SB Cove Campground is located at Bartlett Lake in Tonto National Forest and is a dispersed campground offering camping and on the shores of the lake. Situated on the Verde River, Bartlett Lake, like most lakes in Arizona is a man-made reservoir. While the reservoir stores water for the Greater Phoenix area it also provides some great camping and recreation opportunities. SB Cove Campground does not offer many amenities, but it does have a great view and direct lake access including a nearby boat ramp. SB Cove Campground does not have a designated number of campsites and the amount of space available for camping will vary with the level of the lake.
SB Cove Campground Bottom Line
Bartlett Lake is an oasis in the desert that can easily be accessed via a short drive from the Phoenix area. However, this easy access leads to heavy use during the early summer and fall and as such the campgrounds, including SB Cove Campground, can get littered with trash despite the Forest Service’s best efforts to keep it clean.
When the lake level is lower a larger area for campsites is available providing more space between you and other campers. The best campsites at SB Cove Campground tend to be right against the lake shore, but they can be hard to get unless you arrive early on peak weekends to claim your campsite.
While ground fires are allowed, you must use a fire ring made of stone or metal.
SB Cove Campground Features
|Campground Type:||Dispersed, Primitive|
|Number of Campsites:||Not Specified|
|Cost:||$6/day via Required Tonto Pass|
|Fire Rings:||None – Ground fires are allowed with a rock or metal fire ring.|
|Toilets:||Yes – Vault Toilets|
|RV/Trailer Length:||Not Specified|
|Cell Phone Service:||Limited on all carriers|
|Operating Season:||Open All Year|
No services. PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT. Glass containers prohibited. Bury human waste 6-8 inches and at least 200 feet away from camp, trails, water sources, and dry drainages.
Camping Supply List
|Geo Coordinates:||33.873787, –111.615729|
|Nearest City:||Cave Creek, Arizona|
|Location:||Phoenix Area – Maricopa County, Arizona|
|Paved Road Access:||Partial – Recreation Area roads unpaved|
|Proximity to Stores:||Approximately 4 miles at Bartlett Marina|
|Directions:||This site is 24 miles east of Carefree. Take Cave Creek Road 7 miles to the junction with Forest Road (FR) 205. Turn right and travel 6 miles to the junction of FR 205 and FR 19. At this junction take FR 19 for 7 miles to FR 459 and turn left. Continue on FR 459 for 3 miles to the site.|
Maps & Brochures
Tonto Passes are required for each vehicle and watercraft. Passes can be purchased in advance online or at retail outlets. The closest retail outlets to SB Cove Campground are Bartlett Lake Marina or the Cave Creek Ranger District office.
Camping Supply List
|Phone:||(480) 595-3300 – Cave Creek Ranger District||Facebook:||Bartlett Lake Facebook Page|
|Web:||Tonto National Forest||Twitter:|
When To Go
Spring, Early Summer, Fall – Summer temperatures at SB Cove Campground will exceed 100 degrees daily
Tuesday 10/16 40%
High 63° / Low 52°
Chance of Rain
Showers early, then cloudy in the afternoon. High 63F. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Wednesday 10/17 0%
High 72° / Low 54°
Sunny. High 72F. Winds E at 15 to 25 mph.
Thursday 10/18 0%
High 75° / Low 56°
Sunny. High around 75F. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph.
Friday 10/19 0%
High 80° / Low 60°
Mainly sunny. High around 80F. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday 10/20 0%
High 81° / Low 62°
Sunny. High 81F. Winds E at 10 to 20 mph.
Sunday 10/21 50%
High 78° / Low 60°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Scattered thunderstorms in the morning. Partly cloudy skies late. High 78F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
SB Cove Pictures
Image Credits: Justin Wilson