The property is owned by the U.S. Forest Service (Tonto Forest), and operated by the Department’s Hatchery Program. The facility was constructed in 1937 and had a major renovation in 1993 that converted the facility to its current use of 12 covered raceways. The property includes 4 residences, a hatchery shop/garage, a large office building which contains a small visitor center with public restrooms as well as indoor tanks, and several smaller structures for operational use. The property is staffed by four full-time employees who reside on site and are responsible for day-to-day operations and maintenance of the site. The average production of the hatchery is 50,000 lbs. of trout which represents 15% of all the trout stocked in Arizona, contributing to the economy of the state with approximately $72.7 million annually.
Tonto Creek Hatchery is located near the headwaters of Tonto Creek beneath the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest is located approximately 21 miles east of Payson off of Highway 260. Turn north off SR 260 at the signed road near Kohl’s Ranch Resort and travel four miles to end of road. The road is paved all the way to the facility. The last five miles are along a narrow double-lane road with a minimum 7-percent grade in some sections that can be snow covered at times during the winter. Under normal conditions, the roads are clear within 48 hours of a storm.
Hours open to the public:
Daily 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas
Visitors can take a self guided tour of the facility. The annual public visitation is estimated at 50,000-60,000.
*Please Note: We frequently have closures due to local weather and road conditions. Please contact us 928-478-4200 and verify with one of our employees if closures exist due to local conditions.