Favorite hiking trails on Arizona’s Mogollon Rim

The same elevation changes crowded into a small space that make Payson so diverse when it comes to scenery, plants and animals, also provide some of the most scenic and interesting hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in Arizona. For starters, the area boasts hundreds of miles of trails through the national forests, along streams, lakes and ridgelines.

But that’s not all: Payson also has developed one of the most extensive networks of hiking and biking trails in the state — which pass through town and connect to the wealth of Forest Service trails just outside of town. Day-trippers can amble for some 3.8 miles along an easy trail that hugs the banks of Horton Creek, or set off for a 50-mile adventure along the Highline Trail.

Photographers and scenery junkies can stroll along a trail that hugs the edge of the Mogollon Rim, with its spectacular sunsets and a chance to watch the clouds roll across a forested landscape 1,500 feet below. Some strenuous trails crawl up through canyons that top out on the Rim. Others follow streams, like the East Verde, Tonto Creek and Horton Creek.

Closer to town — usually right out the front door of the hotel — Payson is also developing the Payson Area Trails System. So far, the town has completed 30 miles of the 50-mile system, which lead through town and out into the forest. Those town trails include the Boulders, Houston and Monument Peak loop trails.

Here is a sampling of the trails in the Arizona Rim Country…


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