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Tonto National Forest



Cave Creek Ranger District- This area is filled with many attractions that are worthy of a visit here. The town of Cave Creek is nearby and hosts one of the largest sundials in the world and the largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere.
Globe Ranger District- Located east of Phoenix in the desert country. This area has some of the roughest terrain around. Elevations range from 2,000 feet to 8,000 feet. Wild rivers, box canyons, and few trails mark this country.
Mesa Ranger District- Located close to the Superstition Wilderness area and having the Salt River, along with Saguaro Lake and Canyon Lake inside it's boundaries, the area makes for an easy get away for the weekend from the crowds in Phoenix.
Payson Ranger District- Payson is a pretty remote site for anything. Located at the confluence of Highways 87 and 260 the area is situated between the Hellsgate Wilderness and the Mazatal Wilderness.
Pleasant Valley Ranger District- Young is approximately 80 miles northeast of the Phoenix metro area. Recreation consists mostly of hiking and horseback riding in the many trails that surround the town in the National Forest.
Tonto Basin Ranger District- The Superstition Wilderness is a part of this rugged and beautifully scenic area. Camping wherever you can find a flat spot, hiking among the craggy towers of granite, whilst meandering along a cactus filled trail.

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General Information

Description - Tonto National Forest provides many different recreation opportunities year-round. Road conditions will vary widely and off-road vehicle restrictions are in effect; inquire locally for more information. Over 16,000 acres of lakes in the desert, including Roosevelt, Apache Canyon, and Saguaro Lakes on the Salt River (all with marinas and other facilities) , Bartlett and Horseshoe Reservoirs on the Verde River. Lower Salt River is one of the most popular in the nation for "tubing."

There are numerous recreational opportunities in the forest. Cool pine forests under the Mogollon Rim are very popular April through October. Hunting for small game, deer, bear, javelina, turkey and mountain lion.

Plus there are many miles of hiking and horseback trails. There are seven Wilderness Areas for nonmotorized use and several scenic drives for those who prefer their wilderness experience through a car window.

Tonto National Forest is the largest Forest in the State, at over 2,873, 300 acres there are many different ways to access the portion you desire.

The most popular route is to start in Phoenix and drive north on Hwy. 17 or head east on Hwy. 87. The forest intrudes into the state the way a child gouges out a finger full of icing from an unwatched cake. From the eastern central edge the forest starts as a wide swath that heads northward to the center of the state, and finally ends in the town of Flagstaff.

Attractions - Tonto National Forest provides many different recreation opportunities year-round. Road conditions will vary widely and off-road vehicle restrictions are in effect; inquire locally for more information. Over 16,000 acres of lakes in the desert, including Roosevelt, Apache Canyon, and Saguaro Lakes on the Salt River (all with marinas and other facilities) , Bartlett and Horseshoe Reservoirs on the Verde River. Lower Salt River is one of the most popular in the nation for "tubing."

Recreation - Cool pine forests under the Mogollon Rim are very popular April through October. Hunting for small game, deer, bear, javelina, turkey and mountain lion.

Plus there are many miles of hiking and horseback trails. There are seven Wilderness Areas for nonmotorized use and several scenic drives for those who prefer their wilderness experience through a car window.

Climate - Climate is everything in Arizona. With the majority of the state receiving more than it's share of sunshine each year and the majority of it striking rock, the heat can be tremendous. There are portions, even in the cities, that reach daily temperatures of 120 degrees or more. The nights in the cities decrease in temperature slowly and will get down to 90 or so in the summer.

The desert areas are much less predicative. When one thinks of Arizona, vast reaches of flat desert come to mind. This could not be farther from the truth. The majority of the state is covered with mountains and canyons, These difficult areas are prone to collecting heat during the day and releasing it quickly at night. Even near some of the larger bodies of water it gets rather cool at night in the summer.

Winters can bring the occasional snowstorm and are quite the site to view from the desert floor. Do not underestimate the severity of wintering in Arizona. The cold rains from the monsoons can chill to the bone and the ensuing night can help to produce hypothermia.

Location - The Tonto National Forest is the largest Forest in Arizona, at over 2,873, 300 acres there are many different ways to access the portion you desire.

The most popular route is to start in Phoenix and drive north on Hwy. 17 or head east on Hwy. 87. From the eastern central edge the forest starts as a wide swath that heads northward to the center of the state, and finally ends in the town of Flagstaff.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Tonto National Forest, 2324 E. McDowell Road , Phoenix, AZ, 85006, Phone: 602-225-5200, TTY: 602-225-5395

Additional Information:
Arizona High Country - The Arizona High Country includes the mountains of east-central Arizona, from Payson east to the New Mexico border. It features the White Mountains, Lyman Lake State Park, portions of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Arizona National Forests, Parks and Monuments - This section includes the National Forests, National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites in Arizona. The Grand Canyon is the best known of these areas but there are many other spectacular sites.
Phoenix Area - Known as the "Valley of the Sun," and covering over 400 square miles, the Phoenix metropolitan area lies southwest of the Mazatzal Mountains, near where the Verde and Salt Rivers meet.

Links:
Tonto National Forest - Official agency website.

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