Tonto is up
Would love to hear the trip report for the lower section if someone catches it Friday; NOAA is saying is about 2K at noon. Cut and paste from a buzzard who appears to be in the know from a few yrs ago; he/she can take credit if desired. Shuttle directions seem to be as good as can be, but just want to know if there are any updates.
The cool thing about Tonto creek is the ease of shuttle and incredible drive, if I were in Flagstaff the day before I'd run this gem.
From Flagstaff you will drive south down Lake Mary road about 45 minutes through an incredible forest. In a couple of spots it seems you can almost see to New Mexico across the tree tops. The drive goes right across the Rim country and you can see the conditions of the snow melt, snowpack etc on your way. In 45 minutes you will peak out of the Rim at Strawberry and pass many creek options. East Verde, Christopher Creek, Fossil Creek on the way to Tonto only 15 minutes south of Payson. You will have to check your own abilities for any one of these but for an incredible little gem(CLass III) of a river with an easy shuttle, and EZ return to Flagstgaff-- run south through Payson, and turn as if you were going to Roosevelt Lake. At Pumpkin Center(Jakes Corner), take the dirt road across the bar and run it a few miles to Rye Creek. Look off to the east you will see the tonto. Just before the creek take the right turn and park at the cattle guard. Walk down to rye creek and run it 1/4 mile to Tonto(prolly best to be above 400 cfs). To shuttle your car just run 10 miles or so down to where the creek pops out of the Canyon on your left. Take the first dirt road and park your car wherever you feel comfortable. Word to the wise, the ranch just downstream of the takeout on the left has some gun crazy folks, I'd stay off their road The No Trespassing signs are for real! Also, the cops in the Roosevelt area are lame, know your rights.
A couple of miles of Verdesque River and then the canyon narrows up into this incredibly beautiful tight gorge. Class III and Beautiful Creeking Not sure how the AW write up got so screwed up, but Rye Creek to Tonto Creek Run is not class V under 2K(that's the Hells Gate Section). It probably should have two different writeups. (1) Upper Tonto Hells Gate section, and (2) Tonto Creek-- Rye Creek to Gun Creek