Butcher Jones hike is 5.3 mile in and out trail along Saguaro Lake. This hike is rated easy with an elevation climb of 584 feet.
Directions from Fountain Hills, AZ. Take Shea Blvd east to 89A (beeline highway). Turn left and go 11 miles to the Bush highway exiting towards Lake Saguaro. In 2.3 miles take the Butcher Jones beach turn-off. Driving 4 miles you will arrive at the Butcher Jones beach parking area.
The trail start opposite of the beach area roughly 100 feet behind the sign describing the details of the trail.
Hiking an early morning in March 2018 the weather was brisk but quickly warmed up as the sun crept higher into the sky. The best time for hiking this trail is between October through April because of the limited shade areas. The start of the trail path is smoothly pack dirt with minimal rocks under a canopy of trees.
Quickly the trail leaves the shade of the trees opening up to a beautiful view of Saguaro Lake winding along the shoreline.
I soaked up the beautiful views of the lake and the reflections of the Saguaro's shimmer on the lake's surface. Early in the morning the sunlight plays among the rocks highlighting the different shades of the rocks that are hidden later in the day.
Not much water activity was happening early this morning except for the occasional fisherman hoping for a successful day's catch.
The trail winds into a small alcove of tree's providing a refuge from the sun's heat. There were signs that the wild horse that live in this area spend time here.
Going forward on the trail you ascend into a canyon crevice leading you away from the lake.
The trail winds around bringing you back to the lake's shoreline. A hawk flew by sweeping across the canyon wall.
Early morning the sunlight transforms an ordinary teddy bear cholla also known as the jumping cholla cactus into a spectacular display as the light plays among it's needles.
This cactus looks fuzzy and harmless but it's actually covered with dense, sharp, one inch spines. Don't get too close as the spines are like fish hooks and very hard to take out of your skin.
Continuing on the trail you come to a plateau providing an incredible view of the lake as it begins to wind into the canyon.
As you head towards the canyon opening there are opportunities to capture nice pictures of the saguaro cactuses with the canyon walls as back drops.
The trail continues for another half mile until you come to sign directing you left as the trail winds down into the desert.
Continuing on another half mile you head into the desert before coming to the turn around point of the trail.