Mesquite Campground is a dispersed campground on the Verde River below Horseshoe Dam and Lake in Tonto National Forest. Fishing, boating, and rafting are the biggest attractions to Mesquite Campground. The campground provides an easy accessible boat and raft put in site on the Verde River. Scenic mountain and desert views surround Mesquite Campground. The campsites at Mesquite Campground are partially shaded by the mesquite trees that grow along the Verde River.

Mesquite Campground was listed as a developed, non-primitive campground with 12 designated campsites up until 12 designated campsites. Today it is officially a dispersed campground, allowing you to camp wherever you can find a spot to pitch your tent. However, some of the 12 campsites still offer picnic tables and fire rings. Vault Toilets are the only other facilities you will find at Mesquite Campground. The Marina at Bartlett Lake offers the closest camping supplies. Dispersed camping space varies with the water level of the Verde River. Access to the campground is via a rough dirt road.

Mesquite Campground may be closed and inaccessible due to flooding when large amounts of water are released from Horseshoe Dam.

Mesquite Campground Features

Campground Type: Dispersed, Semi-Primitive
Number of Campsites: Not Specified
Cost: $9/day via Required Tonto Pass
Use Level: Low
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: None
Drinking Water: None
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets
Showers: None
Trash/Dumpsters: None – Pack it out
Hiking Access: Yes – Limited designated trails
Beach/Lake Access: Yes – Riverside Beach
RV/Trailer Length: Not Specified
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: None
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Campground Open Year-round

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: 33.964210, -111.716072
Nearest City: Carefree, Arizona
Elevation: 1960 Feet
Location: Phoenix Area – Maricopa County, Arizona
Paved Road Access: None
Proximity to Stores: 18 miles at Bartlett Lake Marina
Directions: From Carefree, head east for 5 miles on Cave Creek Road. Turn right on to Bartlett Dam Road (FR 205). Drive for 6 miles and turn left on to Horseshoe Dam Road (Also FR 205).  Drive on the unpaved road for 9 miles to Mesquite 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 Mesquite Campground are Bartlett Lake Marina or the Cave Creek Ranger District office.

Pack List


Phone: (480) 595-3300 – Cave Creek Ranger District
Web: Tonto National Forest
Reservations: Not Accepted – First come / First Served

Be Sure to Bring

When To Go

Spring, Early Summer, Fall – Summer temperatures at Mesquite Campground will exceed 100 degrees daily.

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog, and the mobile device-focused blog


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