Tonto National Forest

The Tonto National Forest embraces nearly 3 million acres of rugged and beautiful country, ranging from pine-forested mountains to Saguaro cactus-studded desert beneath the Mogollon Rim. The Vegetation variety and range in altitude in the Tonto National Forest provide unique recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it’s cool pine forests or lake beaches.

During winter, Arizona homes plenty of visitors flock to enjoy the Sonoran Desert environments and the multiheaded stone canyons of Tonto’s lower elevations. And during summer, visitors seek refuge from the heat at the Verde and Salt rivers and their chain of six artificial lakes. Tonto’s visitors also head to the high country to fish the trout streams under the Mogollon Rim and camp amidst the cool shade of the big pines.

Eight wilderness areas are managed inside the forest to protect the land’s unique natural beauty and character. Congress has designated portions of the Verde River as Arizona’s first and only wild-scenic River Area. Wildlife and fish are abundant in the forest; over 400 vertebrate species are represented, including over 20 listed among federal and state threatened and endangered species.

The six artificial reservoirs on Tonto provide abundant water-related recreation such as sailing, water skiing, power boating, rafting, swimming, and tubing, amongst others. The Tonto National Forest has a lot to offer for boating enthusiasts. Some visitors choose the more extensive lakes for power boating and water skiing, while clothes opt for the quiet seclusion of a lake arm that extends between two near-vertical canyon walls. This National Forest is also home to nearly 900 miles of trails, with the primary purpose of providing a wide variety of opportunities for equestrians, hikers, and bikers to enjoy the beauty of nature.