As the heat of summer returns to the Valley of the Sun, many of us are beginning to look for a cooler place to escape the hot summer temperatures. Lucky for us the Mogollon Rim is only a short drive away and is always a guarantee of cooler weather and more rainfall.
Here are five Rim Country communities that offer cooler weather and great recreational activities for all the family.
Williams, Arizona – only a 2 ½-hour drive from the Valley, this Rim Country town is the southern Gateway to all the attractions of the Grand Canyon.
Where to stay: The Lodge on Route 66 is our favorite and is within walking distance of all the downtown attractions.
What to do: Drive the 54 miles to the Grand Canyon being sure to stop and enjoy the Planes of Fame Air Museum as well as Bedrock City along the way. Or, ride “The Train” to the magnificent views of the national park. Visit Bearizona or hike to the top of Bill Williams Mountain. Enjoy all the shops found in downtown Williams along Historic Route 66.
Helpful links: http://experiencewilliams.com/; http://www.thelodgeonroute66.com/; http://www.thetrain.com/the-train/; http://planesoffame.org/index.php?page=valle-az-location; http://bearizona.com/
Payson/Pine/Strawberry – only a short 60 -minute drive from the far East Valley, these three Rim Country towns offer limitless recreational activities.
Where to stay: We enjoy the Up the Creek Bed and Breakfast in Strawberry but many hotels, unique B&Bs and charming cabins are available.
What to do: You can hike, mountain bike or horseback ride for over 800 miles on the trails of the Tonto National Forest. The swimming holes of the East Verde River and Fossil Creek are really popular during the summer months. Visit the Rim Country Museum, home to Zane Grey’s Mogollon Rim cabin. Enjoy the beauty of the fern grotto at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.
Helpful links: http://paysonrimcountry.com/; http://upthecreekbedandbreakfast.com/; http://azstateparks.com/parks/tona/; http://rimcountrymuseums.com/
Kohl’s Ranch Lodge/Tonto & Christopher Creeks Area – The historic Kohl’s Ranch Lodge along Tonto Creek is only 20 miles east of Payson.
Where to stay: We suggest the Kohl’s Ranch Lodge but this is also great camping country along Christopher Creek, Bear Flats or Woods Canyon Lake. When you camp out in this part of Arizona, you see the brilliance of the nighttime sky undisturbed by city lights.
What to do: fish for trout or simply hike along the banks of these refreshing mountains creeks; search for fossils at the Kohl’s Ranch Naco Paleo Site; visit the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery; relax and read that long delayed book while listening to the wind in the pines and the “babbling of the brooks”; enjoy a few s’mores over a crackling, evening campfire.
Helpful links: https://www.diamondresorts.com/Kohls-Ranch-Lodge; http://www.parkgrades.com/parks/kohls-ranch-naco-paleo-site; http://www.arizona-leisure.com/christopher-creek.html
Bison Ranch Resort, Overgaard - The Bison Ridge Resort is found higher in Rim Country some 150 miles from the Valley and in the small town of Overgaard.
Where to stay: The WorldMark Bison Ranch Resort is a great family escape in Arizona’s Rim Country. Both cabins and condos are available to rent.
What to do: At the resort enjoy the catch and release fishing pond, tennis/basketball/sand volleyball courts, swimming, billards and fitness center. Resort is only 5 miles from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest with limitless fishing, hiking, biking, and ATV activities.
Helpful links: http://www.vrbo.com/366478; https://www.worldmarktheclub.com/resorts/bi/
Greer – even though it is almost 230 miles from Phoenix, there is no place to discover the cool Rim Country like the small community of Greer. At an elevation of 8,300 feet, even the July/August mornings in Greer are down right chilly.
Where to stay: We suggest the historic Molly Butler Lodge or rent a cabin through the Greer Cabin Keepers. The cabins of the X-Diamond Ranch located just off the mountain but right next to the Little Colorado River are special.
What to do: go fishing in the Little Colorado River or Big Lake, hike, bike, ATV or horseback the hundreds of miles of trails; discover the towns of Springerville-Eagar; photograph all the diverse wildlife found in Rim Country; visit the nearby Native American ruins of Kinishba, Little Bear or Casa Malpais; just get out and relax!
Helpful links: http://mollybutlerlodge.com/; http://www.xdiamondranch.com/; http://www.wmonline.com/cities/rv.htm; http://www.visitarizona.com/places-to-visit/northern-arizona/big-lake
|Bill Williams Statue, Williams, AZ|
|Up The Creek B&B, Strawberry, AZ|
|Fern Grotto, Tonto Bridge State Park|
|View off the Mogollon Rim|
|Woods Canyon Lake|
|Fishing in the Little Colorado River, X-Diamond Ranch|
|Kinishba Ruins, Whiteriver, AZ|