Yellow Cliffs Campground Review Summary
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|
|Toilets:||Yes – Vault Toilets and Port-a-potties|
|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.
|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 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:|
Maps & Brochures
When To Go
Spring, Early Summer, Fall – Summer temperatures at Yellow Cliffs Campground will exceed 100 degrees daily
Sunday 01/22 50%
High 57° / Low 47°
Chance of Rain
A few showers developing late. Lows overnight in the upper 40s.
Monday 01/23 70%
High 51° / Low 38°
A steady rain in the morning. Showers continuing in the afternoon. High 51F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
Tuesday 01/24 10%
High 48° / Low 34°
Partly cloudy. High 48F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wednesday 01/25 0%
High 53° / Low 34°
A mainly sunny sky. High 53F. Winds light and variable.
Thursday 01/26 0%
High 55° / Low 37°
Mainly sunny. High around 55F. Winds light and variable.
Friday 01/27 0%
High 56° / Low 37°
Mainly sunny. High 56F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.
Yellow Cliffs Campground Pictures
Image Credits: Justin Wilson