Tonto Basin The Outdoorsman's Dream


For those who enjoy mild temperatures, the Roosevelt Lake area has plenty of recreation opportunities during the fall and winter.

In the shadow of the Sierra Ancha mountain range lies Roosevelt Lake, and the friendly communities of Tonto Basin, Punkin Center and Roosevelt.


The Theodore Roosevelt Dam (foreground) is the world's largest Cyclopean-masonry arch. The structure towers 357 feet over Roosevelt Lake.

Drive south on Highway 87 and turn east on Highway 188. This road follows the shores of Roosevelt and over Roosevelt Lake bridge. The bridge offers a great view of Theodore Roosevelt Dam, which towers at 357 feet. This structure is the world's largest Cyclopean-masonry arch dam.

On the way, visitors can stop at the new Tonto Basin Chamber of Commerce for information on what the region has to offer.

During the fall and winter months, the population of the Roosevelt area swells with people escaping the frigid temperatures of the North.

Longtime resident of Tonto Basin, John Dryer, said people are attracted to the area because of the slower pace of life and the small-town feeling.

The Butcher Hook complex includes a restaurant, bar, market, and gas station. The bar and restaurant are a gathering place for locals and visitors who want to kick back and enjoy a festive atmosphere.

Almost anything a traveler might need is available in the Butcher Hook complex, including gasoline, fishing tackle and snacks.

The striking geography of the area lends itself to outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Roosevelt Lake draws many people who enjoy fishing, water skiing, and boating.

Anglers can try their luck at catching catfish, bass and crappie.

Campgrounds along the lake have all the amenities a camper could want. Cholla campground, one of the area's most popular, has hot showers and even a sandy play area for children.

There are also several local recreational vehicle parks, which are fully equipped for travelers passing through or those who want to stay and enjoy the warm temperatures and great fishing of Roosevelt Lake.

For those who prefer more luxurious accommodations, there is the Tonto Basin Inn and the Roosevelt Lake Resort.

Shortly after crossing the Roosevelt bridge, you will see a 10,000-square-foot visitors center that has a history museum and an expansive patio overlooking the lake.

Staff can provide maps and information on fishing, boating, hiking and biking trails in the area.

For more information call the Tonto Basin Chamber of Commerce at (928) 479-2128 or the Tonto Basin Ranger District at (928) 467-2238.

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