The Great Outdoors

graphicThe Mogollon (Muggy-own) Rim, formed 600 million years ago, is a 7,500-ft. high, 200-mile long national forest that is home to Rocky Mountain elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, fox, coyote and 239 bird species including hummingbirds, eagles, hawks and ravens. Cool, whispering pines provide a reprieve from desert heat in the summer. Robust colors decorate foliage in autumn. A winter Rim blanketed in snow provides a sparkling holiday backdrop for spectacular cross-country skiing.

This magnificent land, larger than many nations, is a haven for campers, hi-kers, joggers and trekkers. It is equally appealing to fishermen, hunters, golfers, and tennis players. Forest Service campgrounds in the Mogollon Rim area are plentiful, and open camping is allowed in many areas of the forest. Almost all Rim Country campgrounds are first come, first served.

The Rim Country has hundreds of miles of unpaved roads for off-road adventures. A 42-mile stretch of the old Rim Road between Arizona 87 near Strawberry and Arizona 260 near Forest Lakes is one of the most scenic in the state. In addition, there are thousands of miles of trails for hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, including several that are accessible from the Pine Trailhead at the southern edge of Pine. Many trails in the area date back to the 1800’s when they linked early homesteads and ranches. With countless trout streams and creeks plus the seven Rim lakes, fishing is a rewarding pastime in Rim Country. The Arizona Game and Fish Department operates two large hatcheries nearby. Hunters find the Rim Country full of game in season. Quail, duck, elk, deer, javelina, big horn sheep, turkey, antelope, bear and mountain lion hunting are all permitted.

The Rim Country is a mineralogists dream - chert, quartz, and gem-quality geodes are plentiful, and just about any prospector or rock shop can put you onto a scatter of handsome red jasper or agate.graphic

Most visitors also see the Tonto Natural Bridge on Arizona 87 between Payson and Pine. The largest travertine bridge in the world is 183-feet high with a tunnel width of 159 feet and length of 400 feet. Now a state park, the bridge is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer (May to September) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter(October to April). Entrance fee is $5 per vehicle up to four adults.

Payson’s 45-acre Green Valley Park features three lakes that utilize reclaimed water to replenish the ground water supply. Sailboats are a common site on the lakes, which also support a put-and-take rainbow trout fishery. Excellent exercise sidewalks and a child-friendly playground await visitors of all ages. Picn



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