The best camping near
Tonto National Forest, ARIZONA

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Camping Arizona Tonto National Forest
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Most Recent Tonto National Forest Camping Reviews
Cool spot, too much trash

The river was beautiful! The camp spots were close to the river with nice big fire rings. Just like a lot of low desert camping in Arizona it’s dusty and dry with lots of prickly plans. But the trail and the trees near the river were lush. My biggest complaint about the spot was all the garbage everywhere. Come on people, burn your trash or take it home! There’s no need to trip over piles of water bottles & beer cans, cigarette butts, McDonald’s wrappers and plastic bags.

Real Mountain Top View

This campground is Free. There are 17-21 sites dispersed & in groups that include cement picnic tables, metal ring fire pits, and some sites also have Bear Boxes. There are 3-4 outhouses, no running water or amenities. To get there from Globe it’s 7 miles of dirt one lane switchbacks on the side of the mountain. I have seen campers before but it is not very easy to get up there with them. There are bears and other wildlife. Even have seen a tarantula (pictured). Like many state land out here they have cattle loose and they do travel the road up the mountain so keep that in mind.

Great for hiking and relaxing

Maricopa County Park in Cave Creek. Very well taken care of. 

The park has beautiful hiking trails and a great nature center, which offers activities.

Some hiking trails are within walking distance of the campground, others you will need to drive to. 

The campground itself is very clean. It is quiet and the campsites all have electric and water hookups, picnic table and fire pit. 

There is an older area, sites 1 through 42, which offers more space in between the spaces. the newer area, sites 43 through 55 are closer to each other, but still doesn't feel crowded.

Our Favorite Spot

We love camping here, its so close to home and it's dispersed! We usually camp right on the water. It can get really packed but we have never had bad neighbors. Seems to be kept pretty clean and there are restrooms.

Good

We really liked this camp ground, we just didn't like the experience. The spaces are spread apart and there is plenty of room. But you can have up to 10 people, 2 car and ONLY 2 tents. So be prepared to sleep in groups I guess, we weren't. Also the camp host was nice but seemed to cater to the people she knew, she drives by A LOT and checked up on us almost every hour, we go to camp to get away, not be bothered. She really did not make us feel welcomed but we really did like where the camp site was so we're just hoping a new host is there if we ever go back.

Lots of activities

This 55+ community is very well organized.

55+

Another well organized and well maintained park. You have to request month ahead if you are not staying for a long period of time.

All depends on the site

Nice campground overall. I enjoyed the easy access off the 260 and also the paved roads. We had a great campsite with tons of space D08 but it was also close to the bathroom. 2 issues were the flys and the bees. It was overload. They actually had bee and fly catchers up before we even got there and they still were an issue. Overall not bad but probably won’t come back.

Currently Closed due to flood rush

I wanted to stay down by the lake but the washes are closed due to the flash flood risk. The recent fire much of the vegetation that stems the flow of water. I would imagine that the campground will open back up after monsoon season but might periodically close based on the weather patterns. At least until the vegetation regrows.

I ended up staying on the south side if Davis Wash just off Apache Trail in a dispersed campground. I was the only one out there which was nice and spooky. Being that it was Friday the 13th. I figured it would be better to be with the four legged creatures than the two legged. Better behaved. Nice night that cooled off enough to sleep at midnight.

Loosely named a "Resort"

This place is not the type of resort you "girl's trip" to. It's the kind of resort where you plan to spend all day on the lake and come back to a shower and a real bed. You can choose to camp in your tent/RV or start in the motel.

The resort offers:

  • breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • watercraft rentals
  • two boat ramps
  • convenience store

There is a $10 fee to use any of their land. Even if you're just launching your boat. Emergency personnel have a base on the property which is comforting. Cell service is scarce on the lake but works great close to the resort. Only gave the resort 4 stars because I prefer camping around less people.

Ranger Review: Primus Essential Pot Set at Crabtree Wash

Campground Review:

Crabtree Wash is a small campground next to the Apache Lake Marina and Resort. There are two ways down to the wash: one fun dirt road to take your 4x4 vehicle or service road 79. Service road 79 is the same road you take to the resort and is paved all the way down. Crabtree is run by the Tonto National Forest so you must have a Tonto Pass to enjoy the day or night. Passes can be purchased at any Tonto Ranger station, Canyon Lake or most gas stations on the way down Apache Trail. 

The campground itself is fairly small and first come/first serve. This campground is unique because it is next to the “resort”. The campground has toilets and trash pickup. The resort offers many things for sale (firewood, ice, lunch…) so it’s like camping out in the desert next to a convenience store. 

When planning a trip to Apache lake plan accordingly as this is a desert campground. In September I sweat bullets until about midnight when the temperature dropped. The lake the next day made it all better. 

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt (what I refer lovingly to as a Dyrt Ranger), I get the privilege to test products. At Crabtree Wash, I tested Primus’ Essential Pot Set 1.3L. I have been in need of specific camping pots as the kitchen pots I was using were not getting the job done. These pots were impressive. 

The set comes with two 1.3L pots, one frying pan, a pot gripper and a carrying bag. First impressions: love the carrying bag, pans look well made and perfect size to cook for my one or two person camping trips. 

I was able to throw my plate and silverware into the carrying bag with the pots so everything is self contained. The flying is nonstick and doubles as a lid to the pots.  The pot gripper is okay, the design is akin to scissors. I’m planning on upgrading to the Primus Crimp Pot Gripper as I fully expect to drop a pan of boiling water because I loosen my grip on the gripper. Overall I am completely stoked to add the Primus pots to my camping gear. 

Camping only During October 15 – April 15

This campground is not ideal for trailers as you park in a parking lot.  There are pit toilets.  Picnic tables at each site (5).  There is a $9 per night fee and also a Tonto Pass is needed. Camping is only allowed from October 15th to April 15th. During the summer, the area is day use only.

Quick get away spot

Well laid out park large sites super clean restrooms. Bit warm to hot May to October

Clean park with necessary ammenities

The owners are an older couple who were very friendly, and very accommodating. We called at 7pm on a Sunday looking for a spot that night. Even though they were technically closed they met us there, and helped us get set up. Ended up staying for an entire month, and had zero issues with this nice, quiet community.

Such a great site!!

We had a great time here, sites are good size and well kept! Amenities were in great condition and our favorite day use river spot is 15 minutes away👌🏻 A+++

Different but nice!!!

This place is a little easier to get to than upper pinal, which is just on the other side of Pinal Mountains. This campground was set up kinda weird, but worked out good. I would definitely recommend trying this one out, and I will definitely go back. Bathrooms were clean and sites were pretty roomy for our teardrop.. Only 1 bar of cell service for At&t. But overall a great time here.

First to Review
This is a nice primitive campground

We have camped here in the spring. Nice hikes in the area and a great place to get away while it is cool

Beautiful 55+ community

This community has so many organized activities for residents. They have almost everything you would need on site. Everything for activities, concerts, games and shows. Great for snowbirds or somewhere you need to stay a few months.

Full time

This is a no age limit Rv park. Has laundry facility and clubhouse. No your ideal park if looking for something overnight or short time.

First to Review
Great site

Clean, functional, and staff was very understanding and helpful and even was very flexible when we had a miscommunication and some extra cars and tents. Stayed around end of May and weather was fantastic.

Day Site Only

No camping at this site. Only for day recreation. There is a fun offroading trail just east here.

Beautiful Views

Beautiful view of the backside of the Superstition Mountains. Most of the way to Roosevelt Lake is a dirt road. All vehicles can drive this trail. Few different lookout points with picnic tables and restrooms.

Love this place!

Easy to get a permit from the ranger station. Just email your name, address, phone number and driver's license number to sm.fs.mesa_ohs@usda.gov and you'll get your permit within 2 days for free. I love that it's not far out of town but an easy place to forget you live in town. I've seen all types of vehicles out there. Better to have a 4 wheel drive with decent clearance for some of the trails. Most camp spots aren't too deep in so it's easiest to access.

Nice quiet campground

Nice private campsites, clean restrooms. If you like TV while camping there is no cable hookup.

Very Small and Tight

The road in is very narrow, with alot of scrub trees hanging over the road. I have a Teardrop and it was about as big as I would take in there. No cell service, bathrooms were ok though.

Peaceful and Clean

There is a self pay machine, but did not work. The campsites are nice and roomy. Says there is a host, but there is not. Overall nice place and has cell phone service.

Pleasant Surprise

My family & I had planned to head to a different campground but it was snowed in. After several hours of driving, we couldn't find anywhere! As a last try, we went to the Lost Dutchman State Park & were pleasantly surprised. We camped for 2 nights & had a great time. Excellent trails, beautiful views, friendly staff… overall a great experience that my 3year old still can't stop talking about.

Great place to stay!

We were here for 4 days and it was a great trip. A very quiet place for such a large park.

A favorite

This site is well kept and spacious. And the closest site to Water Wheel which is about ten miles away and Arizona’s best kept secret. I usually set up camp the afternoon before and get up early to make the drive to Water Wheel and get in a day hike. This place has extraordinary water falls and swimming holes. I have probably camped at Mesa Houston more than any other place in Arizona just so I can hike Water Wheel and have never had a negative experience. Payson is beautiful and this camp site is near amenities and great hiking spots.

Small but secluded

Not very much room for a trailer, mostly tent camping. 

Did get cell phone service there though.