|As the fifth largest forest in the United States, the Tonto National Forest occupies nearly three million acres of land and is one of the most-visited forests in the U.S. Its boundaries are Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east.Hikers, all-terrain cyclists, and horseback riders have nearly 900 miles of trails to explore within the Tonto National Forest. Power-boating, sailing, water-skiing, swimming, rafting, and tubing are some of the more popular recreational activities on the Forest's lakes and waterways, while world-class white water can be experienced on the upper stretches of the Salt River.The Tonto National Forest has outstanding recreational opportunities all year long. Its scenic landscapes range from cactus-studded desert to pine forested mountains. The varied levels of elevation (from 1,300 ft. to nearly 8,000) offer equally varied temperatures and landscapes, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forest.Water Activities: The larger lakes in the Tonto National Forest are available for water-skiing and power boating. There is also quiet seclusion in a narrow lake arm extending between canyon walls. The Tonto National Forest has much to offer for boating enthusiasts. Enjoy your boating experience - but play it safe. Boating in the Tonto National Forest is possible during all four seasons during good weather.Fishing: Opportunities abound to fish in the Tonto National Forest. Trout, both stocked and stream-spawned, inhabit many of the streams just below the Mogollon Rim. The lakes, reservoirs, and lower-elevation rivers are home to a variety of warm-water sport fish. Several of Arizona's fishing records have been achieved in Tonto National Forest waters. Of those waters, Roosevelt Lake has few rivals in producing trophy fish.Camping: A broad range of opportunities are available to overnight campers. Many Tonto National Forest areas are open for those who do not require any amenities or services. You may even boat-camp at a remote spot on the shore of one of the reservoirs located on the Tonto. Several developed campgrounds are located at higher elevations and are open in the warmer months of the year.Hiking and Trailriding: Tonto National Forest has a collection of nearly 900 miles of National Forest System Trails. Their primary purpose is to provide a variety of opportunities for hikers, bikers and equestrians to enjoy the beauty and challenge of nature.The trail conditions within the Tonto National Forest range from good to very poor; most are not suitable for motor vehicles of any type. A trailing experience can include anything from the fulfilling opposition of steep grades and heavy brush, to the exciting discovery of spectacular scenic views and memorable and peaceful seclusion from the pressures and congestion of society.Exploring a trail in the Tonto National Forest can be both relaxing and exhilarating, and sometimes even dangerous. With summer temperatures averaging in the mid 90s throughout most of the Tonto National Forest, no trail adventures should be made without the appropriate precautionary measures. Make sure that you have an adequate supply of drinking water, as well as a general idea of the time needed to complete the trip. It's also a good idea to take someone with you. You can run into trouble on any adventure, and sometimes the best defense is a partner or group. Remember to be safe when trailing, and avoid unnecessary danger in all forms.Scenic Drives: There are many points of interest and various places to sightsee in the Tonto National Forest. Among the most noted are the Scenic Byways on State Route 88, and State Route 288, as well as the Roosevelt Lake Wildlife Viewing Area.SCENIC BYWAYS: Designation as a Scenic Byway allows forest managers to direct the public's attention to the importance and value of good scenery for its own sake.The nation-wide Forest Service's Scenic Byways Program is a means of emphasizing the importance of the visual resources, which sometimes takes a "backseat" in the everyday management of National Forests. It also helps to develop partnerships with agencies responsible for road maintenance, and with local communities to emphasize the importance of natural beauty, and improve existing recreation opportunities, provide new interpretive facilities.Wilderness Areas: For those who want to get away from the rigors of modern society, the Tonto National Forest offers eight Wilderness Areas totaling over 590,000 acres. They are managed to insure public enjoyment while protecting the unique natural character of these special places.Motorized equipment and mechanized transport are prohibited within any Wilderness Area located in the Tonto National Forest. There are no developed facilities, and horses and hiking are the primary means of transportation in these Congressionally-mandated wilderness areas.In addition, portions of the Verde River have been designated by Congress as Arizona's first and only Wild River Area, and only Scenic River Area.Activities such as prospecting and treasure troving in the Tonto National Forest are limited. For more information, contact the Tonto National Forest offices.Rivers within the Tonto National Forest include the Salt and Verde Rivers. Lakes include Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon and Saguaro. Reservoirs include Bartlett and Horseshoe and there are alluring trout streams and over 900 miles of trails. There are also 8 wilderness areas within the Tonto National Forest including Four Peaks, Hells Gate, Mazatzal, Salome, Salt River Canyon, Sierra Ancha, Superstition, Verde Scenic River and Wild River Area.|
|Facilities: The Tonto National Forest provides 59 campgrounds, 26 picnic sites, 18 boating sites, 10 fishing sites, 3 organization camps, 8 commercial public service sites (e.g. resorts, marinas), and 6 interpretive sites (including the Roosevelt Lake Visitors Center.)|
Best Time To Visit: Tonto National Forest is open year-round with a variety of winter sports available in the winter. A word of caution: because of the dramatic differences in elevation across the Forest, there are chances for sudden storms and changes in weather.
Fees: Recreation permits are required to utilize the Tribal lands and waters of those portions of the Salt River Canyon which are within the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Various use fees apply within the Tonto National Forest. Contact the Forest Office for specific information or visit the specific attractions located within the Tonto National Forest.
Accessibility: Tonto National Forest has a number of wheelchair accessible sites, including campgrounds, fishing docks, trails, overlooks, boating stations and restrooms. Contact a Forest Service office for an updated listing of these sites.
Rules: Travel off all National Forest System Roads is prohibited. Campgrounds and other recreation sites are maintained for passenger vehicles and are off limits to ATV's, etc. Pets are welcome in campgrounds, but must be kept on a leash. Please check each attraction for more specific rules.
Directions: The boundaries of the Tonto National Forest are Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east. The western boarder is the Agua Fria National Monument.GPS Coordinates are to the Tonto National Forest Supervisor's Office in Phoenix, AZ.
Map: Click here for a map to Tonto National Forest
Reservations: Reservations are not need or required to access the Tonto National Forest. Some campgrounds accept reservations. All developed campgrounds have units that are available on a "first-come, first-serve" basis, while some have units that are reservable.
|Tonto National Forest|
|2324 E. McDowell|
|Phoenix, Arizona 85006|
|General: (602) 225-5200|
|Fax: (602) 225-5295|
|TTY: (602) 225-5395|