• Phoenix, Arizona to the Mogollon Rim Loop

      249 miles. 7-8 hours

      Leave Phoenix and the desert behind as you ascend through rugged, rocky terrain up to Ponderosa forest and the small mountain towns of Payson, Pine and Strawberry beneath the Mogollon Rim—the drop off that marks the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Stop for a meal and a hike, then continue your loop to Camp Verde and return to Phoenix via Interstate 17.

      Here are a few highlights to look out for along the way:

      Phoenix: (Starting point)
      Begin your trip here.

      Payson: (Mile 90)
      You’ll find services here. Take time for a visit to the Zane Grey Cabin and adjoining Rim Country Museum. Turn left on Main Street. Admission.

      Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: (Mile 103)
      Open until at least September 27, 2010, stop for a hike at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park with the world’s largest travertine natural bridge. Picnic areas and hiking. Admission. 10 miles north of Payson off Highways 87/260.

      Pine: (Mile 110)
      Good place for lunch and a stop at antique shops. The Randall House serves sandwiches, salads and quiches; try HBs if you are in the mood for a hamburger. Shops are along Hwy 87 and Hardscrabble Road.

      : (Mile 114)
      The Strawberry Lodge in this tiny hamlet has excellent desserts. Good food too.

      Side trip to Montezuma Castle: (Mile 153)
      If you have time and energy, drive 5 miles to Montezuma Castle National Monument. Turn on Main Street as you enter Camp Verde. Learn about the Sinagua culture and see ancient cliff dwellings.

      Camp Verde: (Mile 155)
      Stop for a snack near the freeway entrance for food or coffee. Take Interstate 17 south for your return to Phoenix.

      View from under the Tonto Natural Bridge
      the world's largest travertine bridge

      Comments 2 Comments
      1. Gerald Thurman's Avatar
        Gerald Thurman -
        If you like visiting cemeteries, then you will probably like Pine Cemetery (established in 1881). Access to the cemetery is via Cemetery Road which is located on the southern edge of Pine east of AZ Highway-87.

        In Strawberry you can take a 3.5-mile round-trip detour on Fossil Creek Road to see the Strawberry School House (the oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona). Hours are limited. See http://www.pinestrawhs.org/schoolhouse.html
      1. Jaimie Bruzenak's Avatar
        Jaimie Bruzenak -
        My home base is about a block from the Pine Cemetery.

        The Strawberry Schoolhouse is a nice addition - if you can catch it open.