Upper Tonto Creek Arizona Campground

Upper Tonto Creek Campground Arizona

Friday, April 1st, 2022, the first day Upper Tonto Creek Campground opens, we were there along with everyone else. Fortunately, we were early in the day and asked the Campground Host which site was the best for being quiet and fewer surrounding campers. The Campground Host said, “Site 9. Up the hill”. We drove up the hill and scouted out the area and chose to stay.


Location, Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical

Upper Tonto Creek Campground is located about 17 miles Northeast of Payson, Arizona. Payson is a great town to purchase supplies and refuel.

We choose this area because the camp sites are within walking distance of Tonto Creek and Horton Creek.


The campsites have a grill, firepit, and picnic table.

Site 9 is up on the hill at the end of the dirt road. What we liked about the site is that there are no campsites on the three sides of it. The person that did camp at the site next to us was very quiet and left early the next morning.  

Campsite 9 Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical


There is a Camp Host to check in with and can purchase firewood.

Restrooms are two clean vault toilets.

dumbsters Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical

Trash bins are easy to use.

There is drinking water available near the restroom and trash bins.

Waterfall Trails

trailhead Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical

There are multiple trailheads in the camp area. Such as Horton Creek Trail 285 and Derrick Trail 33. Both of those trails access Highline National Recreation Trail (#31).

On the first day, we walked North along the Zane Gray Highway next to the Tonto Creek until we found a beautiful 12 foot tall waterfall. There was a fisherman fishing at the bottom. The fisherman reported that he likes to come up here to relax after work. It was a nice quiet area with the sounds of the waterfall.

waterfall Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical

On the second day, we hiked along Horton Creek to the larger 20 foot tall waterfall. I will note that the area had received snow the previous week. Since the snow had melted, the waterfalls had a lot of water flowing.

Upper Tonto Creek Arizona Campground

end Upper Tonto Creek Campground, Forever Sabbatical

There are fees to camp in this area. For up to date information regarding the camp fees go the Tonto Nation Forest website

Interested in other Arizona waterfall hikes? Check out Water Wheel Falls.

Do you like to camp near waterfalls?

16 thoughts on “Upper Tonto Creek Arizona Campground
  1. This looks like a great campsite to explore! I love all the waterfall trails!

  2. I was born and raised in Arizona and Tonto creek especially the upper part has always been my favorite camping and hiking area!

  3. What a beautiful area to explore! I bet their are many great historical stories of this land to share!

  4. Such an amazing area! We love traveling to new places and will keep this campground on our list.

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