Bulldog Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Permit Zone

Area Status: Open

Located in the Mesa Ranger District about one hour from Phoenix, Bulldog Canyon is 34,000 acres in size and provides approximately 20 miles of open routes. Bulldog Canyon routes are all full size vehicle width and provide access to the beautiful Sonoran desert and Goldfield Mountains. There are six access points: Blue Point, Usery, Wolverine, Hackamore, Dutchman and Willow. A Tonto Motorized Vehicle Use Permit is currently required for this area, available at Recreation.gov. Please remember to stay on the routes.  Driving off-road is prohibited on the Tonto National Forest. Permits are not available at the District Office.

ALERT: Camping is prohibited within the following staging areas: Blue Point for two miles, Usery, Wolverine, Hackamore, Dutchman, and Willow for one mile. As well as all of NFSR 78 (First Water Road). The user made horse trailer parking area located adjacent to State Route 88, mile post 203. For more information view the Closure Order here and the Maps here.

At a Glance

  • Each motor vehicle operator needs to obtain a six-month permit from Recreation.gov prior to entry into Bulldog Canyon.
  • Each access gate is locked, and you need a permit for the lock combination.
  • A $6 administrative fee is included to cover the cost of operations.
Permit Info:
  • Obtain a six-month permit by visiting Recreation.gov prior to entry into Bulldog Canyon.
  • Access gates are locked and the permit contains the lock combinations.
Open Season: January
Usage: Medium
Best Season: November through March
Restrictions: Target shooting is NOT allowed in this area.
Closest Towns: Apache Junction, Arizona
Operated By: Mesa Ranger District

General Information

General Notes:

Every person operating a motorized vehicle in a Tonto Motorized Vehicle Permit Area must have:

  • A valid Tonto Forest OHV Permit issued in their name
  • A valid driver’s license or alternate identification (except those under 16 years of age)
  • An Arizona State OHV Decal (resident or non-resident) attached to the license plate on their vehicle (this does not need to be a street legal plate- a registration "RV" plate works). For more information on state license plate requirements, visit Arizona Game & Fish.

Tonto National Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Permits can only be obtained from Recreation.gov. Paper copies are no longer available at the District Office as of March 19, 2020. The online process will include a $6 administrative fee to cover the cost of operating the online service.

To reserve a permit, go to Recreation.gov and follow prompts to purchase and then print the permit. The printed permit includes six months of gate code combinations to unlock the access gates to the Bulldog Canyon OHV Permit Zone.

Each Tonto OHV Permit is issued to a single person and covers use in all motorized vehicle permit areas on the Tonto. Any vehicle operator 16 and over must have a permit. Passengers do not need a permit, and non-motorized uses such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc. do not need a permit. Permits are good for a period of 6 months from date of purchase and can be renewed as long as the permit holder has not received any citations for violation of the area and permit use rules. Please note that this is different from past permits, where up to five additional household members were allowed to be added to one permit; “household permits” have been discontinued.

See the Bulldog Canyon Handout for more Rules and Regulations for the Bulldog Canyon OHV Permit Zone.

People seeking additional information can contact the Mesa Ranger District at (480) 610-3300 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during weekdays. 

Driving Time Round Trip: 2 - 3 hours, depending on the routes you choose

OHV Etiquette: Please remember that you share these routes with other users and that OHV courtesy and safety is your responsibility. Non-motorized routes are also located within the Bulldog Canyon area, and are marked as such. Motorized use on non-motorized routes is prohibited.

Leave No Trace: Recognize your role in preserving wild lands by practicing these Leave No Trace principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts.
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors.


Access Point: Blue Point

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.550932, Longitude: -111.581588


  1. Exit Loop 202 (Red Mountain freeway) at Power Road 
  2. Continue north on Power Road, the road curves east and becomes Bush Hwy 
  3. Go straight through two stop signs, one at Coon Bluff and another at Usery Pass 
  4. Access point is approximately 1.8 miles on your right; if you’ve gone over a bridge you’ve gone too far 

Access Point: Usery

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.504762, Longitude: -111.617299


  1. Head north on Ellsworth Road until the road becomes Usery Pass 
  2. After passing Usery Mountain Regional Park, the access point is approximately 1.6 miles on your right after a curve. The pull-out for the access point comes up quick! 

Access Point: Wolverine

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.467502, Longitude: -111.530945


  1. Exit US 60 Superstition Freeway at Idaho Road 
  2. Continue north to McKellips Road 
  3. East on McKellips Road to Wolverine Pass Road 
  4. North on Wolverine Pass Road to Tonto Street 
  5. East on Tonto Street to Cactus Road 
  6. North on Cactus Road; in less than 650 feet the road will 90 degree turn to the right (heading east), and in another 400 feet it will turn left (heading north). The access point is about 600 feet ahead.

Access Point: Hackamore

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.466617, Longitude: -111.508122


  1. Exit US 60 Superstition Freeway at SR 88 Apache Trail 
  2. Continue northeast on SR 88 Apache Trail approximately 3 miles to Hackamore Road 
  3. North on Hackamore Road approximately 1.5 miles to the access point 

Access Point: Dutchman

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.479106, Longitude: -111.475962


  1. Exit US 60 Superstition Freeway at SR 88 Apache Trail 
  2. Continue northeast on SR 88 Apache Trail; access point is on your left approximately 1 mile past Lost Dutchman State Park. This access point can be hidden from vegetation and comes up quick! 

Access Point: Willow

Coordinates: Latitude: 33.501075, Longitude: -111.462964


  1. Exit US 60 Superstition Freeway at SR 88 Apache Trail 
  2. Continue northeast on SR 88 Apache Trail; access point is on your left approximately 1.8 miles past Lost Dutchman State Park 

Download a map

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Dispersed Camping

OHV Trail Riding

Recreation Areas

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