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Fall Weather Camping Opportunities on the Tonto National Forest

Fee machines have been installed and are available to pay fees for overnight camping on the Mesa, Cave Creek, Globe and Tonto Basin ranger districts.  Timber Camp Campground, on the Globe Ranger District, and Burnt Corral, Cholla, Frazier Horse, Schoolhouse and Windy Hill campgrounds are currently open on the Tonto Basin Ranger District. 

The Tortilla Campground on the Mesa Ranger District opened for the winter on Sunday, Oct.1.  Fee machines are available at the Tortilla, Burnt Corral, Cholla, Schoolhouse and Windy Hill campgrounds to pay for overnight camping.  The fee machine for Frazier Horse Camp is located just down the road at the Windy Hill Campground.  The Mesquite, Horseshoe, Riverside and CCC campgrounds on the Cave Creek Ranger District are also open, however fee machines are located at the entrance to the Ranger District Office and at the Bartlett Lake overlook.  Make sure to pay for your camping site before you drive all the way out to the campgrounds.

The following information may be helpful for planning winter activities on the Mesa Ranger District:

  • Overnight use is allowed at Coons Bluff on Friday and Saturday nights Oct. 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. Overnight use will also be allowed on the Sunday night before the following holidays:  Columbus Day (Oct 9), Christmas Day (Dec. 25), New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday observed (Jan. 15), and Presidents Day observed (Feb. 19).  Overnight use will also be allowed at Coons Bluff on Thanksgiving Day throughSaturday night, November 25.
  • Non-forest camping areas include:  Canyon Lake Marina and Campground, Lost Dutchman State Park, McDowell Mountain and Usery Mountain Regional Parks.
  • Fishing locations on the Lower Salt River include Water Users, Blue Point, Pebble Beach, Goldfield, Coons Bluff, Phon D. Sutton, and Granite Reef.
  • Kayaking opportunities on the Lower Salt River include:  Water Users, Blue Point, Pebble Beach, Goldfield, and Coons Bluff (water levels permitting); and Phon D Sutton and Granite Reef (year-round).
  • Equestrian Access on the Lower Salt include the Bulldog entrance on Bush Highway, Bulldog entrance on Usery Pass Road, Water Users, Coons Bluff, and Phon D. Sutton.

For further information and alternative recreation sites, please visit the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/tonto, or contact the Cave Creek Ranger District at 480-595-3300, the Mesa Ranger District at 480-610-3300, the Globe Ranger District at 928-402-6292, or the Tonto Basin Ranger District at 
602-225-5395.

About Aimee Staten

Aimee Staten
Aimee Staten has worn several hats over the last few years, but she recently put on one of her more familiar caps after four years of working in nonprofits: That of a journalist. She has 14 years of experience in the news business as a reporter with eight of those years as the managing editor of the Eastern Arizona Courier.

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