Sunfish; Channel and Flathead Catfish

Fish Species Crappie, Large and Small-mouth Bass, Channel and Flathead Catfish, Carp, Bluegill, and Green Sunfish.


Picnicking ramadas are available at Rattlesnake Cove and Yellow Cliffs.

Boating - Motorized

Boat Launching Sites: Jojoba, Bartlett Flat, Bartlett Marina, Yellow Cliffs

Water/Flow Level Counter clock wise

Boating - Non-Motorized

Boat Launching Sites: Jojoba, Bartlett Flat, Bartlett Marina, Yellow Cliffs

Water/Flow Level Counter clock wise


  • All Tonto National Forest reservoirs (with the exception of Horseshoe Reservoir) are open to water-skiing.
  • Saguaro and Canyon Lakes are the most popular and both are very busy during the warmer months.
  • As a result of the heavy use, Bartlett, Saguaro, and Canyon lakes are limited in the number of boats allowed on them. On summer weekends, consider arriving early in the day to secure your spot.
  • Theodore Roosevelt is the largest of the Tonto's reservoirs; therefore, the capacity is higher and it is reached only on holiday weekends. Consider driving a little farther and discover the many miles of shoreline at Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
  • Many coves are 'No-Wake' areas. Please obey these areas marked by buoys.
  • Arizona boating laws are in effect.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
LAKE SIZE (FULL) 2,830 acres; 33 miles of shoreline; 174 feet maximum depth 12 miles long

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1,798 feet