As you top the rise on the hill above Rye, you'll catch your first glimpse of the Mogollon Rim, the breathtaking escarpment that borders the Rim country to the north. At the base of this wonder is Payson, Arizona, the "Gateway to the Rim."
At an elevation of 5,000 feet, Payson is a little, mountain community where you'll find changing seasons, fresh air, tall pines and friendly folks who are free with a smile and a kind word.
The geographic hub of the Rim country, Payson boasts unique shops, antique stores, quaint diners and world-class restaurants, art galleries and plenty of lodging to accommodate winter visitors.
Tourists also will find in the Rim country a challenging 18-hole golf course, museums, bowling alley, casino -- plenty of activities to keep you busy on your winter getaway.
You can learn about the life of a fish at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery, or discover Arizona's 26th State Park -- the Tonto Natural Bridge.
South of Payson, on Highway 188, is Jake's Corner. Stop for a snack at the market or quench your thirst at the saloon. Then, take a stroll down the sidewalk of the re-created western village.
Farther down 188 is Punkin Center. That's the reported home of the famous Great Pumpkin. Stop here to fuel up and replenish your supplies before heading to Roosevelt Lake.
Now, you're ready to put the boat in the water at Roosevelt for a day of sailing or fishing.
Back on the Beeline Highway, head north to the Gisela turnoff and discover this tiny community tucked away on the shores of Tonto Creek.
Just north of Payson is the Houston Mesa Road. That's where you'll find the Mesa del Caballo subdivision, and other communities along the East Verde River. Autumn fishing is usually good in the river, and the hiking is spectacular.
Farther north on the Beeline, you'll find the communities of Pine and Strawberry, each with a style and charm all its own.
Seventeen miles east of Payson on Highway 260 is Kohl's Ranch, where you can spend the weekend or simply grab a bite in the Zane Grey dining room.
Farther east is the turnoff to Christopher Creek, a quaint neighborhood in the forest. Rustic cabins can be rented for the night along the banks of the creek.
On top of the Mogollon Rim is where you'll find another tiny community in the forest --orest Lakes. From the highway, it may seem small. Take one of the side roads, though, and you'll discover a community that's bursting with activity.
Whichever road you choose, it won't take long for you to learn that in the Rim country, all roads lead to your paradise in the forest.