Explore the most popular wildlife trails in Tonto National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Went 7/19/18- Left Phoenix at 6:30 am and arrived at 8:30. Perfect weather to get started! The walk down was a breeze, but we accidentally didn’t follow the fossil springs trail at the bottom (rookie mistake) so we added on an extra mile. Once we got on track we made it to the waterfall by following the sign for trails/the dam. Had the place all to ourselves! The water was cold but refreshing and crystal clear. We packed a sandwich to split, apples, and protein bars which we munched on in the 1.5 hours we stayed.
Now the hike up was no joke. Saving graces- Brought a hand towel to wipe our feet off before putting shoes back on and I soaked it in the water and it kept cold on my neck the whole walk. Found perfect walking sticks and I’m not sure I would have made it back without it to push me up. Refilled any and all water bottles in the spring.
It was 82 degrees climbing out, took us exactly two hours with stopping probably 20 times, and we went through 3 liters each of water the whole day. I’m not going to lie- definitely not for beginners, especially not in the heat! My boyfriend and I are both in decent shape and we each had our “I can’t go on” moments!

My wife and I first hiked this trail 5 years ago and go back every year. It is very pretty, quiet and a bit creepy/eerie. I am not sure how to explain the eeriness - you will just need to hike it to find out!! Short hike an easy climb.

Fun trail occasionally hard to find. Some great views of red Mountain and the salt River. There are many other trails and washes that intersect. This makes it easy to take a quick short cut back to the beginning. We cut about 2 miles off the main trail by doing this. We didn’t want to do the whole 7 miles. We did about five.

Beautiful area. There are veins of deep green rock mixed in with the granite in layers. It is a short hike but beautiful. 7/15 is the one year anniversary of the flash flood that took ten lives in one family. There is a family memorial at the edge of the parking lot listing the names and ages of the ten that were lost in the flood. My wife and I walked to the end of the trail to see the water wheel. It is actually by the parking lot. Did some research on the wheel. The web say the wheel was used in the early 1900s by a gold miner named James Greer who used it to power an ore crusher. Nice to see a little history.

hiking
7 days ago

Good short trail, open as of 7/14/18, but the water is very brown and muddy from rain. Not much flowing water yet.

Park for free by the bridge just before Granite Reef recreation site or roadside just after. Granite Reef requires a paid pass.

This is a great MTB trail. I was hiking and went off trail most of the time. I did a Little Rock hounding and found some nice quartz.

It’s straight up desert crossing, not featured, maintained hiking trails. I like that.

This was a nice and easy hike. It would be nice for children because it’s relatively flat and not a lot of climbing. There weren’t any spectacular views but it was still fun.

hiking
11 days ago

I did this hike yesterday (late March) before the permit system went into effect. Gorgeous hike, but the way back up was pretty grueling but probably because I’d just moved from sea-level Maryland. Don’t skimp on the water— I drank over 3 liters when it was ~78 degrees and sunny. Glad they’re implementing a permit system— this area is gorgeous and is definitely showing signs of overuse.

One of my favorites!
2 things you need to know.
1- it's rough driving to get there, but the road from Roosevelt lake is much smoother and shorter than the one closer to Phoenix. you need clearance, 4 wd isn't necessary but helpful
2- the last run is very steep and dangerous, careless hikers above you may drop rocks and people die from falls. but it's very very doable. just be aware.

additionally, I know I would get grief for this, but I hike off trail to get down. on your decent, before you get to the steep drop, I turn down toward the parking lot. it's loose dirt in some areas and I would guess if there's leaves on the trees you might lose your bearings. but it was an excellent decision for us as we were running out of sunlight, we beat others down while had left the summit 30 minutes before us.

This hike is absolutely beautiful! You really get to experience a little bit of everything this desert has to offer. The views are fantastic and the hike easy, so even with the 100+ degree temperatures it was pleasant. Tips- Pack lots of water, be mindful of snakes!

This trail has very little shade, no river and it was like walking through kitty litter the whole time. It would be great for dirt bikes but that’s it.

This trail sucks dont water your time. The sand is the most annoying part of this hike honestly. Not a hike trail.

Great for a nice walk, a number of different trails and good views.

Awesome hiking trail today!

Closed today

area where the alltrail is marked was marked closed on the path itself. I walked along the jeep route, was not great. also consider shooters in the area, also not great and kind of scary!

couldn't find where to park. help =)

paddle sports
29 days ago

So much fun! Great for any skill level too. Renting a kayak is the easiest option— a bus will pick you up at your desired location and take you back to your car. Take a friend!

After 4 miles you have to be very careful for trail marking. Lots of big boulders and fallen trees are on trail. Also carry a lot of water. If you are not into long hikes don’t attempt this trail. I completed whole loop and have not found any other hiker. So if you are planning to do whole loop carry a lot of water and carry other hiking essentials, most likely you will be by yourself.

Fantastic loops! Make your own distance by adding loops or subtracting...... good elevation not too much, good for trail running and bikes! This is a great easy go to trail system!

on Butcher Jones Trail

hiking
1 month ago

One of the most surreal moments of the trip was to arrive at the trailhead (sunrise) to witness the beauty of the Salt River wild horses. Amazing. The hike is beautiful with incredible views. Be cautious as the trail is quite narrow and steep at times. The narrow part can create an issue with rattle snake encounters... as we experienced on this hike. We expect to run into all sorts of wildlife during these hikes but did get ourselves into a pickle on the trail. Our issue was upon our return to the trailhead where we encountered a coiled rattler in a covered brush area near the shore. It’s beautiful in this small patch of area but you only have one way to pass through. There is no where to climb up or around in certain areas so if your trail is blocked, it may pose additional impediments. Just be cautious and aware of your surroundings on this trail. I suggest a walking stick of sorts.

Hiked it during the day and then again 6 hours later to catch the eclipse a few months ago. If you get towards the top late in the day to see the sun start to set the view is best around Phoenix IMO

4 stars mostly for sentimental value. Some nice views of the Superstitions and one confusing part where the trail follows a less than obvious route.

attempted to hike this one on 6/2/2018. closed due to extreme fire restrictions.

Do you pay when you get there or do have to purchase a permit online? And 9 dollars per person or vehicle?

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike down, and even more wonderful below. Watch out for poison oak my friends!

hiking
1 month ago

No real hiking paths. We ended up just walking around and exploring. It was nice area but prob wouldn’t go back.

hiking
1 month ago

Heaven on Earth

Fun short trail. Not difficult at all.

Great hike! Most of the trail is easy and easy to find, just follow the stream up. Took my dog and he did great as well! Several options for rock scrambling for more seasoned hiking and stunning views. Hopped in the water..... COLD as expected for May 1st! Will definitely make a return trip! P.S. Day fee of $9.00, bring cash, the PAY box is NOT well marked.

Load More