Just an hour-and-a-half drive from Phoenix, the Payson area is a popular summer retreat. The Mazatzal Wilderness, one of the largest in the state, bounds the area on the west. Containing the northern half of the Mazatzal Mountains, this craggy range has miles of hiking trails for the backcountry walker. The smaller Hellsgate Wilderness contains Tonto and Haigler Creeks, which form deep, rugged canyons.
Miles of forest roads and trails are open to mountain bikers. Probably the best known trail is the Highline National Recreation Trail, which winds under the Mogollon Rim for miles. And yes, there are campgrounds! In addition to the standard Forest Service campgrounds listed here, the Tonto National Forest has a number of small, primitive campsites scattered through the forest. And, you can camp dispersed nearly anywhere in the forest. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Clints Well, Blue Ridge, Rock Crossing, Kehl Springs, Knoll Lake, Houston Mesa, Lower Tonto Creek, Upper Tonto Creek, Ponderosa, Christopher Creek, Sharp Creek, Valentine Ridge.
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