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Winter Hiking Tips around Scorpion Bay

Lake Pleasant is one of the most-loved treasures of the Phoenix area, and winter is the perfect time to switch your flip-slops out for hiking shoes. Although many know about the water fun at Scorpion Bay, the surrounding terrain of this beautiful lake is waiting to be explored and winter is the perfect time to try these hikes below. They range in difficulty providing different options for every skill level of hiker. Afterwards end your hike with a delicious entrée or drinks at Scorpion Bay Grill.

If you are new to hiking and venturing out for the first time, experts and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department offer the following tips:

  1. Plan ahead and check the weather. Even though Arizona winter weather typically only ranges from mild to brisk, Mother Nature is unpredictable and can turn a nice hike into a soggy, cold mess if you don’t know what she’s got up her sleeve.
  2. Carry plenty of water for your entire hike. Remember water for your dog.
    1. When your water is half gone, turn around and return to the trailhead.
  3. Bring the essentials including a map, compass, salty snack, hat, bandana, simple first-aid kit, sunscreen and sunglasses, and something to signal with if you get lost.
  4. Stay on designated trails.
  5. Tell someone where you are hiking and when you expect to return.
  6. Carry a fully charged cellphone.
  7. Never hike alone.
  8. Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking.
  9. Use maps, know where you are going and what kind of terrain you are hiking on.

The following four hikes offer great options near Scorpion Bay in Lake Pleasant:

Roadrunner Trail

Popular with both kids and adults alike, the Roadrunner Trail is well marked and features numerous side trails down to the water. With constant views of the lake and even some impressive Hohokam Indian ruins to explore, this hike is sure to attract trekkers one and all.

Length: 1.6 miles
Level: Easy
Access: Hiking, trail running, walking
Pets: Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on leashes
Cost: $6 admission fee to municipal park
Directions: The Roadrunner Trail is a short seven-minute (3.6 miles) drive from Scorpion Bay. From Scorpion Bay head northwest on Peninsula Boulevard toward Castle Creek Drive. Turn left on to North Park Road. Follow North Park Road for 1.3 miles then turn left onto South Park Road. Take a left on Waterline Way and there is a parking lot on the right. The trail can be accessed from Southeast corner of the parking lot.

Wild Burro Trail

For a moderately challenging outing, hikers can try the Wild Burro Trail, which is just a short jaunt from Scorpion Bay. If hikers play their cards right they may even catch a glimpse of some genuine burros whose ancestors arrived from North Africa in the 1600s to haul items for Jesuit priests. Some recommend going earlier in the morning or in the evening to experience the trail’s namesake, but keep in mind they are wild animals, so admiring them from afar is the best bet. Featuring scenic views of the lake, birds and hopefully burros, this trail has some light elevation changes with moderate traffic.

Length: 3.1 miles
Level: Moderate
Access: Birding, Hiking, walking
Pets: No pets
Cost: $6 admission fee to municipal park
Directions: The Wild Burro Trail is just a quick three-minute (1.1 mile) drive from Scorpion Bay. From Scorpion Bay, head northwest on Peninsula Boulevard toward Castle Creek Drive for .6 miles. Turn right onto North Park Road and there is a parking lot to the north and the hike starts on the south side of North Park Road.

Walkin’ Jim Trail

The true adventurer need look no further than the Walkin’ Jim Trail. The trail, named after the singer, author, and adventurer Jim Stolz, is a more advanced trail that delights more experienced hikers. This loop trail tempts the hikers’ eyes with incredible wild flowers along its challenging terrain. The gorgeous views along the way make the journey worth the effort and hikers should keep track of the trail markers that can be tricky to spot at times.

Length: 8.1 miles
Level: Hard
Access: Birding, hiking, trail running, walking
Cost: No fee–accessed outside municipal park
Pets: No pets
Directions: The Walkin’ Jim Trail is just an eight-minute (5.7 miles) drive from Scorpion Bay. From Scorpion Bay, head northwest on Peninsula Boulevard toward Castle Creek Dr. Turn left on to North Park Road for 1.3 miles, which turns into Lake Pleasant Access Road. Turn right onto North Castle Hot Springs Road for 2.3 miles. There is an unpaved parking area on the left where the hike begins and ends.

Yavapai Point Trail

Offering breathtaking views and a sure favorite for families, Yavapai Point Trail will not disappoint hikers looking for an adventure. The trail gets narrower the higher as it goes, but the remarkable views make it worth the extra effort. All kinds of desert life and amazing views of Lake Pleasant can be enjoyed along the way. Just be sure to watch out for to those Cholla cacti!

Length: 3.1 miles
Level: Moderate
Access: Kid Friendly, hiking, horseback riding, trail running, walking
Pets: Dogs on leash
Cost: $6 admission fee to municipal park
Directions: The hike is just a 12-minute (6.9 miles) drive from Scorpion Bay. From Scorpion Bay head north on Peninsula Boulevard toward Castle Creek Drive. Take a left on North Park Road, which turns into Lake Pleasant Access Road. Take a right on North Castle Hot Springs Road and continue on it for 2.3 miles. Take a right onto Castle Creek Dr. for .4 miles, then turn right onto Cottonwood Lane. There is a parking lot for Pipeline Canyon Trail. The hike begins at the Cottonwood Day Use Area with a .2-mile walk on Pipeline Canyon Trail to the Yavapai Point junction.

For more hiking tips, visit https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/lake-pleasant-regional-park/park-information/trail-ratings-etiquette/

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. https://www.scorpionbayaz.com/

Our 4 day/3 night Winter Special for Floating Cabins is available NOW for all stays between Nov 1 and Mar 1. Reserve your 1 or 2 bedroom cabin by calling the rental office at 928-501-2628. We look forward to seeing you on the water!