If you mention the 'rim' in Arizona everyone's head goes straight to the Grand Canyon, but there happens to be another spectacular rim in the state.
The Mogollon Rim is a monster, extending 200 miles across Arizona. It actually doesn't feel like it goes for that long when you're up there, but the escarpment that drops off the rim road sure feels large and in charge, falling a sheer 2,000ft. At the base of the rim is one of the largest stands of ponderosa pine in the world, framed by the Superstition Mountains in the distance. The sea of green seems to extend forever.
We drove to the end of the rim road in hopes of camping at Knoll Lake, but the campground was closed so we pulled out on a forest road to set up camp and cook dinner. Once the sun went down, so did the temperature. While Phoenix was experiencing a high of mid 80s, it was about to dip below freezing on the rim! Arizona never seizes to amaze me in its diversity.
There is a massive network of "trails" up on the rim. I used quotes because technically they are dirt roads used by the forest service. Nice and tame for those who like a wide path. I was happy to be up in the pines, regardless. Lots of exploring was done on two wheels.
We passed through Payson on our way back to Phoenix and couldn't resist the burrito shack off the main road. Alfonso's is worth raving about, even after eating canned beans all weekend I questioned our decision to eat here, but the meal was a big hit. I'm still dreaming about their soft, floury tortillas.
Mogollon Rim, AZ
Access from the Rim Road (Forest Road 300). Approximately 2 hours from Phoenix.
Recommended campgrounds: Knoll Lake (End point, secluded) or Kehl Spring (at the beginning of the rim road).
Recommended trail: Cabin Loop.
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.