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Tonto Creek Hatchery
Located in a marvelous canyon, Tonto Creek Hatchery is the most visited of the state’s fish hatcheries. Its riparian habitat along Tonto Creek is an excellent site to watch big game, especially elk.
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Tonto Creek Recreation Area
Description: This is a very popular summer recreation area, located just under the Mogollon Rim. Canyon habitat consists of cottonwood, willow, Arizona walnut, sycamore, and Rocky Mountain maple. In 1990, the Dude Fire burned 24,000 acres near here; self-guided auto tours show damage and recovery.

Wildlife to Watch: A wide variety of song and other birds are attracted to the area, including Merriam’s turkey, band-tailed pigeon, American dipper (particularly during fall and winter), Virginia’s and MacGillivray’s warblers, and acorn woodpecker. Rufous, black-chinned, and broad-tailed hummingbirds are common in spring and summer. Mammals include elk, deer, Abert’s and Arizona gray squirrels, mantled ground squirrel, and rock squirrel. A variety of reptiles and amphibians may be encountered along the creek and its canyon, including Clark’s spiny lizard, Madrean alligator lizard, plateau lizard, greater short-horned lizard, terrestrial gartersnake, Arizona black-tailed rattlesnake, Sonoran mountain kingsnake, and canyon and Arizona treefrogs.

Special Tips: N/A

Other Activities: Several trails with easy access to wildlife viewing.

Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service 
Size: 5 acres 
Closest Town: Payson

RestroomsParkingHikingRV Pullout

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel - photo by Jim Mallman
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Driving Directions:
From Payson go east on Hwy. 260 for 17 miles to Tonto Creek recreation area, north on Forest Road 289.

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Tonto Creek Recreation Area : Wildlife Viewing Area