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Palo Verde Trail

  3.5 ( 2 ) Favorite


8.4 mile 13.5 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 251' 77 m
Descent: -252' -77 m
High: 1,880' 573 m
Low: 1,801' 549 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 3% (2°)


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Trail shared by Justin S.

Palo Verde Trail is incredibly scenic with many spectacular views.

Justin S.

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


The Palo Verde Trail stretches almost four miles from Rattlesnake Cove to SB Cove, weaving in and out of several turns and roller-coastering almost continuously up and down and up again. Along the way you pass through a beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape, framed by outstanding views of the Mazatzal Mountains to the east and north.

Need to Know

No trail maps provided, be wary of wildlife and fallen cacti.


Palo Verde trail passes by Bartlett Lake, a beautiful lake to cool off at during the summer heat. The 14-mile drive from the turnoff to the lake is magical - saguaros line the curvy road while plump roadrunners and quail scurry across the sand. When you pass over the final hill, the view of the long body of water is just amazing. The trail winds through rocky outcrops and crosses several ridges and hill slopes offering scenic views of Bartlett Reservoir.

The south end of the trail begins near the northern edge of the Rattlesnake Cove Recreation Site. The trail roughly parallels the shoreline of Bartlett Reservoir, providing access to the shore, crossing washes and small ridges, and running along hill slopes. From Rattlesnake Cove Trailhead to SB Cove is 3.8 mi. A 1.2 mi. loop-trail intersects the main trail at two locations: about 0.5 mi. south of SB Cove and again at 0.8 mi. south of SB Cove. The loop-trail provides access to other

Flora & Fauna

This trail passes through the Arizona Upland Phase of the Sonoran Desert, featuring saguaro cactus, mesquite, palo verde and ironwood trees. Bartlett Reservoir has been popular with anglers almost since the dam was constructed in 1939. Fish species include crappie, large and smallmouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, carp, bluegill and green sunfish. Along with many partners, the USDA Forest Service is improving fish habitat by installing a variety of structures in strategic locations.

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Mar 18, 2019
Jessica M
wildflowers 2.5mi
Jan 15, 2018
Christine Peters

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes


  3.5 from 2 votes
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in Arizona


15 Views Last Month
3,214 Since Apr 27, 2015



Bartlett Lake in all its glory - from the Palo Verde Trail
Apr 27, 2015 near Rio Verde, AZ
Bartlett Lake Ahead!
Apr 27, 2015 near Rio Verde, AZ
Beautiful Lakeview
Apr 27, 2015 near Rio Verde, AZ
Beautiful AZ landscape
Apr 27, 2015 near Rio Verde, AZ
View from beyond the brush
Apr 27, 2015 near Rio Verde, AZ


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