Horseshoe Reservoir

Area Status: Open

Water flowing over dam outlet


Horseshoe Reservoir is one of the most remote lakes in the area and features quiet recreation opportunities. Horseshoe Reservoir is one of the most remote lakes in the area -- ideal for anglers looking for a quiet lake. Horseshoe is one of the best fish nurseries in Arizona, with the refilling of the reservoir.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Day Use Only
Open Season: All year
Restrictions: Horseshoe Reservoir is the first of the Salt River Project lakes to be very low when irrigation and domestic water requirements dictate. It can be virtually dry for long periods of time. The entire lake is closed to water skiing, parasailing and the use of personal watercraft (jet-skis, etc). Speed limit 20 mph. No on-lake events allowed. Direction of travel on the water is counter-clockwise. Caution: Flowing debris is often present at or below the water surface. During low-water periods, Ocotillo ramp can get muddy and slippery, or be totally out of the water. Free-flowing portions of the Verde River are closed to motorized use. 25 horsepower motor limit.
Closest Towns: Cave Creek, Scottsdale
Water: Not available
Restroom: Not available (bury human waste away from beaten paths)
Information Center: Cave Creek Ranger District (480)-595-3300

General Information


From Carefree: Take Cave Creek Road to Bartlett Road. Turn right and travel 6 miles to the junction with FR 205; turn left onto an unmaintained unpaved road (first 2 miles paved). Continue for 11 miles on FR 205 to Horseshoe Reservoir.

View and download a map.

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 Smallmouth Bass, Channel and Flathead Catfish, Carp, and Bluegill.

Boating - Motorized

Boat Launching Sites Ocotillo

Motor Type 25 horsepower limit
Water/Flow Level Counter clock wise

Boating - Non-Motorized

Boat Launching Sites Ocotillo

Water/Flow Level Counter clock wise

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
Lake Size (Full) 2,800 acres; 27 miles of shoreline; 142 feet maximum; depth 5 miles long

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
2,026 feet