Tonto National Forest

Quick Facts

Tonto National Forest


(602) 225-5200

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Tonto National Forest, Arizona, embraces almost 3 million acres of rugged and spectacularly beautiful country, ranging from Saguaro cactus-studded desert to pine-forested mountains beneath the Mogollon Rim. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude (from 1,300 to 7,900 feet) offers outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forest.

As the fifth largest forest in the United States , the Tonto National Forest is one of the most-visited "urban" forests in the U.S. (approximately 5.8 million visitors annually). 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.

In the winter, national and international visitors flock to Arizona to share the multi-hued stone canyons and Sonoran Desert environments of the Tonto's lower elevations with Arizona residents. In the summer, visitors seek refuge from the heat at the Salt and Verde rivers and their chain of six man-made lakes. Visitors also head to the high country to camp amidst the cool shade of tall pines and fish the meandering trout streams under the Mogollon Rim.

One of the primary purposes for establishing the Tonto National Forest in 1905 was to protect its watersheds around reservoirs. The forest produces an average of 350,000 acre-feet of water each year. Six major reservoirs on the forest have the combined capacity to store more than 2 million acre-feet of water. Management efforts are directed at protecting both water quality and watershed and riparian area conditions.

Eight Wilderness Areas, encompassing more than 589,300 acres, are managed to protect the unique natural character of the land and to assure the public recreation areas where one is only a visitor. In addition, portions of the Verde River have been designated by Congress as Arizona's first and only Wild and Scenic River Area.

Map of Tonto Nat'l Forest

Latitude, Longitude: 33.820230, -111.478272



  • Boating

    Contact Park for further information.

  • Bicycling

    There is an extensive system of trails in some parts of the forest, however most of them are steep and/or rocky and can be unsuitable to even expert bikers.

    Mountain biking and road cycling available.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Scenic driving permitted.

  • Camping

    Cabin Rentals, Campground camping, RV camping available.

  • Fishing

    Estuary Fishing, Ice Fishing, Lake and Pond Fishing, River and Stream Fishing, Salt Water Fishing available.

  • Hiking

    Backpacking and day hiking available.

  • Historic Sites

    Scenic driving.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is available.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is regulated by the state of Arizona and allowed on the Tonto National Forest during open seasons with applicable permits. Contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department for more information on open dates and regulations.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Tonto NF has both the Bulldog Canyon OHV Area and the Rolls OHV Area. These areas have open OHV areas as well as roads/trails.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas available.

  • Water Sports

    Boating (Motorized/Non-Motorized), Scuba Diving, Surfing, Swimming, Tubing, Waterskiing, Windsurfing



From Phoenix, State highway 87 north bisects the heart of the forest.


Closest airport is Phoenix, AZ.

Phone Numbers


(602) 225-5200