If you're looking for something to do this winter, stop by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, and let the volunteers there fill your head with suggestions.mong the suggestions will no doubt be the following 15 activities:
1. Drive, bike, hike the top of the Mogollon Rim
Whatever route you take to reach the top of the Mogollon Rim will leave you in awe of the beauty of Rim country. Visit the Payson Ranger District to get a map of the area and get an idea of hiking trails, such as the Highline trail.
2. Visit the Shoofly Indian Ruins
Houston Mesa Road, just north of Payson on Highway 87 takes you past several small communities as well as the East Verde River. Shoofly Indian Ruins is just a few miles down the road, and will take you back thousands of years.
3. Visit Tonto Natural Bridge
Driving north on Highway 87, just before the community of Pine, is the Tonto Natural Bridge. The park has four hiking trails. Several stairs lead you to the area under the natural bridge where you can walk the slippery rocks into the enormous cavern.
4. Visit Tonto Fish Hatchery
Who thought feeding fish could be so much fun? The fish hatchery is just off Highway 260 on the way to Christopher Creek. For a few quarters, you can feed the fish while learning about the life cycle of the trout.
5. Stroll the arts shops and stores in Pine
The communities of Pine and Strawberry offer visitors several enchanting stores. Several artists make their homes in the area and have galleries and studios right on Highway 87. Tasty treats like homemade ice cream and even a bookstore can be found in Pine.
Both Pine and Strawberry have a host of antiques and collectibles available for those who enjoy antiquing.
6. Visit the Pine-Strawberry Museum or the Rim Country Museum in Payson
To learn about the history of the area, these two museums offer a trip back in time. Rural life in Gila county is vividly depicted in these museums.
7. Fish Roosevelt Lake
Roosevelt Lake, off Highway 188, is about a half-hour drive south on Highway 87 from Payson. Anglers have pulled some large bass from the waters of Roosevelt. The spectacular dam is also a sight to see for visitors.
8. Golf at Payson courses
Payson has some of the finest golf courses in the nation. Two private courses, Chaparral Pines and the Rim Club, have received national notoriety. Payson Golf Course -- the town's only municipal course -- is at the end of Main Street past Green Valley Lake and also is a wonderful course to play.
9. Take an airplane ride to view Rim country
A scenic flight above the striking landscape of Rim country is a perfect way to see the geology of the area. A few dollars more can take you farther north to the red rocks of Sedona.
10. Visit the Museum of Rim Country Archaeology
If bones, fossils and artifacts fascinate you, MRCA, right on Payson's Main Street, is a must-see. Several archaeologic discoveries have been made in the area and are on display at the museum.
11. Canoe, fish, walk around Willow Springs and Woods Canyon Lakes
These two lakes on the Mogollon Rim are very popular destinations for those who want to experience the wilderness. Fishing is good and the scenery will make you feel like you are truly away from civilization.
12. Go gambling at the Mazatzal Casino
Try your luck at the slots or even blackjack at the Mazatzal Casino just south of Payson on Highway 87. Enjoy a refreshment and a good meal while you play keno.
13. Take the children to Green Valley Park
Drive all the way down Payson's Historic Main Street and you will see a lake surrounded by green grass, benches, picnic ramadas and playgrounds. Green Valley Park provides plenty for the children to do, including watching its duck and geese populations. Starting in October, Green Valley Lake is stocked with 700 pounds of rainbow trout every two weeks through May. Pictures of some of the near-record fish are posted in the Parks and Recreation office next to the lake.
14. Take a stroll down Payson's Historic Main Street
The town has made an effort through the Green Valley Redevelopment Project to revitalize Main Street. While much of the restoration is still under way, several quaint shops and establishments line the street, including the historic Ox Bow Saloon.
15. Stargaze under the clear, night sky
The elevation, combined with a lack of pollution, makes Rim country's skies among the clearest in the nation. Those who enjoy stargazing will find the area spectacular on a clear, fall night.