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Roosevelt Lake in Payson, Arizona

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.


Before You Explore, Be Prepared!

Star Valley, Payson


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.

Wildlife in Payson, Arizona
Salt River Canyon


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.



Due to the area's WILD topography, over thousands of years, small channels and canyons have been carved out by the many streams and rivers that flow year-round.



Gila County is located on the northeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert, which covers desert, high desert plains, chaparral, pinon-juniper, and pine forest.


Fall Color

Arizona’s mild climate and almost-guaranteed sunny days make viewing fall foliage ideal. Grab a jacket and see the colors!



In Gila County, many of the gems and minerals in the area are quite literally brought to the surface by copper mining.



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.


Mountain Ranges

Adventure seekers will love the WILD remote feeling of these wide open spaces.  Dotted with trails, each wilderness is unique and is ready to be explored. 


Starry Skies

So come for the adventure during the day and others stay for the "WOW" at night!  Whatever you choose, Gila County will not disappoint you if you are a star lover!



The Weather in Gila County is about as diverse as everything else.  The elevation rises from 2,000 feet to over 8,000 feet above sea level providing varying levels of weather.


Wide Open Spaces

A visit to Gila County's wide open spaces will leave you awestruck and looking forward to your next adventure.


Wild Flowers

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.

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