The "Rim Country" of Central Arizona, a place for all seasons, is just one hour's drive north of Phoenix via Highway 87. Nestled in the gently rolling foothills of the majestic Mogollon Rim with mountains of pine forests, meadows and shaded lakes and streams, the area attracts vacationers to its picturesque natural beauty. Currently listed in the TOP 10 places to retire in the United States, "Rim Country" offers a country setting within easy reach of the metropolitan area. "The Rim" is known for having the world's largest forest of Ponderosa Pines that helps provide some of the purest air in the world.
The "Rim Country's" name is derived from the spectacular geological formation known as the Mogollon Rim (pronounced mo-gee-yawn). The Mogollon Rim is a massive 2,000-foot escarpment rising to a height of more than 7,000 feet just a few miles north of Payson. The Rim separates Arizona's northern plateau area from the lower deserts of the state's central and southern regions and extends for 200 miles, from southeast to northwest. With acres of forests, lakes, streams, campgrounds, trails, cabins and homes, "Rim Country" offers something for almost everyone including wildlife and cool alpine activities.
The "Rim Country" communities of Payson, Pine, Strawberry, Star Valley, Kohl's Ranch, Happy Jack and Christopher Creek are completely surrounded by National Forest. These picturesque mountain towns and villages exist in a unique temperate zone allowing for all four seasons. Whether you're looking for a summer vacation home, a cozy mountain cabin or a ranch or horse property, the area has it all.
The beautiful pine-dominated country around Pine and Strawberry and the Blue Ridge Reservoir, Bear Canyon Lake and Knoll Lake offer many recreational opportunities and facilities. Forest service campgrounds in the 7,000-foot Mogollon Rim area are plentiful. Fisherman enjoy abundant trout streams. Hunting of elk, deer, turkey, antelope, bear and mountain lions is permitted. Scenic drives in the area abound. Two prime examples include Control Road that winds along the base of the Mogollon Rim, and Mogollon Rim Road, part of the historical General Crook Military Road, which follows along the edge of the rim.
The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park and Tonto National Forsest are two of the most popular attractions. At 183-feet high, 150-feet wide and 400-feet long, Tonto Natural Bridge is the world's largest known natural travertine bridge. In 1877, prospector David Gowan found the bridge while evading Apaches. Gowan later persuaded his family to leave Scotland and settle in the area, and his descendants eventually opened this natural wonder to the public. One of the most visited national forests in the nation, Tonto National Forest covers 2.9 million acres and is one of central Arizona's premier outdoor recreation destinations. Elevations range from 1,300 feet to nearly 8,000 feet and more than 860 miles of hiking trails are available. Six reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers serve as watersheds and wildlife habitats while offering prime spots for tubing, rafting, fishing, and other water recreation. Picnic areas and five developed campgrounds are maintained in the forest, where the recreation season generally runs from early May to mid October.
The Rim Country Museum, located in scenic Green Valley Park, preserves the natural and cultural history of the region. Exhibits feature ancient peoples of the area, the Tonto Apache as well as the cavalry and pioneer periods. For those seeking additional excitement, the Tonto Apache Indian Tribe operates a 35,000-square-foot casino. Live-action games include poker, keno, bingo and slots. Video keno and video poker are available as well.
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