In the geographic center of Arizona lies the “Rim Country”, so named by the overwhelming presence of the Mogollon Rim. The Rim is an escarpment 7,000 feet plus that presents a dramatic drop of over 2000 feet to the communities below. It is covered in forest and grass land, and has been the home to Native Americans, cowboys, ranchers, farmers, hunters, fishermen, and nature lovers for centuries. It is a land of extreme beauty, natural endowments, and historical significance. 

Other towns may have woods, lakes, and mountains, but nobody else has the Mogollon Rim! Technically, it’s known as an escarpment, as opposed to a canyon. But, together the Mogollon Rim and the Grand Canyon constitute Arizona’s two most spectacular landforms. Formed 600 million years ago, the 200-mile long “Rim” was named after Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, governor of New Mexico in the early 1700’s, when the area, which then included Arizona, was under Spanish rule.

Because the Rim has been largely preserved as national forest, it remains the home to a large and diverse group of animals.  Over 239 species of  birds, including eagles, hawks, and ravens inhabit the forest as well as the Rocky Mountain elk, both mule and whitetail deer, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, fox, javelina, and coyote.  Despite the wondrous diversity of the creatures which we share Arizona Rim Country with, it is a land big enough to accommodate all styles of recreationalists.  

The beautiful pine country around Payson, Pine, Strawberry, Star Valley, and Christopher Creek, as well as numerous streams and lakes, offers many recreational opportunities and facilities.  Forest Service's campgrounds on and around the Rim are plentiful.  Fishermen enjoy the abundant trout streams. Elk, deer, turkey, javelina, antelope, bear, and mountain lion hunting is permitted.  Outdoor enthusiasts love Arizona Rim Country since it sits on the edge of the world’s largest stand of ponderosa pines. Rim Country is also lined with great hiking and mountain biking trails. The Payson Area Trails System is an internal linking set of trails surrounding Payson. There are also more challenging hikes surrounding Rim Country on all ends and offer something for everyone.

Local attractions include the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (the largest travertine bridge in the world),  Shoofly Indian Archaeological Site, Tonto Fish Hatchery, Fossil Creek Llama Ranch, the Rim Country Museum, Pine-Strawberry Museum, Fossil Creek Trail Head, the Strawberry Schoolhouse (oldest schoolhouse in Arizona), and the 45-acre Green Valley Park. Threestreams, stocked with trout, are within a twenty-five minute drive from Payson.  On top of the Mogollon Rim is a chain of trout lakes.  To the south of Payson is Roosevelt Lake, full of bass and crappie.

Scenic drives throughout Arizona Rim Country abound.  The Mogollon Rim Road (part of the historic General Crook Military Road) follows the edge of the breathtaking Mogollon Rim.  Beneath the rim is the Control Road where you will see evidence of a 24,000-acre fire evolving into one of the best stands of oak and native grasses in all of Arizona. For fall colors, you will be directed to areas showcasing crimson oaks, yellow aspens, dusty white sycamores, and riotous grape vines.  

From hikers to families with picnics, bird watchers to campers, trout fishing experts to kids with bobbers, and hearty backpackers to nature photographers…Arizona Rim Country has what you are looking for.  Come and be a guest in our backyard – and partake of what we enjoy each day! Welcome to Rim Country!



© 2020 - Town of Payson 
Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department
1000 W. Country Club Dr.

Payson, AZ 85541  |  928-472-5110

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