Yellow Cliffs Campground

Yellow Cliffs Campground Bartlett Lake – Tonto National Forest

Yellow Cliffs Campground Review Summary

Campground Amenities
Campground Cleanliness
Campsite Privacy
Campground Scenery
Family Friendliness


Yellow Cliffs Campground Bartlett Lake – Tonto National Forest Review by on . Yellow Cliffs Recreation Area is a dispersed campground at Bartlett Lake in Tonto National Forest offering lakeside camping. Rating: 3

Yellow Cliffs Campground, a dispersed campground at Bartlett Lake in Tonto National Forest with lakeside camping and access to boating and other activities. Located 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.

Yellow Cliffs Campground does not offer much in the way of amenities, but it does have a great view and direct lake access including a nearby boat ramp. Yellow Cliffs 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.

Yellow Cliffs Campground Bottom Line

Bartlett Lake is an oasis in the desert that can easily be accessed via 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 Yellow Cliffs Campground, can get littered with trash and debris, despite the Forest Service’s best efforts to keep it clean. So if you go to Yellow Cliffs Campground, do your part and keep it clean, in fact you should leave it cleaner than when you got there.

While the nearby boat ramp at Yellow Cliffs Campground is great for launching your boat, it can be unusable during droughts due to the low water level in the lake, requiring you to launch boats from shore. At the same time the lower lake levels provide a larger area for campsites, and more space between you and other campers. The best campsites at Yellow Cliffs 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.

Yellow Cliffs Campground Features

Campground Type: Dispersed, Primative
Number of Campsites: Not Specified
Cost: $6/day via Required Tonto Pass
Use Level: High
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: No
Drinking Water: No
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets and Port-a-potties
Showers: No
Trash/Dumpsters: Yes
Hiking Access: No
Beach/Lake Access: Yes
RV/Trailer Length: Not Specified
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: Limited on all carriers
Wifi: None
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.

Getting There

Geo Coordinates: 33.873787, –111.615729
Nearest City: Cave Creek, Arizona
Elevation: 1780’
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 turn right on Bartlett Dam Road and turn left on FR 459. Continue on FR 459 for 3 miles then turn right to Yellow Cliffs Campground.

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 Yellow Cliffs Campground are Bartlett Lake Marina or the Cave Creek Ranger District office.


Phone: (480) 595-3300 – Cave Creek Ranger District Facebook: Bartlett Lake Facebook Page
Web: Tonto National Forest Twitter:
Reservations: Not Accepted

When To Go

Spring, Early Summer, Fall – Summer temperatures at Yellow Cliffs Campground will exceed 100 degrees daily

Mostly Cloudy
Saturday 02/25 0%
High 61° / Low 44°
Mostly Cloudy
Considerable cloudiness. Lows overnight in the mid 40s.
Partly Cloudy
Sunday 02/26 10%
High 57° / Low 43°
Partly Cloudy
Cloudy early with partial sunshine expected late. High 57F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Monday 02/27 90%
High 59° / Low 48°
Rain developing later in the day. High 59F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Chance of Rain
Tuesday 02/28 80%
High 55° / Low 41°
Chance of Rain
Overcast with rain showers at times. High near 55F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Wednesday 03/01 0%
High 64° / Low 43°
Sunny. High 64F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.
Thursday 03/02 0%
High 72° / Low 49°
Sunny skies. High 72F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.

Yellow Cliffs Campground Pictures

Image Credits: Justin Wilson

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