Tonto National Forest
Park Overview
Snuggled along the crest of the Mogollon Rim and stretching 90 miles south, the Tonto National Forest spreads over a spectacular 2.9 million acres of pine and cactus country just northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. To the north along the Rim country, cool, pine-covered slopes and clear trout-stocked streams attract thousands from the cities when summer temperatures soar. Just over the top of the Rim wooded lakes on the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests beckon hundreds more on weekends. When sun and sizzling urban asphalt push thermometers past the 100 degree mark, only the early birds find vacant Forest Service developed campgrounds.


The Cave Creek Complex burned over 248,310 acres and is the largest fire recorded in the Sonoran Desert . Due to the fire's large size, multiple watersheds were affected by ash flows once the monsoons arrived. Tonto Forest fishery personnel Todd Willard, Bob Calamusso and Carol Engle in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted fish salvage operations at Lime Creek, Silver Creek, and Camp Creek. Salvages were conducted in order to preserve rare southwestern fishes which exhibit unique genetic variability. Endangered Gila topminnow occupied Lime Creek for over 20 years, and are one of the thirteen populations on the Tonto. Gila chub, a species that has been petitioned for listing by US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered species act, were successfully salvaged from Silver Creek. Both species are being held at the Bubbling Ponds State Fish Hatchery. Additionally, Forest Service sensitive speckled dace that inhabited Camp Creek were captured and transported to the Phoenix Zoo. This race of speckled dace found in Camp Creek, are particularly unique due to their large size as compared to other stocks on the Tonto Forest . All three species will be held in captivity until stream conditions improve. All agencies involved are commended on the proactive approach to saving unique species before they are removed by ash flows.

The 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 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 forest can be both relaxing and exhilarating, and sometimes even dangerous. With summer temperatures averaging in the mid 90s throughout most of the 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.

For more information on a particular trail contact the managing RANGER STATION.

Relief from desert heat inspires a great many people to travel to the cool waters of one of the six reservoirs on the Tonto National Forest. There is considerable variation in the scenery, size, and type of opportunities found on these reservoirs.

Some people choose the larger lakes for water-skiing and power boating. Others opt for the quiet seclusion of a narrow lake arm extending between two near-vertical canyon walls. The Tonto National Forest has much to offer for boating enthusiasts. Enjoy your boating experience--but play it safe.

Boating on the Tonto National Forest is possible during all four seasons during good weather. Related recreational opportunities available at the reservoirs include: camping, picnicking, fishing, water-play, hiking, wildlife viewing, personal watercraft use, and interpretive programs.

Caution: Lake levels vary daily and are controlled by Salt River Project (SRP). For current information, phone the SRP at (602) 236-5929. These fluctuations result in rocks and other obstacles near the water surface. Be aware that this involves a degree of risk and the boat operator assumes all such responsibilities.

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Very Good
Just OK
May 23, by LSD
Ohio Native
Cayon lake was peaceful, Beautiful views, and was less littered than many others.
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