Centrally located in the “Heart of Arizona”, Payson offers travelers and explorers access to much more in Arizona. Payson not only offers challenging hiking trails, mountain recreation, and a rich western heritage but also offers those looking to “see it all” a central place with which to do it from. All of the destinations below are within 4 hours or less from Payson. 

1. Grand Canyon

A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  Seeing the Grand Canyon is an absolute must when visiting Arizona.

2. Sedona

Sedona's main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. Among the rock formations is one that closely resembles the character Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse as well as other formations like:  Coffeepot Rock, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Chimney Rock, Courthouse Butte, the Mittens, the Cow Pies, and the Rabbit Ears.

3. Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest National Park consists of two large areas connected by a north–south corridor. The northern area encompasses part of the multihued badlands of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation called the Painted Desert. The southern area includes colorful terrain and several concentrations of petrified wood. Several American Indian petroglyph sites are also found in the southern area. Near the south end of the park is Agate House, a Native American building of petrified wood, reconstructed during the 1930s.

4. Painted Desert

The desert comprises stratified layers of mineral and decayed organic matter. Many hardened dunes can be found. These hardened dunes are visually distinct due to the bands of grays, reds, oranges, and yellows which are then shaped by natural wind and rain patterns. The area is noted to be especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise when the land appears to glow in hues of violet, blue, red, and gold. Other key features include the many mesas and buttes that rise sharply from the desert floor. Sparse desert flora and fauna can also be found

5. Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1740 m (5709 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 210-240 m (700-800 ft) of rubble lying above crater bedrock. The crater was created about 50,000 years ago by a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second

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

Payson, AZ 85541  |  928-472-5110

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