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Friday, September 19, 2008

JOJOBA TRAIL

JOJOBA TRAIL #511 Arrive early enough in the morning and you’ll be greeted by turkey vultures roosting on escarpments above the driftwood-littered beaches of Bartlett Lake. Years of drought have taken a toll on the lake. Low water levels have exposed colorful stratified layers of earth around the man-made reservoir. The Saturn-esque bands read like tree rings, providing a petrified snapshot of the lake’s ever-changing water levels. Jojoba Trail climbs along the same cliffs favored by the vultures for dramatic views of the lake and the surrounding arid hillsides. Framed with healthy stands of ocotillo, desert lavender and, of course, jojoba shrubs, the trail meanders above the stark canyon lake. As the route approaches the turnaround point near the marina, a promontory juts out above what used to be an inlet teeming with fish. Today, the cove is bone-dry and serves as a reminder of the fickle nature of water in the desert. LENGTH: 2.6 miles round-trip RATING: Easy ELEVATION GAIN: 60 feet GETTING THERE: From Scottsdale, go north on Pima Road to Cave Creek Road. Turn right (east) on Cave Creek Road and continue 4 miles to Bartlett Dam Road and turn right. Go 13 miles and turn left at the sign for Rattlesnake Cove Recreation Area (Forest Road 459). Follow FR-459 to Forest Road 459A, turn right and continue to the parking area. A Tonto Pass ($6 daily fee per vehicle) is required. There are restrooms and water at the trailhead.

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