Most Of Rim Country Forest Shut Down



Closure order

Effective Thursday morning, most of Rim Country forests are closed due to drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger, officials announced Wednesday.

See the map for detailed description of what areas are closed.

The road leading into Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will remain open while the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery will be closed to public access.

State Highway 87, Highway 260, and Highway 188 are open.

County roads through the Tonto National Forest remain open unless the road is specifically closed by the agency managing that road; all National Forest System roads and trails within the described area are closed.

“These area closures are to provide for firefighter and public safety during the extreme fire danger currently being experienced in Central Arizona,” said Helen Graham, acting fire staff officer for the forest. “These precautionary measures are intended to enhance our visitors’ quality recreation experiences. Most areas of the Tonto National Forest remain available for recreation activity, including all the Salt River system lakes.”

“We continue to remind the public that all fireworks are prohibited on the forest at all times, and right now, under our current restrictions, target-shooting is prohibited throughout the forest.”

Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and imprisonment for up to six months.

Forest Service officials continue to remind the public that wildfire potential conditions are extreme on the forest and those elevated fire restrictions are in place. No fireworks are allowed on the forest at any time.

Exemptions to area closures are:

Owners and lessees of private lands within the boundaries of the described areas.

Persons accessing the RV Dump site on the west side of State Highway 188 at Cholla Bay.

The closure area includes:

All National Forest System Lands, roads and trails beginning at Forest Road 708 at the Fossil Springs Trailhead thence proceeding southeasterly along the power line corridor following the Mazatzal Wilderness Boundary; thence easterly along the power line corridor to the junction of Forest Trail 540 (FT540); thence easterly and southeasterly along the power line corridor to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park; thence easterly along Forest System Road 583 to State Highway 87; thence southerly following State Highway 87 to the Intersection with State Highway 260; thence easterly along State Highway 260 to the junction of the Colcord Road (Forest Road 291); thence easterly and southerly along FR 291 to Forest Road 512; thence northerly along FR 512 to the Forest boundary at the top of the Mogollon Rim; thence westerly along the Mogollon Rim and Tonto National Forest Boundary to the Fossil Springs Trailhead at Forest Road 708.


All National Forest System Lands, roads and trails within the Mt Ord, Four Peaks and Three Bar Wildlife Area, more specifically described as follows: bounded by Highway 87 on the west beginning at the intersection with Forest System Road 143; thence northerly along the eastern edge of State Highway 87 to the intersection with State Highway 188; thence southerly along the western edge of Highway 188 to the Salt River corridor; thence westerly along the north side of the Salt river corridor including the north shores of Apache Lake, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake to Cottonwood Creek; thence northerly along Cottonwood creek to the intersection with Forest System Road 401; continuing northerly on Forest System Road 401 to the intersection with Forest System Road 143; thence westerly on Forest System Road 143 terminating at the intersection with State Highway 87.

For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200, or check online at


Pat Randall 4 years, 7 months ago

What a description of where the forest is closed. I was raised in Payson, owned the ranch west of the Doll Baby Ranch road for 13 years. Rode horses all over that. Been over across the Rim, been to the Fish Hatchery, Natural Bridge, Lived in Pine for a short time and also Tonto Basin. Have water skied on Roosevelt, Canyon and Saguaro lake. Driven on the Fossil Creek road to Prescott, Have no clue from the descriptions what is open or closed. Leave out all the thences, F.S. road numbers and legal language. I was also a Realtor for about 23 yrs and what you described is all Greek to me. Try using north, south, east, west and milage or something easy to understand. Or better yet. Close the northern part of Tonto National forest except for main highways.


Dan Haapala 4 years, 7 months ago

Here goes Pat. If you are driving north on 87, when you get to Payson and the 260 intersection at McDonalds, the closure begins. If you continue North on 87, everything out of your passenger window is closed all the way to top of the rim.

If you turn right at 260, once you leave private land, everything on your left is closed all the way to the top of the rim. Did that help? :)


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