PC: Jim Lindstrom
Gila Country, 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.
The variety in vegetation and range in altitude (from 1,300 to 7,900 feet) on the Tonto provides outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forests.
In the winter, visitors flock to Arizona to enjoy the multi-hued stone canyons and the Sonoran Desert environments of the Tonto’s lower elevations. In the summer, visitors seek refuge from the heat at the Salt and Verde rivers and their cool lakes and streams.
TONTO NATIONAL FOREST
The Tonto National Forest, located in Gila Country, Arizona embraces almost 3 million acres of rugged and spectacularly beautiful country. Experience hiking trails, camping spots, water sports, and a variety of other outdoor recreation options.
The Tonto National Forest is a mecca for wildlife viewing. There are hundreds of different species that call this forest home. From its towering wooded pine forest and its sprawling deserts, Gila County offers many different wildlife viewing opportunities.
Eight Wilderness Areas are managed to protect the unique natural character of Gila County. At 2,969,602 acres, the Tonto Forest is by some distance the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and has the most interesting, diverse scenery.
More fishing and recreational activity take place on these lakes than in any other area of the state. They are also the closest waters to the largest population center in the state.
Every year, wildflower lovers look forward to the spring and summer blooms with great anticipation. The seasonal renewal of life offers fragile patterns of color spread over the deserts and the forests of Gila County.