Visit the Mogollon Rim, near Payson, AZ, for scenic views and outdoor recreation including hiking, horseback riding, rock-climbing, hunting, fishing, and boating.
Do you want to see some of the most far reaching scenery in Arizona? Stand atop a 2,000-foot drop of the Mogollon Rim and get ready to take in some truly amazing views spanning from pines to desert.
History & Nature
Stretching 200 miles from Yavapai County to New Mexico, the Mogollon Rim provides breathtaking views overlooking an expansive forest of pine trees. The rim is a true geological wonder hosting sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rock dating back to the Precambrian era. The central section of the rim are characterized by high cliffs of limestone and sandstone, where erosion cut dramatic canyons such as Fossil Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon. The areas surrounding the central escarpment average between 4,000-5,000 feet in elevation, with some areas rising to over 8,000 feet. Dramatic white cliffs outline the edges of the forest with sheer dropouts to the valleys below, sometimes several hundred feet high.
Things To Do
Enjoy a leisurely picnic or trek along the historic hiking and horseback riding trails – but there is more to see. Choose between biking, horseback riding, rock-climbing, hunting, fishing, boating, bird-watching, and stargazing.
The variety of lakes, streams, and creeks provide excellent fishing opportunities for anglers. For trout, Black Canyon Lake, Chevelon Canyon Lake and Bear Canyon Lake are a few locations that offer exceptional fishing throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. However, trout are not the only game fish swimming in the waters of Rim County. Knowledgeable bass anglers will find some great bass fishing at Willow Springs Lake and Fool Hollow Lake.
The Woods Canyon Lake Recreation Area is a popular destination for overnight campers as well as those looking to experience the area for the day, due to the quick access off Forest Road 300. The store and marina offer a variety of boat rentals, bait and fishing licenses, as well as refreshments after a day on the lake.
Numerous hiking trails are available for every skill level. Rim Lake Vista Trail, located just west of State Highway 260, is a short paved trail that meanders along the forest with unique rock formations to see along the way and continuous views overlooking the rims. Two Arizona National Scenic Trail sections, passages 26 and 27, can be accessed at various trailheads and forest roads located throughout the Mogollon Rim. Consider exploring on a day hike, horseback ride, or on mountain bike. Kinder Crossing Trail offers picturesque access to East Clear Creek, where fishing and wading in the tranquil waters ignite the soul.
Hotels, Lodging & Camping
With more than ten lakes brimming with trout, cast a line from any bank and pull in a beautiful fish to enjoy over a campfire. The Mogollon Rim provides camping and cabin options surrounding the various lakes and nestled within the pines.
For a dispersed camping experience, plenty of rim-side campsites exist along Forest Road 300, a 43-mile (one-way) dirt road that can be accessed from the east, near Woods Canyon Lake, or from the west, just north of Pine. Free of charge, these dispersed campsites come with resort-worthy views surrounded by a thick pine forest. Since there are no on-site amenities, make sure to bring all your supplies or plan to make a stop at the Woods Canyon Lake Store and Marina for any last-minute needs.
Many of the rim lakes provide campgrounds with basic amenities, such as bathrooms, fire rings, and grills. Campers can select from one of the four developed campgrounds near Woods Canyon Lake. One of the most, Aspen Campground, which has 136 campsites located adjacent to the water, all reservable on Recreation.gov.
For those looking to escape the crowds and get off the beaten path, Chevelon Canyon Lake Campground is available on a first come first serve basis with limited services. Guests are required to pack out all their trash and belongings at the conclusion of their visit.
Payson, Pine-Strawberry, Heber-Overgaard, and Pinetop-Lakeside are all great basecamp options to explore various sections of the rim.
Hours & Pricing
For hours and pricing, please visit the website.
For More Information
Mogollon Rim Ranger Station
8738 Ranger Road
Happy Jack, AZ 86024
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