Mogollon Rim

Arizona’s ultimate outdoor playground features dense pine forests and cool mountain lakes.

The Mogollon Rim cuts 200 miles across northeastern Arizona from the outskirts of Flagstaff all the way to the border with New Mexico. The rim marks the transition point where the Colorado Plateau drops down to a natural wonderland that includes the White Mountains before transitioning again to the Sonoran Desert landscapes of central and southern Arizona. High elevations are popular cool-off zones for desert dwellers during the summer, and four seasons appeal to leaf peepers and skiers in the cooler months.

Scenic Drives

For visitors traveling from the Phoenix area, Highway 87 is the main artery northeast to mountain adventures along the Mogollon Rim. From the gateway community of Payson, visitors wind along Highway 260 to soak in the beauty of dense pine forests. Follow the top edge of the rim on Forest Road 300, also known as Rim Road, a 45-mile stretch of dirt road between highways 260 and 87. Some areas of the rim feature sheer drop-offs where 2,000-foot limestone cliffs form magnificent canyons below. Along the way, visitors explore hiking trails with vast views, including two sections of the Arizona Trail. While in the area, visit some of Arizona’s most eye-catching natural attractions. Tonto Natural Bridge is just 10 miles north of Payson and Fossil Creek near Camp Verde offers a remote watery playground.

Lake Life

Popular Payson-area lakes attract peak visitation during the summer months, when desert visitors head to cool elevations above 7,000 feet. Woods Canyon Lake sits on top of the rim and features a scenic hiking and mountain biking loop trail, Rim Lake Vista Trail, accessed off Forest Road 300. Bear Canyon Lake is another popular destination along Rim Road, and Willow Springs Lake can be accessed east of Payson via Highway 260. Most forest service roads leading to Payson-area lakes are closed in the winter and open after the snow melts and roads firm up in spring. Continue east on 260 to Show Low to find Fool Hollow Lake, a year-round destination for outdoor recreation.

Rim Communities

Arizona’s mountain communities feature year-round recreation, friendly locals and cool temperatures. Elevations along the Mogollon Rim reach up to 8,000 feet, with most Mogollon Rim communities at least a mile high. The mountain towns of Pine-Strawberry, Payson, Heber-Overgaard, Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside see the most visitor activity along the Mogollon Rim. Arizona’s charming mountain communities offer a mix of hotels and vacation rentals, and the area’s many lakes offer a spectrum of campsites and cabins from primitive to full-service.

For More Information

Mogollon Rim Ranger Station
8738 Ranger Road
Happy Jack, AZ 86024
(928) 477-2255

Visit Destination Website

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From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.