FR 71 Tonto National Forest

2.7/5 (6 reviews)
Tonto Basin, Arizona (Gila County)
Last Updated: 07/07/2021

Trail Information


Considered a gateway trail by many, FR71 takes you from the harsh desert of the Tonto Basin to other trails leading to the milder climates high above in the pines of Tonto National Forest. While traveling up the very easy dirt trail you can choose one of the short side trails leading to a local spring with their abundance of blackberries, the best time is around July. Along the route, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the beautiful panoramas of both the Four Peaks and Roosevelt Lake areas. For incredible star gazing, you can choose to camp in the wide open desert while further up the trail many campsites offer shade from the relentless sun. Either way, you're sure to enjoy a remote camping experience.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

2.7/5 (6)
Rated 3/5
Visited: 10/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Nothing hard or challenging about this segment but the creek crossing right in town, if there was any weather, it could rise significantly quickly and possibly trapping you on the east side of the basin. Be aware of the UTV traffic since it is so close to all the RV parks. The small offshoot trails marked via forest service markers are not roads but small camp sites just off the beaten path so dont feel you have to explore them as they just peter out in a few hundred yards. Save yourself from the pinstripes on behalf of my jeep.
Official Crew
Visited: 07/07/2021

Arizona National Forests and State Lands are back open for travel. There are still some very important fire restrictions in place. These restrictions can often change by specific areas.
Official Crew
Temporary Closure
Visited: 06/25/2021

Tonto National Forest officials will close the state’s largest national forest due to ongoing extreme fire danger beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 25. The forest is implementing this forest closure as a precaution to protect the health and safety of the public, employees and firefighters by reducing the risk of human-caused fires. No one is allowed in the closure area, including Forest Service personnel, unless they are responding to a wildfire or other emergency or patrolling to ensure enforcement of the closure. The order shall remain in effect until July 31, 2021 or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. Residents or businesses using roads in the restricted area to the extent necessary to access their private property are exempt.
Visited: 02/20/2021

Explored this trail yesterday (FR71). It is important because it provides entrance into other connecting trails (currently not mapped on this site yet) that have many beautiful rock formations and other points of interest. I visited Oaker Spring (down FR136 from waypoint #12) where wild berries will grow in abundance later in the year. There is an amazing tree arch in the creek here. I have never seen a tree grow in such a manner. Further in I visited Mud Spring (through the gate at 236A) off the Dupont Cabin trail that is posted to the site here. There is another longer route to Dupont Cabin that bypasses the steep and rocky switchbacks. This longer round about route takes you up and around Picture Mountain and past a large cave known only to the locals of Tonto Basin as "Indian Cave". I plan to go back and map out this route and visit the cave(s) up in that area which is within a Ponderosa Pine forested region.
Rated 2/5
Visited: 01/22/2021

As Bobby says, this is basically a dirt road that services the Greenback Valley Ranch owned by Bill Conway. Thus, it could be run in inclement weather. The views are great for not much off road bouncing. And, most important for us, it provided access to the Dupont Cabin Trail. After running the Dupont Cabin Trail, we returned west on FR 609 until we intersected with FR 71 and took it back to Punkin Center.

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