The Tonto Basin Ranger District is located northwest of Globe and south of Payson. The district consists of approximately 530,000 acres (approximately 210,000 hectares) of Desert, Semi-Desert Grassland, Chaparral types of vegetation, as well as a few scattered areas of Ponderosa Pine. Roosevelt Lake (the largest lake totally within Arizona) and Apache Lake are within this district.

Watershed is one of the most important reasons that the Tonto National Forest was established. Since then, the Salt and Verde rivers have had six dams constructed.  While the dammed water is of great value for irrigating fields and for domestic use, it is also very popular with thousands of people who recreate in its waters every year.

Water recreation ranges from the simple to the sophisticated.  Some activities require highly mechanized equipment, while other popular activities only require a swimming suit. Whatever your preferences, the Tonto National Forest has plenty to offer when it comes to water recreation.

There are also commercial partners who provide a variety of water-based recreation opportunities.

 

Contact Information:

Address: 28079 N. Az Highway 188, Roosevelt, Arizona 85545
Phone: (602) 225-5395
Fax: (928) 467-3239

 

TONTO BASIN RANGER DISTRICT - HIKING TRAILS

Click An Underlined Letter For Listing In Alphabetical Order

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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Cemetery Trail 255

Roosevelt Cemetery is the final resting place of some of the local settlers and also workers who built Theodore Roosevelt Dam. A self-guided walk is available. Visitors may pick up brochures at the Tonto Basin Visitor Center located directly across Highway 188. The trail up to the cemetery has a hardened surface and the cemetery interior trails are made of natural material.

Difficulty Level: Easy

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Chillicut Trail 132

The northern two miles is an old jeep road. The Lone Fire has heavily damaged the trail.  The Chillicut Trail follows the road for about 30 minutes, and it’s all uphill. Where the jeep road ends, the trail veers left and cuts across one of the many small canyons you’ll encounter before reaching Baldy Canyon, the main gorge on this trail. Although strenuous hikes require a certain determination and a plodding-on mentality, do yourself a favor and turn around from time to time. When you do, you’ll get some great views of the Mogollon Rim to the north and Roosevelt Lake to the east.  Courtesy Arizona Highways

Difficulty Level: Difficult

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Cottonwood Trail 120

From the Frazier Trailhead, the trail meanders over low ridges and through drainages until it drops into Cottonwood Canyon. Then it goes up the canyon and junctions with FR 341 that serves as the trail. Turn left onto FR 341 and travel south for approximately 1.5 miles. The trail takes off from the road to the south and continues to follow Cottonwood Canyon. After approximately 3 miles, the trail reaches the southern terminus at FR 83.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

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Davey Gowan Trail 48

There is a small pull-off on FR 201 about 1.5 miles before Peeley Trailhead. This is the trailhead, even if there is no sign or marking for the start. A small footpath heads east from the pull-off and weaves around various bushes, slowly dropping down the top of a ridgeline. There is  plenty of deadfall and overgrowth in this section, so just try to avoid dropping too far in either direction. Near 0.4 miles the tread twists left off the ridge and enters a  nice stand of pines with well-defined tread.  Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Deer Creek Trail 45

Deer Creek (DC) starts similarly to the Barnhardt Trail but has a much more modest elevation gain (at least for the first 4 miles or so). DC does have, however, high desert, nice sections of riparian growth (cottonwood and sycamore trees, river grasses, ivy), a gurgling creek, grave site (!), and working windmill powered water pump. A lot to take in and worth the effort.  Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Denton Trail 69

From FR 421, the trail climbs steadily up the east face of the mountain. Some sections are quite steep. The trail eventually tops out at 5,760 feet elevation and then descends to Big Pine Flat for the last ¼ mile.  The Denton Trail serves as an excellent example of a transition trail going from the saguaro-studded lower elevations to a mature, lush ponderosa pine forestin the upper elevations - all in about 5 miles. That being said, I would say this trail is more of a destination hike than a scenic-along-the-way hike (the destination being an area called "Big Pine Flat".​  Courtesy Hikearizona.com
 

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Gold Ridge Trail 47

Of the three trails that start from Deer Creek Trailhead, Gold Ridge Trail is the only one that stays out of a heavily vegetated (and often difficult to follow) creek and does not cross into the Mazatzal Wilderness. This trail is mostly on an exposed ridge, follows an old road for part of the way, and isn't technically closed to wheeled / motorized traffic, making it one of the more passable routes in the area. It can be combined with South Fork Trail for a  solid loop or Deer Creek Trail for longer adventures.

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Oak Flat Trail 123

A quick hike from the Oak Flat Trailhead (3650 ft) to the northern section of the Four Peaks Trail #130 (5400 ft).

Hike: This hike takes off from the Oak Flat Trailhead in typical mid-zone vegetation. Distant views of the Four Peaks lure you in. Cairns help direct you across a ravine and onto the show. Enjoy the first short level section as once you start ascending it's game on.  

Courtesy Hikearizona.com


Difficulty:  Most Difficult

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Park Trail 66

From the Park Creek Trailhead, the trail crosses Park Creek and climbs gradually through lower Sonoran Desert and riparian vegetation for ½ mile. The trail then ascends steeply towards the crest of the divide, passing through chaparral, semi-desert grassland and juniper woodland. The final 1¼ mile follows fairly even contours until meeting the headwaters of Park Creek. It terminates at Edwards Park in a stand of large ponderosa pines.

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Pigeon Trail 134

Pigeon Trail #134 is a 1.8 mile one way hike with 382 feet accumulated elevation gain. A high clearance vehicle is recommended to access the trailhead. October and May are the best months to enjoy this hike.

Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  Easy

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South Fork Trail 46

This hike starts at the Deer creek trail head, you actually start out on the Deer creek trail but within the first quarter mile you run into first the Gold ridge trail #47 and very shortly after that you come to the South Fork Trail #46 intersection, The trail is nice for the first few miles until it turns south and starts heading up the south fork of Deer Creek, where it's rock hopping for the next few miles, 3 1/4 miles you come into the Mazatzal wilderness for about a mile and a half then back out,about 1/2 mile from the wilderness boundary you come to the  Gowan propertyCourtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Sycamore Trail 68

From FR 421, the trail climbs steadily through lower Sonoran Desert and riparian vegetation up the arroyo formed by Sycamore Creek. It turns northward and continues to climb along a tributary, passing through chaparral, semi-desert grassland and juniper woodland. The trail tops out on the El Oso Divide and then descends to its end at Edwards Park in a stand of large Ponderosa Pines.

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Thompson Trail 121

The Thompson Trail #121, which is a part of the Arizona Trail, is a short connector route that travels up and over Sonoran desert hillsides between the Roosevelt Dam area and forest road #341. Highlights of the Thompson Trail are the continuous views of Roosevelt Lake and the Sierra Ancha and Mazatzal ranges. Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  Easy

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Three Bar Route

The Three Bar Wildlife Enclosure is a fenced wildlife study area operated by Arizona Game and Fish. The proximity of two recreation sites provides ample parking should you want to cool off in Roosevelt Lake after your ride. Scenery includes the riparian habitat associated with Roosevelt Lake and watershed as well as chaparral vegetation. Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  Moderate

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Tule Canyon Trail 122

The hike starts off from the trailhead and meanders south through a field of cholla cactus very similar to what one finds on Black Top Mesa near the First Water Trailhead. There are a couple of small washes to cross, but the trail is well cairned. The Globe Ranger station believes in making very large cairns so you shouldn't have any trouble finding your way.  Courtesy Hikearizona.com

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Vineyard Trail 131

Trail passes through a variety of Lower Sonoran Desert vegetation plant communities. Spectacular views of Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, Roosevelt Dam and Four Peaks. Historic Camp O’Rourke located near the east terminus. Signs of long abandoned tent sites and building foundations are visible from the trail. As part of the Arizona Trail, the route continues west on the Four Peaks Trail 130 or southwest across Roosevelt Bridge to the Thompson Trail 121.

Difficulty:  More Difficult

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Y Bar Trail 44

The hike goes from Barnhardt Trailhead and proceeds mostly uphill for 5.5mi through Y Bar Basin and on up to the intersection with the Mazatzal Divide Trail at Windsor Spring.

The trail is well worn and quite easy to follow. It doesn't waste any time with a warm up. You start with a gradual to moderate climb through desert scrub and then begin a turn to the south continuing to climb along the contours of Suicide Ridge. The trail tends to be very rocky so pay close attention to your footing.

Difficulty:  More Difficult