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Arizona - Tonto National Forest

Fall Weather Brings Changes To Recreation Sites Near Phoenix

Popular recreation sites on the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix are either opening for the season, or closing for the season, depending on the location.  The Mesquite and Horseshoe campgrounds and Fisherman's Point (also known as Catfish Point) re-opened for the winter on Oct.1.

These three areas are on the Cave Creek Ranger District near Horseshoe Lake.  They are popular camping spots for fisherman.

On the Mesa Ranger District, seasonal reductions in services at some developed recreation sites went into effect on Oct.1 and will last through March 31, 2017. 

The reduction in services means there will not be any trash pick-up, drinking water, restrooms or vehicle access into these sites:

Lower Salt River Recreation Area

• Goldfield

• Pebble Beach

• Sheeps Crossing

Canyon Lake Recreation Area

• Tortilla Campground

• Laguna

• Boulder keyhole

• Acacia Keyhole (back area)

There are plenty of developed recreation sites on the Mesa Ranger District that will remain open.  These sites remain open and require the Tonto Daily Pass or annual Tonto Discovery Pass per vehicle:

Lower Salt River Recreation Area

• Water Users

• Blue Point

• Coon Bluff

• Phon D Sutton

• Granite Reef

Canyon Lake Recreation Area

• Palo Verde

• Acacia (front/main area)

Saguaro Lake Recreation Area

• Saguaro Del Norte

• Butcher Jones

Camping sites on both the Mesa and Cave Creek ranger districts currently require a Tonto Daily Pass, or annual Tonto Discovery Pass per vehicle.  Fee machines will be installed in the near future.  Once the fee machines are operational, each campsite will charge a camping fee per night, per site.

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, and Sunday nights before the following holidays: Christmas Day observed (Dec 26), New Year's Day observed (Jan 2), Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday observed (Jan 16), and Presidents Day observed (Feb 20).  Overnight use will also be allowed at Coons Bluff on Thanksgiving Day through Saturday night, November 26.

Non-forest camping areas include  Canyon Lake Marina and Campground, Lost Dutchman State Park, and Usery Mountain Regional Park.

Fishing locations on the Lower Salt River include Water Users, Blue Point, Coons Bluff, Phon D. Sutton, and Granite Reef.

Kayaking opportunities on the Lower Salt River include Water Users, Blue Point, 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 Web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto, or contact either the Cave Creek Ranger District at 480-595-3300 or the Mesa Ranger District at 480-610-3300.


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