Things to do:
The Mogollon Rim is a rugged escarpment that forms the
southern limit of the Colorado Plateau. It extends across the entire
forest and provides excellent views within Plateau Country and Desert
Canyon Country as well. Dropping as much as 2,000 feet in some areas, the
Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona. Views
stretch from its rocky precipice to Four Peaks of the Mazatzals northeast
The Mogollon Rim offers a variety of recreational opportunities...
hiking and backpacking, trail riding by horse and bicycle, camping and
picnicking, boating and fishing, and don't forget winter activities such
as snowshoeing, cross-country and alpine skiing.
| Fishing | Camping | Scenic
Rides | Bike Trails | Hiking |
Winter Sports | | Clubs | Other
Things to Do |
|Woods Canyon Lake
|Woods Canyon Lake has 5 campgrounds. Aspen, Spillway,
Crook, Mogollon and Rim. of these campgrounds, Aspen is by far the
largest with 136 sites as compared with the other 4 that have 26.
Spillway is the closest to the lake with Crook being about a mile
away, then Mogollon at 1 1/2 miles and then Rim campground that's
around 4 miles away.
Woods Canyon Lake also has a group campsite that is designed for
parties of less than 70 campers. A second group site is at Spillway
and this accommodates 25 people or less. Fee's are charged at all
Fee's are charged on a per vehicle basis. Campsites typically accept
two vehicles. Reservation are strongly suggested at the Aspen,
Spillway and group sites by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.reserveusa.com.
|Willow Springs Lake
Trout, Browns, Rainbow
|Anglers catch mostly
rainbow trout in this U-shaped lake. There's a boat ramp but no
campground. You can camp in designated dispersed areas nearby or at
Sinkhole Campground, which has water and a $8 fee from mid-May to
late October. From AZ 260, about one mile east of Forest Road 300
(Rim Road) junction and four miles west of Canyon Point Campground,
turn in a half mile on Forest Road 149 to Sinkhole Campground, then
continue 3.5 miles to Willow Springs Lake. Rim, Crook, and Mogollon
Campgrounds lie along Forest Road 300, beginning 0.8 mile in from AZ
260; all are open mid-May to late October with water and a $8 fee.
|Black Canyon Lake
|This small trout lake
doesn't have a campground, but Black Canyon Rim and Gentry
campgrounds lie within a few miles. Black Canyon Rim has water and
an $8 fee from mid-May to late September. Gentry has no water or
fee, but sites can be reserved for families or groups at
800/280-2267. Both stay open all year when not blocked by snow. From
Canyon Point Campground, go east 4.5 miles on AZ 260, turn right 2.5
miles on Forest Road 300, then turn left three miles on Forest Road
86 to Black Canyon Lake.
|Bear Canyon Lake
Arctic Grayling, Brookies, Cutthroat, Rainbow
|To get to
Bear Canyon Lake take Hwy 260 just past MP291 to FR300. The lake is a primitive
area and barely touched by civilization. The lake has a
population of Rainbow trout catchable by artificial lures only. The
Elevation is around 7,600'.
|Chevelon Lake is one of
the few wilderness lakes in Arizona. It is located approximately 60
miles from Payson in the Apache- Sitgreaves National Forest at an
elevation of 6400 feet. It is fairly hard to reach, as there are
only two walk-in access points that require about a one mile hike
down to the lake. It offers 6 miles of accessible shoreline for the
shore fisherman. Fishing by a float tube is your best bet as hauling
a small boat or canoe down the steep access trail can be quite
difficult. Anglers fishing this lake are restricted to the use of
artificial lures and flies only. Fishing here is best suited for the
experienced angler. This location is very remote with no developed
campsites and there are no trash receptacles at this lake. PACK IT
IN ~ PACK IT OUT. To arrive at Chevelon Canyon Lake, Take Highway
260 approximately 30 miles east of Payson to FR300. Follow FR 300
for about 10 miles to FR 169. Travel on FR 169 for 21 miles to FR
|This secluded forest
lake attracts visitors for a number of reasons. Surrounded by
ponderosa pines, with a picturesque island in its middle, Knoll Lake
provides a scenic setting in which to enjoy your canoe or other
small boat. Fishing is good here too, offering rainbow, brown and
If the fish aren't biting, you'll
definitely want to take a tour of the nearby Mogollon Rim. This two
thousand foot escarpment marks the southern edge of the Colorado
Plateau and drops from cool highlands to low deserts in a
picturesque, stomach wrenching plunge.
|This narrow, winding
body of water looks more like a canyon-bound river than a lake.
Nestled between forested canyon walls it provides picturesque water
recreation in a secluded, wooded setting.
If fishing is your cup of tea, you
can catch rainbow, brown or brook trout here. All are stocked by the
Arizona Game and Fish Department. If your taste runs to other types
of recreation, the sightseeing, wildlife watching, hiking, and
mountain biking here in the canyon-carved uplands of the Mogollon
Plateau will make you glad you chose to visit this out of the way
CREEK (36kb PDF) - Tonto
Creek has several access points. The creek flows though the Payson
Ranger District. The season of use is from April through
CREEK (38kb PDF) - The
Horton Day-Use Site & Upper Tonto Creek Campground is located 17
miles east of Payson north of State Highway 260. The season of use
is from April through September.
CREEK (38kb PDF) - Haigler
Creek has several access points. The creek flows though the
Pleasant Valley Ranger District.
CREEK (40kb PDF) -
Christopher Creek has two access points. The creek flows
though the Payson Ranger District. The season of use is from April
VERDE RIVER (38kb
PDF) - The East Verde River has several access points.
Fishing is best in May & June prior to the water level dropping and
the warmer temperatures. Printable map
CREEK (39kb PDF) - Canyon
Creek is closed indefinitely due to safety reasons as a result of the
Sitgreaves National Forest
Point Campground -
This large, easily accessible campground has drinking water,
showers, a dump station, and some quad sites from mid-May to
late September; call 877/444-6777, www.reserveusa.com,
to reserve a site. Sites without hookups cost $14. Loop A
has electric hookups at $16. Naturalists offer walks,
children's programs, and evening presentations on summer
weekends. Sinkhole Trail begins from Loop B and leads to a
sinkhole, one mile roundtrip. Canyon Point Campground lies
just off AZ 260, five miles east of the Forest Road 300 (Rim
- Chevelon Crossing - This small campground
overlooks Chevelon Creek many miles downstream from Woods
Canyon Lake. The sites remain open most of the year (elev.
6,200 feet) with no water or fee. Parking is tight and small
vehicles will fit best. Try fishing in the large pools
upstream, which harbor rainbow trout. Three routes lead to
this remote campground. Forest Road 504 is the usual way in;
turn off AZ 260 one mile west of Heber. You could also take
AZ 99 south from Winslow and turn left on Forest Road 504,
or take Forest Road 169 north from Forest Road 300 (the Rim
Road; closed in winter) west of Woods Canyon Lake.
- Chevelon Canyon Lake - This long, skinny
reservoir lies 12 miles upstream from Chevelon Crossing via
Forest Roads 169 and 169B. See the Apache-Sitgreaves Forest
map for other ways of getting here. The lake offers trophy
fishing for rainbow and brown trout; anglers must use
artificial lures and observe size and catch limits. With 208
surface acres, this is one of the larger lakes on the
Mogollon Rim. There's a primitive campground (elev. 6,400
feet, no water or fee) near the north shore.
- Bear Canyon Lake - Anglers enjoy fishing
with artificial lures or bait on this trout lake. The shore
is steep and tree-covered, so it's easier to use boats for
fishing, though you'll have to lug them to the water.
There's a campground (no water or fee) near the north end.
From Woods Canyon Lake, travel west 10 miles on Forest Road
300 (the Rim Road), then turn north and drive 2.5 miles on
Forest Road 89.
Ridge and Rock Crossing Campgrounds
Woods Canyon Lake - This
popular lake was one of the first of seven created on the
rim. Camp at either Aspen Campground ($12) or Spillway
Campground ($14) near the lakeshore; both have drinking
water and a season of about May to mid-September. Call
to reserve a site. A store that stays open into autumn has
groceries, boat rentals, and motors (only electrics are
permitted here). On summer weekends, staff lead walks and
offer evening programs. Rocky Point Picnic Area on the south
side of the lake is open for day use only, $5. Woods Canyon
Nature Trail makes a half-mile loop here. From AZ 260, near
the edge of the Mogollon Rim, turn northwest five miles on
paved Forest Roads 300 and 105.
District Camp Sites
- Ponderosa Campground - 15 miles from Payson on the
right. Developed campground. Dump station (fee charged).
Nature Trail which is open to non campers. Group campground
on left side of Highway 87 requires reservations.
- Upper Tonto Creek Campground - 17 miles from Payson
and turn left. The campground is approx. 1 mile on the
right. Developed campground. Access to hiking trails and
both Horton and Tonto Creek fishing and water fun.
- Lower Tonto Creek Campground - 17 miles from Payson
and turn left. Developed campground. Open year round, but no
services after Labor Day. Fishing and water fun.
- Christopher Creek Campground - 21 miles from Payson
on the right. Full service campground. Fishing and wading in
Christopher Creek which runs through the middle of the
|Black Canyon .
. . Journey Through Time Auto Tour
||Self guided auto tour through
prehistoric and historic sites along a 15.3-mile length of Forest Road 86
southwest of Heber. Pick up a phamphlet at Black Mesa Ranger
Station, 2748 Hwy. 260, 928/535-4481, two miles east of Heber on the south
side of the highway between Mileposts 307 and 308 or at the Rim Visitor
||Highway 260 between the top of
the Mogollon Rim near Woods Canyon lake turnoff and Heber features an
extensive stand of ponderosa pine and tremendous change in temperature
compared to the Phoenix area. People flock to this area to get cool in the
summer and to play in the snow in the winter
Canyon Lake Loop
||The Woods Canyon Lake loop is
58 miles long but its also long on scenic beauty, especially the vista
opportunities. From Woods Canyon Lake take Forest Road 300 13 miles to
Forest Road 115 and proceed to Ohaco Lookout, where you'll take Forest
Road 56 ; take Forest Road 56 to its junction with Forest Road 225 and
proceed on Forest Road 225 to its junction with Forest Road 34; take
Forest Road 34 to the junction with Forest Road 100 where you'll turn
left; proceed on Forest Road 100 until it joins Forest Road 169, where
you'll turn right; take Forest Road 169 until it joins Forest Road 300;
turn left on Forest Road 300 and take it back to your starting point at
Woods Canyon Lake.
Road/General Crook Trail Loop
||From Forest Lakes Drive west
on Hwy 260 to the Woods Canyon turnoff. Turn right on to
FR300. Continue on FR 300 past Woods Canyon Lake, past FR321 for 17
miles to Hwy 87, where you'll turn right. Follow Hwy 87 for 18
miles, past Clints Well, to FR 95. Follow FR95, FR96 to FR321 for a
total of 19 miles to FR300 and return to Forest Lakes.
Road—Forest Road 300
||This scenic road follows the
Mogollon Rim between AZ 260 and AZ 87 for 51 miles. Most of it is dirt,
passable by cautiously driven cars. Allow three to four hours one way.
Slow speeds are necessary because of hazardous washboard sections.
Attractions include rim views, pretty forest scenes, wildlife sightings,
and effects of the Dude Fire. The eastern section lies within the Rim Lake
Recreation Area, where one must use designated campsites. Dispersed
camping is allowed along the western part of the drive, which is in the
Coconino National Forest.
THE DESERT TO THE TALL PINES" Scenic Byway
(State Route 288 - Young Highway)
|The route generally has been
in place for a century and remains the primary access to this part of
central Arizona. The community of Young relies upon the route for
conducting its daily business. It is the principal means of entry for
visitors seeking to escape the urban environment, and to enjoy
breathtaking scenery, unique natural features, and interesting history.
|Dude Fire Area
||15.2 miles and left on Control
Road 64. Follow the Control Road to junction with Forest Road 29 (about
4.2 miles). Keep to the let when you come to the Tonto Village turnoff.
Turn right on Forest Road 29. Forest Road 29 is a narrow dirt road
and is not suited for low clearance vehicles past point 10. Self
guided Auto Tour brochures are available at the Payson Ranger Station.
||10 miles west on Hwy 260. Turn
left. Scenic drive to rental cabins and great for viewing wildlife such as
deer and elk at sun up or sunset
|Remote and off the tourist track,
Young is one of Arizona's last cow towns. To get here you must drive largely
unpaved roads. From the Mogollon Rim in the north, take AZ 260 to near
Milepost 284, about 33 miles east of Payson, then turn south 24 miles on
Forest Road 512; the first 20 miles are dirt road. From the south near
Roosevelt Lake, take AZ 88 from Roosevelt or Globe to the junction with AZ
288, then turn north 47 miles; the last 34 miles are dirt. The roads to Young
are best avoided after winter snows or heavy rains.
Chevelon Canyon to Chevelon Crossing
||Four wheel drive to Weimer
Point. Take FR99 north from Hwy 260. Go left onto FR170.
Make another left at FR90, at .5 miles take the right fork, at 2.5 miles take
the left. You'll pass through the eastern portion of the Slim Fire from
1987. After taking in the views backtrack back to FR170 and proceed
north. Turn west (left) on FR504 and head toward Chevelon
Crossing. You'll pass a small campground with ramadas. Then you'll
turn left onto FR169 which will eventually link up with FR300 which you'll
take back to Hwy 260.
Lakes Touring Center
||Forest Lakes Touring Center features great cross country skiing atop the Mogollon Rim. The Center maintains 28 kilometers of trails all within a three-hour drive from Phoenix. The Center offers introductory lessons and a ski school for children ages 4-12. For reservations, road conditions, equipment or cabin rentals call 928-535-4047.
||Snowmobiling is a popular
winter attraction on the forest roads around Forest Lakes.
Springs Trailhead and Snowplay Area
||A large parking area, just 0.1
mile in from AZ 260 on Forest Road 300, provides access to General Crook
Trail 611, Rim Lakes Vista Trail, and the 235 Road Bike Trail. In winter,
it's plowed so visitors can enjoy the snow (no sleds or tubing).
|The Arizona Mushroom Club is an organization of people with an interest in collecting wild mushrooms for food and for those wanting to learn to recognize edible mushrooms from poisonous ones. The Club is also a good excuse for persons who simply want to be outdoors and who desire to learn more about nature and mushrooms in particular. The club consists of numerous individuals who live throughout the state of Arizona.
Things to Do
- Camper's Country Corner (Horses
available summer only) 1-928-535-4716
- Kohl's Ranch 1-800-331-KOHL
||There are several
day use areas at the local lakes (Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake,
Black Canyon Lake, Bear Canyon Lake and Knoll Lake). You can also
find picnic tables behind the Forest Service Visitor Information
Services, and at the nearby developed campgrounds!
||Gentry Lookout is
on FR300 about 5 miles off Hwy 260 (just past MP291). Gentry Lookout is open to the public during the summer unless posted otherwise.
Nearby are the Scott, Scott and Wilson gravesites, were three
suspected horse thieves are buried. The trail begins just past Black
Canyon Rim Campground at the oak trailhead sign on the north side of the
road. Read more about the men buried here in stories about the
Pleasant Valley War.
General Springs Cabin, the Battle of Big
Dry Wash Monument and the Tunnel to Nowhere
||To visit General Springs Cabin,
one of three surviving Forest service structures which once fed fire and other
information into the Long Valley Ranger Station, take FR300 north from Hwy
260. Follow FR300 to the sign for the monument and the Tunnel
Trailhead. The cabin is .5 north of FR300, the Tunnel Trailhead is just
south of the monument.
Meadows Country Club - The club offers tennis and golf on a splendid 9 hole golf course. The clubhouse is built of log with a pro shop, locker rooms, lounge
and dining room.
- Payson Golf Course - 1504 W
Country Club Dr., Payson AZ 85541, 928-474-2273
- The Rim Golf Club - Payson AZ 85541, 928-472-6840
||Sawmill Theatres - 201 W Main St Payson AZ 85541.5330 928.468.7535
Rim Visitors Center
||The Visitor Center
has a handy location right on the rim
at Al Fulton Point, opposite the Forest Road 300 turnoff from AZ 260; it's
open daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day with an
information desk, a few exhibits, and map sales. Step out on the back
porch for a great panorama from the rim across wooded ridges extending all
the way to Four Peaks near Phoenix.
Short hike from there leads you to Al
range from 6,435 feet in Heber to 6,620 feet in Overgaard. These
small towns stretch out along AZ 260. Both have cafes, stores, and a few
RV parks. During the period of
1876 through 1877, the Mormon migration was taking place. Many groups
headed to the Little Colorado River area. One group built their community
along the river’s banks. This proved to be disastrous. They found that
the Little Colorado River was too difficult to control.
Eventually, they had to move. James E.
Shelley and Sanford Porter Jr. discovered the area that is now Heber in
1883. This new location had a steady water source, which would make life
much easier. The town was named after Heber C. Kimball. Kimball was
a chief justice of the state of Deseret, which eventually became Utah. He
was also a leader in the Mormon Church. Heber’s first post office
was established in 1890. Visit
this site for more history of the area.
Museum of America
||A large collection
of art and memorabilia celebrates this magnificent animal. Inside you'll
see an amazing variety of many examples of pop art, paintings, and
sculpture that depict the buffalo. The museum, formerly in Scottsdale, is
now just east of Overgaard at 2269 Hwy. 260, 928/535-4141. It's open in
summer Sun.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; call for
winter hours. Admission runs $5 adult, $3 age 8-17. Look for it in a group
of large western-style buildings of the Bison Ranch development on the
south side of the highway near Overgaard. Bison Ranch, 928/535-6990, also
has trail and carriage rides, dining, shopping, and cabin rentals; www.bisonranch.net.
||18 miles west on
Hwy 260 on the left. Cabins, rooms, campground and restaurant. Horse
rental and jeep rides for guests and non-guests
of Christopher Creek
East on Hwy 260. Cabins, RV park, restaurants, crafts. Christopher
Creek is a small artisan community at the base of The Rim between Kohl's
Ranch and Forest Lakes. Christopher Creek offers quiet enjoyment, rich
artistic talent and green vibrant scenery.
Creek Picnic Area
||19 miles west on
Hwy 260 and turn right. Picnic area is on left just past the Lower Tonto
and sometimes Apache trout grow up at this hatchery just below the
Mogollon Rim. Visitors can take the interpretive walk, learn about the
life history of trout, peer into the incubator and production rooms, and
view fingerlings and catchable trout in outdoor raceways. Open daily 8
a.m.-4 p.m.; 928/478-4200. From Payson, head east 17 miles on AZ 260 to
Kohl's Ranch Lodge, then turn north four miles on Forest Road 289 at the
||Antique Shops - Located along Main Street, Beeline Highway (SR#87) and on Highway 260
Mazatzal Casino - 1/2 mile south of Payson on the Beeline Hwy at the Tonto Apache Indian Reservation. Slots, Video Keno and Video Poker
Payson Golf Course - 2 miles west on old Main Street
Rim Country Museum - Visiting and permanent exhibits take you back
to the days of the earliest peoples of the region, then to the Apache
conflicts, timber and mining operations, agriculture, and pioneer
entertainment. A blacksmith shop and a 1908 kitchen portray aspects of
life in early Payson. The display on Zane Grey, who produced 131 novels,
has some of his books and personal belongings. Open Wed.-Sun. noon-4 p.m.;
admission runs $3 adults, $2.50 seniors, and $2 students 12-17;
928/474-3483. Picnic tables are outside; the adjacent Green Valley Park
has a playground and lake (electric motors okay). From AZ 87, turn west
one mile on Main St. (at the chamber of commerce), right on Green Valley
Parkway, then the next left into the parking lot.
Rumsey Park - North on Beeline Hwy ad left at Hwy 260 on Longhorn Rd to McLane (1st stop sign). Turn right on McLane to Park entrance approximately 1/2 mile. Picnic tables, playground, tennis courts and outdoor public pool.
Swiss Village Shops - 1.9 miles north on Beeline Hwy on left. A unique collection of gift shops and craft stores.
Zane Grey Museum - The
prolific novelist Zane Grey led a colorful and adventurous life, well told
by the museum's displays. A 28-minute video recounts the story of his
career and family. Photos illustrate his interest in baseball, which got
him through college on a scholarship, Arizona travels, and fishing trips.
Open daily in summer 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (check winter hours); $2 adults, $1
students; 928/474-6243. It's at 503 W. Main St. between the chamber office
and the Rim Country Museum.
||6 miles from
Payson on the right at Lions Springs Road. About 60 animals, many trained
"movie stars". Open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM weather
Natural Bridge State Park
||10 miles north of
Payson, left 3 miles down into canyon. The largest travertine bridge in
North America with 4 viewpoints and trails down to the creed. The entire
park has been improved (1995) with new paved roads and better walking
paths. Picnic tables, hiking, bird watching, gift shop. Fee is $5.00 per
vehicle. Additional fee for large groups. This is Arizona's newest state
||Up state route 87
North of Payson where it crosses the Verder river, FR 622 heads south to
East Verde park. A favorite picnic spot.
Indian Ruins Archaeological Site
interpretive trail winds through scant ruins of this prehistoric
settlement northeast of town. Occupied 1000-1250, it had a stone wall
encircling courtyards, plazas, and about 80 rooms. Part of the trail has
been paved for easy access. A pleasant picnic area and a trailhead for
Horse Camp Loop lie nearby. From AZ 87 on the north edge of Payson, turn
northeast three miles on Houston Mesa Road (keep right at the fork about
two miles in), then turn right at the sign to a parking area. After
turning onto Houston Mesa Road, you'll pass Houston Mesa Campground and
Horsecamp in 0.2 mile, then Houston Mesa Trailhead one mile in from AZ 87.
community lies 15 miles north of Payson. Pine - Strawberry Museum has good
pioneer exhibits in a former LDS church (1917) beside the Community
Center; open Sun. 1-4 p.m. and Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. from May 15 to
Oct. 15, then Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. the rest of the year.
||This tiny village
sits just below the Mogollon Rim, 19 miles north of Payson. Wild
strawberries used to grow here but nowadays they're hard to find. Turn
west 1.5 miles on Fossil Springs Road at Strawberry Lodge to see Arizona's
oldest schoolhouse. Pioneers built the one-room log structure in 1885. You
can view the restored interior and photos of pioneers. Open summer
weekends and holidays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., other times by appointment; ask at
Revised: 09 Apr 2005