Upper Tonto Creek Campground

Area Status: Open

Tonto Creek Recreation Site

There are numerous activities to explore in the Upper Tonto Creek Campgrounds. The Lower Tonto Creek Campground has a large open-space parking lot and paved walkway makes it accessible with only a light hike to the creek. The Upper Tonto Creek Campground is tucked away from the main highway where the Tonto and Horton Creeks merge. Families may enjoy fishing at both Tonto and Horton Creeks or pass time hiking through nearby Horton Creek Trail or Derrick Trail. Both of these trails access the Highline National Recreation Trail (#31). Review At-A-Glance below for more details about this site. 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: No firewood fales. Recreation.gov Scan & Pay only accepted (no cash or checks accepted).
  • Scan & Pay only accepted (No cash or checks accepted) Download Recreation.gov app (app information) and log into account before heading to campground. See instructions here. 
  • $20 per night for standard sites; $38 per night for double campsites.
  • *America the Beautiful Interagency Senior or Access Pass holders receive 50% discount (persons over 62 or living with a permanent disability) for single camp units only.
  • $8 for Tonto Pass (Available for Participating Vendors).
  • $12 at fee machine.
Open Season: April - October
  • 14-day stay limit.
  • No OHV recreational riding within the campground.
  • Dogs are allowed and must be kept on a leash.
  • Please use trash receptacles or pack it in, pack it out.
  • All campgrounds have posted Rules & Regulations at entrance kiosks. Please read and observe all rules.
  • Sites are small in this campground so trailers have to be short or only over camper type mounts.
  • Quiet hours 10:00 pm to 6:00 am (running generators are not permitted during quiet hours).
Closest Towns: Payson
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault toilets (accessible)
  • Scan & Pay Options Available 
  • Tonto Fee Machine Pass for Camping passes. Nearest Fee Machine located in Chrisopher Creek and Ponderosa Campgrounds. Debit or Credit only.
  • Tonto Daily Pass (and Watercraft Sticker, if required). Available at Tonto National Forest Offices and retail vendors (please call for availability).
  • Tonto Discovery Pass.  Available at Tonto National Forest Offices.
  • America the Beautiful Pass.  Available at Tonto National Forest Offices and online at USGS.gov.
Information Center: Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900

General Information


This site is 17 miles northeast of Payson. From Payson, travel 16 miles east on State Hwy. 260. Just east of mile marker 268 at Kohl’s Ranch, turn left (north) on Forest Road (FR) 289. Travel one mile and turn right into the site. View and download a map.

General Notes:
  • No off-road vehicles allowed.
  • Bear activity has increased due to drought conditions. For more information please visit bebearaware.org

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

9 camp units, picnic tables, campfire rings, cooking grills, trash service

No. of Sites 9
Reservation Info First come, first serve, no reservations
Fire Information Campfire rings available

River and Stream Fishing

Tonto Creek Fish Species:  Rainbow Trout; Brown Trout; Brook Trout

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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  Elevation : 
5,500 feet