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Off roading in Tonto National Forest

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Today we explored some new country north of Saguaro Lake. The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have developed several areas around the state for people to ride their ATVs, off road motorcycles, sand rails, etc.. We drove a few roads in the Rolls OHV area this time.

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Apparently you should buy a decal which helps support areas like this if you are riding any of the above mentioned vehicles. Jeeps and pickup trucks are not mentioned so assuming the green monster was exempt we headed out north of Mesa on the Beeline highway toward Payson. Turn onto the Four Peaks Road and you will drive right by the Rolls Parking lot and the beginning of one of the jeep trails out here.

We drove past and took the 401 down into the canyon to Cottonwood Camp. I wanted to see the old stone water tank again and yep, it’s still there. Then we backtracked some and ended up on road 1813 which goes right through the heart of the area. This is a Saguaro Cactus forest. We passed several old water tanks and barbwire holding pens. This was cattle country at one time but there isn’t much out here except gobs of cactus and brush and rocks any more. Maybe you could call it cow country since one or two determined cows might make a living out here yet. Road 1813 climbs through some washes and then grabs the highest ridgeline out here and takes you all the way to the Butcher Jones recreation area on the shore of Saguaro Lake. Don’t stop and park here without a Tonto Pass or you might get a ticket? From here you take the paved road out to the Bush Highway. The roads we traveled are easy jeep roads with only a few places where four wheel drive would be mandatory. Some stretches are rocky and rough as a cob though.

Will was here 2/4/14

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