Wander through the Rim Country this fall and enjoy a quieter time of year, made dazzling with the golds, reds and bronzes of the changing season. Tom Brossart/Roundup
Arizona’s Rim Country is popular with Valley dwellers in the summer, but its autumn charms may be unfamiliar. Looking for a slower pace? Want to experience a real fall season and maybe some winter snow? Then join us in the Rim Country.
Enjoy Fall in Arizona's Rim Country
From the moment you arrive at the gateway to the Mogollon Rim, you’ll notice that Payson is maintaining its small-town charm while enjoying the amenities of urban life.
To the folks who call Rim Country home — from Tonto Basin in the south to Strawberry in the north — there is no better place on earth in which to live.
Located in the geographic center of Arizona and encircled by almost 3 million acres of forest, Payson is one of only three pure air ozone belts in the world.
Known for its beauty and year-round recreational opportunities, Payson is at an elevation of 5,000 feet — precisely the right altitude for people who love the scents and sounds of the forest.
There are innumerable recreational activities in the Rim Country, including a visit to the Tonto Natural Bridge, the Tonto National Monument, the Rim Country Museum, the Shoofly Ruins, and the Tonto Fish Hatchery. Take a hike, a horseback ride, see the back country from a four-wheeler, an ATV or the comfort of your own vehicle.
Take a stroll down Main Street and visit the galleries and antique shops. Stroll farther down and drop a line in one of the lakes at Green Valley Park, where the fish are always biting — the Arizona Game and Fish Department restocks the lakes with trout just about every two weeks.
Visit the park in the early morning or at dusk and get a look at all the birds that make their nesting and resting areas around the lake.
Later in the year, celebrate the holidays with Payson’s electric light parade and the lighting ceremony at the Swiss Village.
Travel up Highway 87 from Payson to Pine and Strawberry and enjoy the assorted shops and attractions in these cozy communities.
West of Strawberry, Fossil Creek and its extraordinary mineral deposits await.
Go east on Highway 260 to Kohl’s Ranch and its nearby creeks and the Tonto Fish Hatchery. The hatchery is playing an important role in the reintroduction of the area’s native Apache trout.
Visitors come here seeking the breathtaking views found along the Rim Road — the 42-mile trek that takes them from one side to the other along the edge of the Mogollon Rim.
Stop where you can and take in the grand views and then let your imagination do a little traveling. Geologic history and the tragic and bloody conflicts between the different peoples of the Rim can be visualized as you take in the sweeping vistas of rock and forest.
The Tonto National Forest hugs the crest of the Mogollon Rim and stretches 90 miles south over a spectacular 2.9 million acres of pine and cactus. And just over the top of the Rim, an enchanting chain of woodland lakes — Knoll, Bear Canyon, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs — beckon. And at this time of year, though the developed campgrounds at the lakes are closed, you can find a solitude and beauty that will take your breath away.
To the south, Roosevelt Lake is always a big draw, too. Its game fish include large- and small-mouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and crappie.
The countryside surrounding Roosevelt Lake is also both a wildlife area and refuge.
Go ahead. Treat yourself to these and any other local wonders mentioned in this handy guide to fall and winter fun in the Rim Country.
Bridging the Seasons
Since it is at a lower elevation than the surrounding Rim communities, the Tonto Natural Bridge generally enjoys a longer stretch of good hiking weather, so make plans this fall to visit this fabulous natural wonder.
Roundup Staff Reporter
This year’s winter in Rim Country is expected to be colder than last year’s, perhaps increasing the chances for cold weather visitors to gape at icicles dangling from what is touted as the largest travertine bridge in the world.
Tonto Natural Bridge Park Manager John Boeck said the National Weather Service and the Farmer’s Almanac predict this winter’s chill more infiltrating than the last, which could increase the amount of snow.
Though Boeck attested to the icicles’ beauty, he said that they often force park officials to close the area under the bridge.
“We just encourage people to call,” Boeck said.
Tonto Natural Bridge, measuring 183 feet high and spanning a 400-foot long tunnel that stretches 150 feet at its widest point, is believed to be the largest travertine bridge in the world.
Travertine bridges are created when travertine, a porous calcite, is deposited from ground or surface waters. At Tonto Natural Bridge, springs from limestone aquifers formed the travertine and, over thousands of years, the waters of Pine Creek eroded the travertine and created the bridge.
Prospector David Gowan is credited with discovering the natural phenomenon in 1877. He claimed squatter’s rights and various private parties owned it until Oct. 12, 1990 when Arizona State Parks bought it.
Boeck said hardly any snow fell last year. “We had good moisture, but very little snow.” Park officials only plowed once.
Eighteen years ago, when Boeck first arrived at Tonto Natural Bridge as manager, he said plowing was necessary four or five times a year.
“You have your dry years, your wet years,” Boeck said, describing the inevitable cycles as “climate change.”
“We’re not supposed to say the other word.”
When temperatures dip enough to start the leaves’ color change, Boeck says it’s pretty.
“We get a lot of the yellows. We do get some reds — not too many reds, but it’s very pretty down here.”
Boeck is working to restore the park’s lodge to its original use as a 10-bed guesthouse and build cabins to accommodate more visitors.
Barring economic disaster, the lodge project was expected to go out to bid in early autumn, with work beginning in the spring.
The wastewater system needed to complete the transition has been completed. A road necessary to reach the proposed cabins is half designed.
“It’s a slow process sometimes,” Boeck said, but “it’s been moving along pretty well.”
From October through December, the park opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. The park closes at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, and is closed on Christmas Day.
Entrance fees cost $3 for those 14 and older. Those 13 and younger enter free. Call (928) 476-4202 for more information.
Rim Country's special sites
While the great outdoors of the Rim Country are a big draw for residents and visitors alike, there are plenty of other attractions and activities to enjoy when the autumn and winter weather is too cool for comfort. Pete Aleshire/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Besides the numerous trails to hike and streams to fish while in Arizona’s Rim Country, there are a plethora of inexpensive places to stop. Places like the Rim Country Museum, Zane Grey Cabin, Shoofly Village Ruins and Main Street. The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, 100 W. Main Street, has free guides, maps and information to all of the area’s attractions.
Among other things, Payson is known as “the gateway to the Mogollon Rim,” with its numerous access points to the rugged escarpment, a cross-country skier’s dream and ATVer’s heaven. It has also been tagged “a mountain town with a western heritage” for having the oldest continuous rodeo and “a cool mountain town.” Whatever it is known as, the Payson area offers shopping, dining and fun for the whole family.
Just head down historic Main Street and browse through the numerous art galleries and specialty shops. Catch a movie at the Sawmill Theatres and lunch at any of the restaurants scattered in the area.
Rim Country Museum
At the far west end of Main Street is the Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin, 700 Green Valley Parkway.
The museum’s gift and bookshop occupy the old Forest Ranger Station and residence from 1907. In the replica of the Herron Hotel is the museum’s two-story exhibit hall, which has exhibits on logging, mining, ranching and general history of the area. See how Native Americans lived in the area inside a replica Apache dwelling and continue on to 1900s to the inside of a settler’s cabin.
A reproduction of a Forest Service lookout tower is on display outside the museum, as is the Haught Cabin, originally built in 1904 on the Mogollon Rim, dismantled and reassembled on the grounds.
Zane Grey Cabin
A step away from the museum is the famous Zane Grey Museum, a meticulous reproduction of Grey’s original cabin that was destroyed in the 1990 Dude Fire.
Grey is known for his numerous western novels, many of which were based on people he came to know in the Rim Country and their stories, including “Under the Tonto Rim,” which depicts the daily struggles of homesteaders. The original cabin was built in 1921 and converted to a museum years after Grey abandoned it. It attracted 20,000 visitors from around the world annually until it burned down. The reproduction was built as true to the original as possible with animal hides on the walls and Native American symbols etched into the fireplace mantel.
Both museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, except major holidays. For more information, call (928) 474-3483 or visit www.rimcountrymuseums.com.
Payson Public Library and Rumsey Park
The Payson Public Library is situated in the heart of Rumsey Park. Large windows and comfortable seating allow readers to take in the surroundings. And if the surroundings so inspire you to take a hike, you can grab a book and head out.
The library offers numerous activities, including game night, which features board and card games, Guitar Hero tournaments, homework help and a Spy Kids club for youngsters 7 to 17 years old.
The Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call (928) 474-9260 or visit www.paysonlibrary.com for a full list of activities.
Rumsey Park offers open-air picnic tables, ramadas, sporting fields, a skate park, swimming pool, tennis courts and enclosed off-leash dog park. Meet new people at the popular dog park and let the teens skate their angst away at the skate park. The larger ramadas can be reserved for private events. Call the Payson Parks and Recreation Department for availability, (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.
Shoofly Village Ruins
The Shoofly Village was built around A.D. 1000 and occupied for nearly 250 years by prehistoric cultures. The four-acre village contains 87 rooms and several courtyards surrounded by a wall. There are three groups of rooms constructed during different times of the site’s history.
There are the earliest oval-shaped, single-unit rooms and the rectangular rooms clustered near the center of the site. The walled courtyards are similar to the walls in our own back yards, separating families or social groups from each other in the village.
The village’s surrounding wall was built in the late period of construction, probably for protection. It was at least three feet high. Wander among the ruins or visit the 40 other sites within three miles of Shoofly.
Shoofly is located five miles northeast of Payson. Take Highway 87 north from Payson to Houston Mesa Road and turn east. The road splits and the ruins are to the right, a short distance past the Mesa del Caballo subdivision.
Pine and Strawberry
Just 15 miles north of Payson sit the small towns of Pine and Strawberry. Both towns offer their own take on mountain living with cabins and antique shops. Among the special spots in the area are the Pine-Strawberry Historical Museum, Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library and Strawberry Schoolhouse.
Opened in 1979, the Pine-Strawberry Museum has grown from a one-room display in the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library to part of the Pine Community Center, which houses a cultural hall for large gatherings and meetings, an arts and crafts center, the senior center, a thrift store, the library annex building and Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The museum houses prehistoric artifacts from nearby plateaus used by Native Americans and tools used by early settlers, such as buckets, irons and lamps that pre-date 1945.
The ceiling in the main room is the original, pressed, tin-panel ceiling.
Just off the front door is the gift shop, which offers souvenirs, maps, books and hand-crafted items from Pine-Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society members.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Oct. 16 through May 14, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, May 15 through Oct. 15. Admission is free.
It is on the west side of Highway 87, nearly in the middle of the Pine community, and part of the larger Pine Community Center.
To learn more about the museum, call (928) 476-3547 or visit www.pinestrawhs. org.
The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine is located to the north of the community center, at 6124 N. Randall Place.
Year-long the library is in use as people come to sit by the fire to read in the winter and escape the heat in the summer. There are story times for children, computers and printers available for public use.
The library offers two special collections including the Southwest and Western Collections.
The original Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library is on display on the east side of Highway 87 across from the community center.
The library is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call (928) 476-3678.
All the unique gift and antique shops in the Pine area are worth the trip. Andy Towle/Roundup
Established in 1884, this registered historic site has garnered the title of oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona and it is still open today to visitors during weekends from mid-May to mid-September (when it is not open, visitors can view the interior through the windows and stroll the grounds).
During the 1880s, the schoolhouse was the gathering place for area families. Used for dances, picnics, a church and meetings, the schoolhouse is still used by the community for special events scheduled throughout the summer. Bring a picnic and have lunch in the schoolyard. Admission is free.
The school is on Fossil Creek Road, west of Highway 87.
For more information, call (928) 476-2164.
The view to forever
The Mogollon Rim divides the state and offers sweeping views that encompass forests and history. Pete Aleshire/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
The Mogollon Rim offers some of the most stirring views on the planet.
But it’s not just 100-mile vistas, the undulations of forests and the billows of clouds that break against this more than 200-mile-long chain of tall cliffs rising up more than 1,000 feet in places.
In fact, the view from the long line of sandstone and limestone cliffs also offers a view of the violent history of a tempestuous earth — and a primer in the small changes that produce dramatic variations in the intricate net of life. It even offers clues as to how all living things might end.
This line of cliffs that mark the edge of the vastly uplifted Colorado Plateau runs from near Flagstaff all the way to New Mexico. The sheer layered cliffs are made from sand dunes and sea bottoms laid down, buried, compressed and then uplifted once more into sunlight and storm.
This state’s landscape and history have been dramatically shaped by this rampart of rocks, first fused before the first dinosaur cracked its shell (which came first, the dinosaur or the egg?).
The Mogollon Rim sharply divides the Sonoran Desert from the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest. It affects the climate of the region, forcing the release of snow and rain from passing storms — and in the process making Phoenix possible by filling up a chain of reservoirs. The Rim forms one of the most dramatic ecological divides in the country. It even bears mute witness to at least two terrible events that wiped out most living species on the planet.
Moreover, this jagged line of cliffs uplifted some 20 million years ago by the same shifts that created the Rocky Mountains offers a wonderfully diverse array of recreational options for visitors.
Start the story some 300 million years ago with the formation of the Kaibab Limestone found near the base of the Rim. This limestone formed in the bottom of a vast inland sea, well before the first dinosaurs emerged. Composed mostly of the skeletons of tiny sea creatures that drifted to form thickening layers over the millennium, this sea bottom layer extends to the Grand Canyon and north into Utah.
Movements of crustal plates that rearranged whole continents, driven by stirrings deep in the semi-molten layers of Earth’s mantle, eventually uplifted that one-time sea bottom, converting it into a vast interior desert on a scale to dwarf the modern Sahara or Gobi.
New shifts in the earth, some 250 million years ago, then buried the vast, cross-bedded sand dunes of that desert. The pressure and heat of the overlying rock layers fused those ancient sand dunes, creating thick layers now dubbed Coconino Sandstone. This buff, pale rock layer forms the bulk of the cliff face along the Rim, in addition to the upper layers of Sedona and great expanses of southern Utah.
On the pathetic scale of a human lifetime, the Earth seems patient and immutable. But on its own terms, the Earth is restless and given to violent outpourings. No sooner had the movement of the crustal plates buried those great sand dunes and turned them to stone than it once again shifted.
Pressured upward from below by some still mysterious shift, the great block of crust that includes the Rocky Mountains and Northern Arizona began an inexorable uplift between 80 million and 50 million years ago, creating a region known as the Mogollon Highlands. Rivers then flowed north, depositing thousands of feet of sediment stripped from the rising mountains in interior basins.
But the Earth can never quite decide.
So between 35 and 20 million years ago these titanic forces shifted once again, spurring a vast outpouring of lava — which put a cap of hard, resistant rock on top of the softer layers of sandstone and limestone.
All of that finally set the stage for the emergence of the modern topography of Arizona and the Colorado Plateau, starting about 20 million years ago.
Great blocks of earth resumed their uplift, this time, tilted to drain to the south. The layer of lava rock slowed erosion where it formed a cap, resulting in the dramatic march of cliffs, as the softer sedimentary rock went tumbling down the newly formed Salt and Verde Rivers and as the ancestral Colorado River chewed back north until it captured rivers once north-flowing rivers. This created the intricate topography of the Grand Canyon.
The process created the dramatic, 7,000-foot-high plateau atop the Rim, with its meadows, rainfall, snow cover, streams, great rolling forests and views to forever. It also created some of the most rugged, beautiful and inaccessible canyons in the country, draining the bounty of that rain and snow off the Rim to the 1,000-foot elevation of Phoenix.
Hikers have long marveled at some of those canyons, like West Clear Creek, Black River Canyon, Fossil Creek, Tonto Creek, the East Verde River, Pine, Sycamore, Oak Creek, Wet Beaver, Greenback, Salome, Sawmill, San Carlos and the immense gash of the Salt River Canyon — with world-class whitewater rafting during the spring thaw and the summer monsoons.
Many canyons remain guarded by cliffs and waterfalls that require rock climbing skills and a reservation permit to navigate. That includes Cibecue Canyon, which requires adventurers to rappel through two or three waterfalls in the company of a certified Apache guide.
This uplifted wall of lava-capped, fossilized sand dunes has shaped every aspect of the state’s history and ecology. It forms a boundary line for many plant and animal species, it controlled patterns of travel and settlement and controls the weather of the whole state.
The Mogollon Rim also bears mute witness to the violence and unpredictability of life. Coded into the layers of its sedimentary rocks lurk the evidence of two almost unimaginable catastrophes — geological eye blinks in which perhaps 90 percent of the land-based species abruptly vanished.
One of those events marked the end of the dinosaurs — which cleared the way for the current age of the mammals.
Ironically, the other mass extinction event layered into the face of the Mogollon Rim essentially cleared the way for the dinosaurs — by snuffing out perhaps 95 percent of all living species on both land and sea.
Scientists think that the already declining dinosaurs were done in by the strike of a gigantic meteor, which probably left the gigantic, telltale crater now buried in the mud off the coast of the Yucatan. Most scientists believe that impact shrouded the planet in a bone-chilling layer of smoke that lasted for years — plunging the whole Earth into a “nuclear winter” that wiped out every land-based species weighing more than 55 pounds.
The cliff faces of the Mogollon Rim are not only visually exciting, but have a geologic story to tell that reaches back to the the age of the dinosaurs and beyond. Pete Aleshire/Roundup
One thin layer of rock in the face of the face of the Mogollon Rim contains the iridium-rich, melted droplets of stone and fractured “shocked quartz” deposited all over the planet as a result of that impact some 65 million years ago.
So the view from the Rim does in fact cover far more than 100 miles. From there, you can see all the way from the birth of mountains to the end of all things.
Historic lodge has it all
Kohl’s Ranch Lodge has lots of activities and a relaxing setting, so it suits all tastes. Alexis Beckman/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Nestled between two towns and surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest sits the historic Kohl’s Ranch.
Originally founded around 1917 as a community center, the lodge was equipped with everything from a post office and a schoolhouse to a dance hall.
Today, the 10-acre lodge, with 23 rustic cabins, serves as the perfect backdrop for a weekend getaway or a night out for locals at the Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon.
In 1995, ILX Resorts Inc., which owns and operates multiple vacation ownership resorts in the U.S., bought Kohl’s Ranch.
General manager Lauree Moffett said the lodge has something to offer for everyone, including locals.
“Through the years it has evolved into Kohl’s Ranch Lodge, in which ILX still continues the tradition of warm hospitality and beautiful accommodations in a picturesque setting,” Moffett said.
The resort offers weekly activities ranging from cooking classes on Tuesdays with award-winning chef Kevin DeWitt, a campfire sing-along with cowboy historian Jinx Pyle on Wednesdays and a nature hike Thursdays.
Sign-up sheets are available at the lodge and space is limited. It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure the event is still going on, as events rotate.
The Zane Grey Steakhouse is the backdrop for many special occasions, including Christmas and Thanksgiving buffets, wedding receptions and business luncheons.
On Saturday nights, there is live entertainment in the saloon.
If you want to escape to nature, rent a fishing pole from the front desk for $10 and wander down to Tonto Creek, which runs alongside the nine-acre ranch. Or rent a mountain bike at $5 an hour to $15 for a full day and bike around the valley or up to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. The on-site horse stables offer one to half-day rides and overnight trips. Horseback rides run $30 per hour, plus tax and tip. Contact the stable at (928) 478-0030.
After all this activity, the lodge offers 63 rooms in which to wind down and relax. You can even jump in your own personal Jacuzzis, offered in select cabins. Rooms in the hotel start at $90 and some are pet-friendly. The lodge also offers a kennel for dogs and a corral for horses. Other amenities included a heated outdoor pool, nine-hole putting green, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard and tennis courts, bocce ball, outdoor exercise course and kitchens and fireplaces in creek-side cabins.
Contact the lodge at (928) 478-4211 or online at www.ilxresorts.com.
New breed of ATVs add fun
Today’s ATVs can be customized for safe outings for the entire family and still capable of getting into the back reaches of the Rim Country and elsewhere. Max Foster/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Chandler businessman Ryan Foster always wanted an ATV, but with a wife and three daughters to haul, purchasing a single seater wasn’t practical.
But then, UTVs or side-by-side off-road vehicles, like the Yamaha Rhino and the Polaris Ranger, turned red-hot on the recreational market.
A customized one would provide seating for five and the handling and safety Foster was looking for in a recreational utility vehicle.
After much research and a number of test drives, Foster settled on a Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4.
After hours of customizing work that included three rear bucket seats for the girls, a full roll cage, headrests, larger tires and wheels and an aluminum top, Foster had just the UTV he and his family was looking for to enjoy the state’s great outdoors.
The state-of-the-art Teryx represents a vast improvement over original three-wheel ATVs manufactured by Honda in the 1970s.
Longtime riders will remember those ATVs — commonly called “Big Red,” which sold for about $600 — as being underpowered, recreation-only vehicles with balloon tires that were easily flattened, and a chassis shaped like an isosceles triangle.
After being introduced to America from Japan, popularity soared when sportsmen found the vehicles to be useful for exploring remote areas where larger four-wheel drive trucks and Jeeps couldn’t reach.
As crude as Big Reds were, their popularity led to the evolution of much more sophisticated 4x4s like the Teryx and others.
On the road
Foster’s first trip after receiving the Teryx was to Pine to visit his parents.
From their home, the family took their first off-road trip west on Hardscrabble Road to near Strawberry Mountain and Cottonwood Springs.
Foster and his family are now hooked on off-roading and among their favorite spots is the Rim Country.
The popularity of the area is partly due to to hundreds of miles of trails around Payson, many of them old logging roads, that provide riders with an up close and personal look at the countryside.
For experienced ATV riders, the challenging route into Metate Canyon will test your resolve and the wilderness worthiness of the four-wheel drive vehicle you’re straddling.
The route begins in Star Valley and extends onto the Mayfield Canyon Trail before winding through the ponderosa pine forests to Metate Canyon. Along the way, rest stops can be enjoyed at what once was a Native American village, and another at a decrepit cabin that is rumored to have been the home of a miner decades ago.
But be prepared, often the route becomes only a wash, wild animal trail or simply an area between trees wide enough to steer your ATV through.
Less adventurous riders might want to explore the many Forest Service roads and old logging roads that connect to Chevelon Loop Drive atop the Rim. The drive can be accessed off Forest Road (FR) 300, which is touted to be one of the most scenic drives in the state. From FR 300, riders should proceed north on FR 115 past the O’Haco Fire Lookout Tower to the junction with FR 225.
The 60-mile loop eventually returns to FR 300.
For local ATV owners, one of the most popular spots to ride is the Hayfield Draw/Bryant Park OHV area located eight miles west of Camp Verde and just off West Highway 260.
The 80-acre open area is limited to ATVs and trail bikes, and there is access to more than 100 miles of designated routes.
Another popular area is the Long Draw route, found on the Mogollon Rim northeast of Payson. Located in the Black Mesa Ranger District, it consists of a 30-mile loop trail beginning near Chevelon Crossing at the Long Draw North Trailhead.
The route extends to the Long Draw South Trailhead near Chevelon Lake. Both trailheads have toilets and campsite facilities developed through Arizona State OHV Recreation Fund grants. Along the route, there are many opportunities for side trips on shared-use Forest Service trails.
In the cold of winter — providing there is snow — snowmobilers use the area frequently.
An exciting ride to enjoy during the cooler temperatures of fall and winter is the Rolls OHV area, located east of the Beeline Highway and south of the Four Peaks Road in the Tonto National Forest.
The 27,000-acre area features trails that can be enjoyed year-round, but vehicle travel is allowed only on existing routes.
To the south, near Roosevelt Lake, there are many forest roads to explore, including FR 49 and FR 1080 that take you on a circular loop around Deer Hill and into Cottonwood Canyon. Along the route, riders will find pleasure in grandiose views of Four Peaks, the Mazatzal and Sierra Ancha wilderness areas and of Roosevelt Lake.
Along the trail, foliage includes towering cottonwood trees, saguaro, cholla, jojoba and oak.
Other popular ATV excursions are trips to Crackerjack Mine and the Verde River, along the Young Trail and through the Dude Fire area.
Before venturing into the back country for an ATV outing, remember to be prepared for the unexpected.
To ensure a safe trip, always tell someone where you are traveling and when you’ll return. Also, don’t go alone, and pack at least one gallon of water per person per day.
Always wear eye protection, gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots.
State motor vehicle laws apply on many forest roads, which means your vehicle must be registered and the rider must be licensed. In other words, being “street legal” is the best option before setting out to explore the countryside.
Newcomers should take advantage of the ATV Rider Course.
This is inappropriate attire for an outing on an ATV. Riders should wear eye protection, gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots. Metro Services photo
If you bought your ATV after 1986, you may be eligible for free training. To sign up, call (800) 447-4700.
For information on ATV opportunities, call the Payson Ranger District, (928) 474-7900; or the Tonto National Forest office, (602) 225-5200. The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce also has ATV recreation guides.
Fish still biting in the fall
Extraordinary beauty — as well as great fishing — can be found in the fall at Rim lakes and streams. Tom Brossart/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Summer gets all the glory when it comes to fishing holes and trout stream riffles.
But fall has its own treasure trove of still waters and memorable moments.
Granted, the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery has finished stocking 146,000 fish into Rim Country streams and lakes and turned its attention to growing more trout for next summer.
The last batch of hatchery trout has gone into Woods Canyon Lake on the Rim, which this season received 87,000 rainbows.
That could explain why the store at Woods Canyon Lake sells more fishing licenses than any other place in the state. The second biggest seller of fishing licenses in Arizona is the Payson Walmart, said Tonto Creek Fishery Manager John Deihl.
However, plenty of fish remain in Rim Country lakes and streams — and fall fishermen are more likely to have a stretch of stream to themselves than the anglers of summer. Woods Canyon Lake remains a good bet right up until snow closes the road — and even then, ice fishermen can do well for themselves.
Without the weekly infusion of hatchery trout, catch rates on Rim streams and lakes will dwindle with the temperatures in stretches of water that have gladdened hearts all summer — with no more fish stocked into the East Verde River or Haigler, Tonto and Christopher creeks.
Fortunately, the competition from the hoards of Valley escapees has also dwindled — so local fishermen can still lower their blood pressure and savor the sound of running water, despite diminished, but inextinguishable hopes of hooking a straggler.
The Tonto Creek Hatchery labored all summer to use the fish raised in the course of two- and three-year cycles to turn Rim Country streams and lakes into the most popular fishing spots in the southwest.
The state’s roughly 255,000 fishermen spend an estimated $831 million on equipment and travel, according to a study by researchers from Arizona State University, based on figures from 2001. The study found that the state’s 135,000 hunters generate another $127 million. Combined, hunting and fishing generate $314 million in wages and $58 million in tax revenue annually, concluded the study. Fishing accounts for about 80 percent of the total.
In Gila County, fishermen and hunters spent $39 million — which generated another $47 million in related economic activity. Fishing and hunting in the county produced 769 jobs and $1.8 million in taxes.
The twice-weekly Tonto Hatchery stockings turned Tonto Creek and the East Verde and other smaller Rim Country streams into some of the top stream fishing stretches in the state.
Some of those streams have now dwindled to a trickle and even the larger waterways — like Tonto and the East Verde — now harbor only a few wary trout that managed to avoid the thickets of lures, flies and baited hooks flung upon the waters by the summer crowds. Some lunkers in those creeks actually make it through the winter, to face the gauntlet of summer hooks all over again.
However, the Rim lakes — especially Woods Canyon — still have a lot of trout. Although the numbers have fallen from the peak stocking period, local anglers who head for the Rim lakes will face less competition for trout much more willing to bite as the cold weather reduces the amount of other food.
Deihl recommended Woods Canyon, Blue Ridge, Knoll and Bear Canyon lakes.
Stream fishermen can also go looking for trout that evaded the summer rush, especially on stream stretches that require a hike to reach. Such streams often have naturally reproducing populations. The upper reaches of Horton Creek has a naturally reproducing population of brown trout — lurking in the tiny pools of a creek that all but dries up before reaching its junction with Tonto Creek.
The lower reaches of Tonto Creek, near Bear Flat, also have a good supply of fish, long after the fair-weather fishermen have given up on the summer-stocked reaches of the creek close by the highway.
But for now, the hatchery workers will start getting ready to grow another 150,000 fish for release next year, while nurturing the eggs that will produce the trout for the season after that.
They’ll also be keeping a wary eye on bald eagles, raccoons and anyone else who might have plans involving the big fish-growing ponds — especially the pond that harbors about 2,000 fish carried over for an extra year.
The hatchery doles out these 3- and sometimes 4-year-old fish, which can grow to 10 to 12 pounds in miserly fashion, but when caught, these monsters make the average angler holler and tremble and buy drinks for the house.
But fishing just ahead of the first snowfall on Rim lakes and the more remote streams with their wild trout populations can yield reliable emotional soothing and the occasional thrill of hooking a big fish.
The following information on fall fishing in Rim Country lakes has been taken from the Arizona Game and Fish’s online fishing report posted in early October. For up-to-date information go to http://www.azgfd. gov/artman/publish/cat_index28.shtml
CHEVELON LAKE: In early October, rainbows had started to feed more actively, but brown trout still seemed to be laying low. Anglers may also hook some of the 20,000 sub-catchable rainbows stocked in early September mostly for next summer’s fishermen. This is a hike-in lake on a steep trail without a lot of shore access. Try using a float tube, inflatable or canoe. The lake is open to artificial lures and flies only, trout between 10 and 14 inches may not be possessed, and the bag limit is six trout. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp gas motors.
BEAR CANYON LAKE: Fishing in October was reported good, with recent stocking and little fishing pressure. This is a hike-in lake, down short, but steep and winding paths. The lake offers good shore access, but also works well from float tubes. The lake is open to electric trolling motors only.
BLACK CANYON LAKE: Fishing was good as of early October, with high water levels and a recent stocking. Angling pressure has not been great and the catch rate is decent.
BLUE RIDGE: No recent angler reports. This deeper canyon lake should be doing well. This long, narrow lake in a steep canyon has rainbows and browns. It is best fished from a boat, canoe, float tube and the like. There isn’t much viable shore access.
KNOLL LAKE: Not much word from anglers right now, but this lake has been consistently good all season and should get even better as the fish get hungrier as autumn progresses. This is also a great lake to hear bugling bull elk this time of year.
WILLOW SPRINGS LAKE: The catching has slowed a little here, even though the trout seem to be feeding heavily on insects at the surface. Trout have been active at the surface down to 15 feet during early morning and evening hours. The lake is open to electric trolling motors and/or up to 10 hp gas motors.
This is one of the largest lakes along the Mogollon Rim. As the nights get cooler than the water, you will often be treated to a fall mist on the water — bring your camera, especially at sunrise.
Scenic Wonders, tragic history
While enjoying the magnificent vistas of the Mogollon Rim, use your imagination and look back at the tragic history that played out over its hills, canyons and valleys between the settlers, soldiers and Native Americans in the 1870s. Pete Aleshire/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Forest Road 300 wanders along the Mogollon Rim all the way from near Show Low to near Pine, offering access to some of the best views, fishing lakes and best string of scenic camping spots in the state. The “ohhh and ahhhh” impact of the drive is even more vivid in the fall, when the road ambles through assorted groves of aspen, shimmering in the glory of fall.
But the views, fishing spots and cliff-edge camping spots have been often extolled — reason enough to devote the weekend to making the drive.
However, few people realize that the route is also one of the most historic in the state.
The trail was originally blazed by the U.S. Army to connect Fort Apache in the White Mountains and Camp Verde down in the Verde Valley. General George Crook based his brilliant, brutal and ultimately tragic campaign against the Tonto Apache on the logistics of that road to wage one of the most important, but unknown Indian wars in the nation’s history.
Here, we offer the story of that war.
The avalanche toward one of the West’s least-known, but most-tragic wars started with the slaughter of a stagecoach full of people just outside the mining town of Wickenburg, not far from the Date Creek Reservation where nearly 1,000 Tonto Apache and Yavapai Indians had settled on a reservation.
The murder of the stage passengers was the flash point for a war that had been brewing for years as incoming settlers clashed with people who had possessed the land for generations. Ironically, some historians now believe the stagecoach massacre was actually committed by white or Mexican bandits posing as Apaches, but it set in motion a tragic chain of events.
The two-year struggle between the U.S. Army and the Yavapai and Tonto Apache flared and smoldered through 1871 and 1872 across a jagged swath of desert wilderness stretching from Prescott southeast to the Superstition Mountains. On one side, General Crook respected and admired Apaches, but he proved to be their worst enemy. On the other side, Chief Delshay was the Apache’s most tenacious war leader, but in the end was betrayed and beheaded by his own people.1
The struggle pitted the cavalry against two different native people — who had more often been rivals than allies before the whites arrived. The Tonto Apache were closely related to other Apache groups as well as the Navajo. The Yavapai were linguistically and culturally related to the tribes living along the Colorado River. Both groups initially accepted a forced move to a reservation, but disease and starvation repeatedly prompted raiding parties to hit ranches in the area.
Convinced that only a decisive military defeat would force the Apache to settle permanently on the reservation, Crook looked for an excuse to launch a comprehensive war of attrition. The trigger came when he learned of a plot to kill him when he visited the Date Creek Reservation. The bearded, unconventional Crook was a fearless, taciturn, tireless commander with a shrewd sense of strategy and he set a trap for the conspirators. A fight broke out and a group of warriors fled the reservation with their families, fearing retaliation. Soldiers, led by Apache scouts, tracked and located them in a nearby canyon and launched a surprise attack that killed 40 Indians and triggered the Tonto Basin War in the winter 1872.
Crook divided his command into independent companies of soldiers, each guided by a contingent of mostly White Mountain Apache scouts — implementing his then-controversial theory that only other warriors could hope to track and corner Apache bands that could cover 60 miles a day. Crook often used Tontos against Yavapai and vice versa — helping sew a bitter crop of anger between the two groups.
Much of the fighting was centered in the Tonto Basin, a rugged contortion of deep canyons, cliffs, volcanic landforms and steep, arid mountains. The primary chiefs were the Yavapai Cha-lipun, or “Buckskin Colored Hat,” and the Apache Delshay, or “Red Ant.”
Delshay was the most warlike, perhaps because his brother had been killed for no particular reason while visiting a military post, and because Delshay himself had been wounded twice while peacefully visiting white encampments.
In the relentless campaign, starvation proved Crook’s strongest ally. The soldiers relied on supply pack trains and supplies relied along the Crook Trail — Forest Road 300 — so small, independent units could remain in the field for months at a time, keeping the Apaches on the run until they ran out of food.
Two major battles finally broke the Indian resistance.
The first came Dec. 2, 1872 in a remote, inaccessible canyon along the Salt River along the shores of present-day Canyon Lake. An Apache scout named Nantaje led soldiers and a detachment of scouts to a cave at the base of a cliff that served as a fortress for a Yavapai band. The soldiers attacked at dawn, killing six warriors at the first volley. The officers called on the trapped warriors to surrender, but they merely jeered and slapped their buttocks in a gesture of contempt. The soldiers then began bouncing bullets off the sloping ceiling of the cave with deadly effect.
A strange, haunting sound floated out of the cave.
“It was a weird chant, half wail and half exultation — the frenzy of despair and the wild cry for revenge,” wrote Captain John Gregory Bourke, Crook’s loyal assistant.i
“Look out,” cried the Apache scouts, “there goes their death chant, they’re going to charge.”
Sure enough, a moment later 20 warriors rushed from the cave, “superb-looking fellows all of them,” noted Bourke. They charged the double line of soldiers, providing cover for warriors trying to slip around the end of their line. However, the soldiers’ fire drove them back into the cave, where they resumed their death chant “with vigor and boldness” as the soldiers resumed bouncing bullets off the roof of the cave.
Suddenly, a 4-year-old boy ran to the mouth of the cave “and stood, thumb in mouth, looking in speechless wonder and indignation at the belching barrels,” wrote Bourke “Almost immediately, a bullet glanced off his skull, knocking him to the ground. Nantaje rushed forward and dragged the boy to safety amidst the cheers of the soldiers who stopped firing momentarily — then resumed with redoubled intensity.
At this point, another company of soldiers arrived at the top of the 400-foot cliff and began shooting down on the cave, then rolling boulders off the cliff to shatter at the cave’s entrance.
“The noise was frightful; the destruction sickening,” since most of the Apaches were crouched behind boulders at the front of the cave to avoid the bullets bouncing off the cave’s roof. “No human voice could be heard in such a cyclone of wrath,” recalled Bourke.
Soon, all signs of life in the cave ceased. Soldiers advanced to find a ghastly scene of slaughter.
“There were men and women dead or writhing in the agonies of death, and with them several babies, killed by our glancing bullets, or by the storm of rocks and stones that had descended above,” Bourke reported. The soldiers found 76 dead, and 35 survivors, half of whom later died.
The next major battle of the campaign came after Apache raiders struck scattered settlements around Wickenburg, stealing horses and killing three settlers — one a well-known Indian fighter who once proudly nailed the scalp of a Yavapai chief to the door of the local newspaper.
Soldiers had captured an Apache woman they “intimidated” into revealing the raiders were camped near the top of Turret Mountain. The soldiers and scouts approached the peak in the darkness, feet wrapped with rags to muffle any sound, and attacked at dawn. The attack slaughtered between 33 and 47 Indians, without the loss of a single soldier.ii
Several thousand Yavapai and Tonto Apache surrendered piecemeal in the next few months, lamenting that they could not fight both the Army and the scouts. Cha-lipun lipun came in with 300 of his followers, saying sadly that General Crook had “too many cartridges of copper.”
According to Bourke, Cha-Lipun told Crook, “we had never been afraid of the Americans alone, but now that our own people are fighting us, we did not know what to do; we could not go to sleep at night, because we feared to be surrounded before daybreak.”
Delshay was among the last to surrender. Major George Randall reported that Delshay “said he would do anything he would be ordered to do. He wanted to save his people, as they were starving. He had nothing to ask for but his life. He would accept any terms. He said he had 125 warriors last fall, and if anybody had told him he couldn’t whip the world he would have laughed at them, but now he had only twenty left. He said they used to have no difficulty eluding the troops, but now the very rocks had gotten soft, they couldn’t put their foot anywhere without leaving an impression we could follow”
But on the reservation established in the Verde Valley, Delshay could not master his fear of the whites and his yearning for freedom, so he fled with about 40 followers. Crook sent out Apaches to hunt down Delshay, warning he would resume the war if they didn’t kill Delshay. Later, as Crook sat on the porch of his headquarters, the Apache bounty hunters dumped six or eight heads on the planking at his feet — one wearing Delshay’s distinctive earring.
Tragically, Delshay’s suspicions proved well-founded and Crook discovered he could not keep his promise to protect them on a reservation in their own land — to his bitter regret.
Initially, the Apache and Yavapai bands settled near Camp Verde alongside the Verde River, planted crops, and sold hay and firewood to the fort. They used sharpened sticks and wicker baskets to dig a five-mile long, four-foot-deep irrigation ditch, and in 1873 grew 500,000 pound of corn and 30,000 pounds of beans — thus becoming largely self-sufficient.
However, in the spring of 1874, Crook was ordered to move the Indians to the sweltering, disease-prone San Carlos Reservation nearly 200 miles east at the base of the Mogollon. Crook blamed a corrupt ring of civilian contractors who often influenced government policy and who wanted to sell the government the supplies the Tonto and Yavapai had been providing.
Crook observed, “their removal was one of those cruel things that greed has so often inflicted on the Indians. When the Indian appeals to his arms, his only redress, the whole country cries out against the Indian. As soon as the Indians became settled on the different reservations, gave up the warpath, and became harmless, the Indian agents who had sought cover before, now came out as brave as sheep and commenced their game of plundering.”
Crook reluctantly complied with his orders and in February of 1875, a small detachment of soldiers escorted 1,426 Tontos and Yavapais from Camp Verde across 180 miles of snow-covered peaks, icy, rushing rivers, and hard terrain to the San Carlos Reservation — a bleak, malaria-ridden lowland selected as the ideally worthless place to concentrate the defeated Apache bands.
One man carried his disabled wife on his back the whole way. Most of the cavalrymen gave up their horses so more of the children could ride.
Crook’s policy of divide and conquer had produced victory, and reaped its bitter fruit for the Apache.
As Crook himself concluded: “The American Indian commands respect for his rights only so long as he inspires terror with his rifle.”
Delshay could not have put it better.
1) I think he was definitely beheaded — but which one of the eight heads was his is probably debatable.
i) Bourke. On the Border with Crook.
ii) Dan Thrapp. Battle for Apacheria.
Native Americans who called the Rim Country home, knew the way through the canyons to high ground and its vantage point over pursuing soldiers.Tom Brossart/Roundup
Roundup Staff Reporter
Rim Country visitors (and residents) have it all, when it comes to having a blast by the water.
Obviously, you’ve got your East Verde River and Tonto Creek streamside camping and hiking — and your Rim lakes trout fishing (and camping).
But did you know that Payson makes a great home base to explore Roosevelt Lake — the reservoir that sustains Phoenix, and, that this fall, offers some of the best bass fishing in the nation?
The giant lake lies less than an hour south of Payson, complete with a marina offering boat rentals and conditions that this year are guaranteed to delight anglers and boaters. And in the fall, when snow sometimes touches the Rim, it’s still shirt-sleeve weather out on the lake.
In addition, the first wet year in nearly a decade has transformed the lake into paradise for bass, catfish and crappie fishermen.
That’s because the in the face of a long drought, the lake had at one point all but dried up. As a result, a lot of brush grew on what had been lake bottom. When the lake filled up again, not only did the water cover that new brush — it advanced into the side canyons, thick with brush and trees that had grown up over a period of several years.
All of that, now-submerged brush and logs, are now providing nutrients for the creatures at the base of the food chain. That supports a population explosion among the smaller fish, which in turn supports a boom in the fish anglers love to catch — especially bass and catfish.
As a result, the whole lake will benefit from what amounts to a “new lake” effect this year, which is much higher than normal reproduction of most fish species. Of course, from a fisherman’s point of view, the population boom among the game fish is offset to some degree by the dramatic rise in the surface area of the lake.
Fishermen caught an amazing number of fish when the lake reached its low point — since a whole lake’s worth of fish was concentrated in a comparative, shrunken puddle. So now, even though the lake holds a lot more fish, anglers will need to cover more water to find the best spots.
Even so, the Roosevelt Lake Marina will be renting out a variety of fishing boats, and the nearly-submerged boat ramps, will be launching lots of hopeful fishermen all through the fall.
The lake has lots of camping spots, but not many hotels. The largest concentration of nice hotel rooms to serve as a base for people eager to explore the vast lake are located in Payson — which is just about as close to the marina as Globe.
The lake level has fluctuated wildly in recent years, demonstrating the enormous amount of water that falls on Rim Country and runs down through the Salt River and its tributaries.
The dam that created Roosevelt Lake was the first major dam in half a century of construction that transformed the face of the West. It still largely makes Phoenix possible, by hoarding Rim Country runoff.
Last year proved the 19th wettest year on record for the Salt and Verde River watersheds, on which the Rim Country and the Valley depend, according to figures complied by the Salt River Project.
“Even if it had been a much wetter year, we wouldn’t have the reservoirs any more full right now,” said SRP’s manager of water resource operations Charles Ester. “We went over capacity on the Verde (reservoirs)” by 150,000 acre-feet, which flowed through the bypasses and on down through Phoenix.
So Roosevelt, which had at one point dwindled to about 15 percent of its capacity, is now nearly full, thanks to runoff of about 1.3 million acre feet last year — about double the long-term average runoff of 683,000 acre feet.
Most of the bounty came as a result of three record-breaking wet months and a deep snow pack during the winter. The area had more than 10 inches of rain between December and February.
By contrast, in 2007, only 211,000 acre feet flowed into the reservoir during the five-month runoff season, which made it the 17th driest year on record, and the 10th drought season in the past 12 years.
The runoff was well-timed for SRP, which had just finished a major project to protect against flood by dramatically increasing the height of Roosevelt Dam.
The project created 62 feet of extra height on the dam, which means the water utility captured all of the extra runoff without having to let any of it through the spillways — as it did on the Verde.
The rising water behind Roosevelt Dam did inundate the lush riparian areas along the creeks leading into the lake, killing many trees that species like the endangered willow flycatchers use for nesting during the years when Roosevelt dwindled to an alarming 17 percent of its capacity.
However, under an agreement with the federal government, SRP had bought and restored about three times as much riparian habitat on the Salt, Verde and Gila rivers, where water flows have nourished other riparian areas.
Rim Country plans fun for all
In recent years, the Rim Country has not enjoyed much snowy weather, but residents — and visitors — are always hopeful. If the chance arises to revel in a real winter this year, be sure to make the most of it. Tom Brossart/Roundup
These are just some of the many activities presented through fall, winter and into spring in the Rim Country. Visit the Payson Roundup’s Web site, www. paysonroundup.com for current listings.
Oct. 23-24: Mogollon Health Alliance Arts and Crafts Holiday Sale, main lobby, Payson Regional Medical Center, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 24: Payson Art League Fall Show and Sale, Mazatzal Casino Event Center, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oct. 25: American Legion Craft Show, Legion Hall, 709 E. Highway 260, Payson, 10 a.m.
Oct. 25: Octoberfest at Swiss Village, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oct. 25: Fall Family Events at The Ranch at Fossil Creek, 10379 W. Fossil Creek Road, Strawberry.
Oct. 25-26: Order of the Eastern Star Arts and Crafts Fair, Masonic Lodge, 200 E. Rancho Road, Payson, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 25-26: Payson Art League Fall Show and Sale, Mazatzal Casino Event Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 30: Fall Festival in Pine, Pine School gym, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oct. 31: Payson Parks and Recreation’s “Trunk or Treat” event at North Rumsey Park, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Nov. 1: Community Health and Care Fair, Payson High School, old gym, 8 a.m. to noon.
Nov. 2: Bowling for the Cure, Rim Country Lanes, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 3: Payson Humane Society Chili Supper, Payson Elks Lodge, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: High Country Holiday Bazaar, Payson Senior Center sponsored by Community Presbyterian Church, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nov. 14-16: Rim Country Quilt Roundup, Mazatzal Casino Event Center, hall opens at 10 a.m. Workshops begin Nov. 13, call (928) 474-4515 for details.
Nov. 15: Holly Berry Fair, Payson Womans Club, West Main, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nov. 15: Parks and Rec Fall Educational Classes for Dogs, Off-Leash Dog Park, Rumsey Park, $50, 10 a.m. to noon. Call Mary McMullen, (928) 474-5242, ext. 358.
Nov. 20: Tonto Community Concert Association presents Pianafiddle, Payson High School Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Nov. 22: Holiday Craft Fair, Mazatzal Casino Bingo Hall, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dec. 6: Tamales for Toys at Payson Elks Lodge, 11 a.m.
Dec. 6: Main Street APS Electric Light Parade, West Main Street, 6 p.m.
Dec. 13: Santa’s Workshop and Hayrides in Green Valley Park, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dec. 20: Holiday House Lighting Bus Tour, Julia Randall Elementary, West Main and Green Valley Parkway, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Jan. 14: Tonto Community Concert Association presents Pavlo, Payson High School Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12: Tonto Community Concert Association presents Wood’s Tea Company, Payson High School Auditorium, 7 p.m.
March 2: Tonto Community Concert Association presents The Duttons, Payson High School Auditorium, 7 p.m.
March 7: Taste of Rim Country 2009, Payson Public Library.
March 22: Tonto Community Concert Association presents American Jukebox, Payson High School Auditorium, 2:30 p.m.
April 25: Annual Beeline Cruise-In, West Main Street.