Lake Pleasant’s Burros: Fun to Watch, Illegal to Feed

If you take a drive out to Scorpion Bay Marina, you’ll likely see some wildlife along the way. Burros are among the many species that live around the lake and are often spotted in campsites, on trails, and even alongside the road. As tempting as it is to stop and check them out, experts say that’s what you shouldn’t do. “The first thing is to keep your windows up,” said Dawna Taylor from the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department (MCPRD). “The burros are actually managed by the Bureau of Land Management, but we handle a lot of calls from people who have questions about them.

Since Taylor has been with MCPRD, she said the number of burros in the area has grown, meaning people are seeing them more often and in areas farther from the lake. However, she said where they roam doesn’t change the way you should interact with them. “They’re wild animals, and we want to keep them that way. The more you feed them, the less likely they are to stay wild,” she said.

Taylor also said approaching them could be dangerous. “If you have a mom with their young, they’re very protective and can kick and buck. So, please, please don’t approach them and definitely don’t feed them.” She said it’s best to treat them the way you would any other wild animal:


  • Enjoy them from a distance
  • Respect their space
  • Take pictures from afar


  • Approach
  • Feed1
  • Leave food behind; this encourages them to forage for scraps instead of their natural food

1 SOURCE: Arizona Game and Fish Department Article on Don’t Feed Wildlife – Keep Wildlife Wild. Website link

Taylor said if the burros approach you, walk away. “The more you linger and stay with them, the longer they’re going to stay with you.”

The burros are most active: earlier in the morning hours when they’re out getting something to eat before parks and trails get busy, but you’re also likely to see them in the late afternoon when they head back to where they’ll rest for the night. “People may spot them along the roadway in the evening, like around 4 p.m., so slow down. The speed limit is 35mph, but even slower going around the roadway curves at that time of day would be wise.”

The burros travel in packs which Taylor said varies in size by the herd, some are smaller, some are larger. “You’ll catch them near Scorpion Bay Marina, and along trails such as Yavapai Point.”

“The bottom line is this is their home, and we need to respect their space. They’re cute to watch, but that’s where the interaction ends.”


Based in Scottsdale, Arizona for more than 40 years, Desert Troon Companies manages a diverse portfolio of commercial, retail and lifestyle property investments. The company’s depth and breadth of experience includes corporate build-to-suit, office, retail, hotel, master-planned community, mixed use and historic preservation projects. Notable lifestyle projects include Scorpion Bay, Torreon Golf Community, Hassayampa Golf Club and Troon/Troon North Communities in Arizona, Cimarron Hills Golf and Country Club in Texas, and Red Mountain Resort in Utah. For corporate or leasing information please call 480-563-5247 or visit 

About Scorpion Bay

Located just 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix in Peoria, Arizona on Lake Pleasant, Scorpion Bay offers convenience and world-class marina services for the entire family. With hundreds of covered and uncovered wet slips, world-class food at Scorpion Bay Grill – as well as boat rentals including pontoons, fishing boats, ski-boats, kayaks and other water toys – you’re sure to find a full day of entertainment on the water. As part of Lake Pleasant Regional Park, visitors can venture out for hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing in the area. Parking is easily accessible, and our no cost electric tram will take guests and their gear from the parking lot to the dock in minutes. Scorpion Bay is managed by Desert Troon Companies

Scorpion Bay is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering everything from daily pontoon and ski boat rentals to slips for harboring your yacht (or dinghy). Come for the fishing or come for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services await less than an hour out of Phoenix.