Get the 411 on everything you need to know in the Creek
CHRISTOPHER CREEK ARIZONA at 5900 feet elevation, just 22 miles east of Payson, is nestled on the banks of spring fed Christopher Creek, below the Majestic Mogollon Rim. This towering 200-mile escarpment of Red Rock with its zigzag cliffs and ledges marks the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The Christopher Creek area was made famous by author Zane Grey, many of whose classic Western novels were set in this mystical wild “Tonto Country”. The lush riparian environment of Christopher Creek and its neighboring streams is found in the world’s largest stand of Ponderosa Pines and provides habitat for many species of plants and wildlife. Within minutes of Christopher Creek, avid anglers can be knees deep in Beautiful Creeks and Streams below a canopy of pines; or fishing on one of the 7 Lakes on top of the Mogollon Rim. Elk, deer, turkey, squirrels, & rabbits can be seen roaming the countryside. Hikers, mountain bike riders, and equestrians can enjoy over 51 miles of recreation along the Highline Trail under the Mogollon Rim, with additional trails ascending to the top of the Rim. From Christopher Creek, the adventurers can explore caves, fossil beds, streams, lakes, and experience the miles and miles of wild woodland. The solitude and peace will grip ones heart and city life will feel miles away. There is no playground like the forest.
There are four Campgrounds near Christopher Creek: Upper Tonto Creek Campground is on Tonto Creek with 9 campsites with picnic tables & grills, campfire rings and trash service. Christopher Creek Campground is on Christopher Creek with 43 campsites with tables & grills, trash service. For more information on these campgrounds call 928-468-7135, no reservations. Sharp Creek Campground is located at MP 275.5 on Hwy 260 with 28 campsites with picnic tables & grills, campfire rings and lantern holders. Ponderosa Campground is located at MP 265.5 on Hwy 260 with 61 campsites. For more information on these campgrounds and reservations call 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. All campgrounds are normally open April-Oct. Additional information go to www.fed.us/tonto/recreation/camping-cabins.
Driving tours of the area are numerous and beautiful. The Forest Service 300 Road on top of the Rim is a scenic drive with look-outs providing an awesome view of the Tonto National Forest below. Along the way stop and fish at one of the many lakes or streams or stop at the Historical Sites. The Tunnel to Nowhere is a 1/2 mile hike below the rim, where in 1883 the AZ Mineral Belt Railroad tried to bore through the Mogollon Rim for a south to north railroad. Numerous stables operate daily to show visitors this diverse country on horseback.
Christopher Creek is approximately 100 miles from Phoenix. Take the Beeline Highway (Highway 87) east to Payson, then Highway 260 east from Payson 22 miles to Christopher Creek Loop on left.
ROAD CONDITIONS: https://www.az511.com/ or call 511
THINGS TO DO
Tonto Creek & Canyon Creek Fish Hatcheries, Rancho Tonto Fishing Pond, hiking, fishing, (7 lakes and many streams are stocked with trout through the summer), boat rentals available at Woods Canyon Lake, camping, horseback riding, driving tours, wildlife & bird watching, ATV trails, cross country skiing, and snowmobile trails.
15-20 Degrees cooler than Phoenix. Possible snow in winter. Elevation 5700′ – 6300′.
Bring comfortable shoes, a sweater for summer evenings, make room reservations in advance (rates are lower during week).