Directions To Camp Tontozona
1. Take 202 (east from Phoenix) to 101 North.
2. Exit on McDowell Road.
3. Turn right onto McDowell and head east to the Beeline Highway (Highway 87). A sign will be noted: "To Payson, Arizona."
4. Proceed north-northeast on Highway 87 to Payson. Continue through the small city of Payson and at the northeast end of Payson take Highway 260 which will be on the right.
5. Follow Highway 260 approximately 17 miles North-East of Payson, past Kohl’s Ranch, to the Camp Tontozona exit. Stay in the right lane to access the Camp Tontozona access drive and Parking area..
6. After crossing the Tonto Creek bridge, the turn into Camp Tontozona is one mile past the fire station turnoff on the right side of the road. A pri-vate parking lot is approximately 300 yards from the gate.
August temperatures in Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun, begin at 100 degrees and work their way higher!
To escape the Phoenix area's late-summer oven, the Arizona State football team annually treks 100 miles northeast to Camp Tontozona, a University-owned recreation and camping area, for its preseason workouts.
Set within the cool mountain country near Payson, Ariz., the camp borders the Tonto National Forest, which provides the first two syllables of Tontozona. The state of Arizona offers the last pair.
Mountains skirt the camp with water, contributing much of the beauty to the area with clear-running Tonto Creek just a moment's walk from the practice field. As a matter of fact, the bubbling springs on the camp property are a popular place for a cold drink or a refreshing natural whirlpool after practice. But the creek is even more popular after drills. Three man-sized waterfalls and clear-bottom swimming holes serve as refreshers to the Sun Devils.
Wildlife is another prominent specialty of Tontozona; deer roaming the surrounding country and hawks circling the morning and evening skies are not uncommon sights.
Just minutes away by car are other attractions such as the recently renovated Zane Grey's cabin, the site that inspired many of the famous author's Western novels, the spectacular Mogollon Rim and its breathtaking view, and countryside that provides a haven for campers, horseback riders, hikers and picnickers.
Tontozona provides the Sun Devils with a unique setting for concentration and preparation for the new season ahead. Legendary Hall of Fame coach Frank Kush started taking his Sun Devil squads to Camp Tontozona in 1960.
Click here for more information on the town of Payson and Rim County activity guide!