Duration: 4 Hours Main Activity: View of Waterfalls Park Pass Required: Yes Trail Rating: 1 Easy Meal: In Cave Creek or Scottsdale Best Season: During Water Releases
  • Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Booking

The Horseshoe Dam is just 25 miles outside the beautiful town of Cave Creek. The dam is 1,500 feet long, 144 feet high, and was built between 1944-1946. The dam forms the Horseshoe Reservoir as it slows the passage of the Verde River. The Horseshoe Reservoir is the first of the Salt River Project lakes. The dam was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

The Horseshoe Dam is unique because there is a walking path which allows you to get behind the water flowing over the dam. You can get very close to the water below the dam which cascades down into a beautiful multi-tiered waterfall flowing over large rocks. The views are stunningly beautiful when there is a release of water happening.

Check if the Waterfall is Flowing

You can check the status of the water release over the falls by visit this website and look at the Horseshoe release (cfs) number: Daily Water Report also this site: NWIS

The “waterfall” only occurs when water is being released from Horseshoe Reservoir, one of several dams storing and delivering water to metro Phoenix. Unfortunately, large releases from Horseshoe Dam aren’t that common, usually only occurring during wet periods when the system can’t safely store any additional water.

Great Fishing!

Just below Horseshoe Dam is some of Arizona’s best fishing. Popular spots include: Catfish Point and Mesquite Cove. You can take a small boat on the Verde River just below Horseshoe Dam, but take caution as the current can push you down river if the SRP is releasing heavy water from the dam. You can catch a variety of fish below the dam including large mouth Bass, Flathead and Channel Catfish, Carp and a variety of Sunfish.

NOTE: If you wish to fish below the dam you will need to bring your own fishing poles, tackle, and bait. A Tonto Day Pass permit is provided for you.

The closest towns are Cave Creek and Scottsdale. There is an 11 mile off-road portion of this trip to reach the dam. During this trip you can choose to  visit the nearby Bartlett Lake as well. However, if you wish to keep this trip duration shorter we can skip visiting Bartlett Lake.

Horseshoe Dam Itinerary

Itineraries

MEET

Time : 10:00 am

Departure

Meet in and Depart from Fountain Hills. (Hotel Pick-up Included)

Travel to the Dam

Time : 11:30 am

Travel Time

Travel on-road for 1 hour through the town of Cave Creek and off-road for 30 minutes to the dam parking area.

Explore the Dam and Waterfall

Time : 1:30 pm

Exploration

You will have about 1 to 2 hours to explore the dam and waterfall.

Bartlett Lake

Lake Exploration

After leaving the dam and waterfall we will travel a short distance to view and explore nearby Bartlett Lake.

Bald Eagle Nest and Wild Horses

Optional Stop

On our way home you will have the opportunity to visit an active Bald Eagle nest and a chance to view the Verde River wild horses.

Travel Home

Time : 4:30 pm

On-Road Return Home

Drive on-road back to Fountain Hills (or your hotel).
  • Trip Name
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    Group (min-max)
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  • Pricing Name: 1 To 4 People
    Start:
    Group (Min/Max): 1 pax / 4 pax
    price: $275.00 /Group