Activities Abound For Young And Old

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From the snowy Mogollon Rim to the mild shores of Roosevelt Lake, the Rim country offers plenty of winter recreation options.

The Payson Parks and Recreation Department keeps activities rolling through the year, offering everything from league sports to holiday festivities.

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When snow falls, folks from all over Arizona make their way to Rim country for a day at the Cinch Hook snow play area north of Strawberry.

  • Youth basketball for grades three through seven is available throughout the fall and winter months as is women's and men's volleyball. Call the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at (928) 474-5245 ext. 7 for more information.
  • To celebrate Halloween, Trunk or Treat is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 at Green Valley Park. Parks and rec staff, as well as members of other local organizations, will hand out candy from the trunks of their vehicles to trick-or-treators. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. Admission is free.
  • The Turkey Trot 5K Run is a pleasant 3.1-mile fitness run beginning and finishing at Green Valley Park. The race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. The entry fee is $15 prior to Nov. 12 and $20 after that. Winners get a free turkey.
  • A Community Holiday Celebration, on Dec. 4, begins with a visit from Santa

Claus from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Julia Randall Elementary School rock gym. Children can have their picture taken with Santa at no cost. Hot dogs, hot chocolate, cookies and coffee will be provided by the Knights of Columbus.

  • The Main Street-APS Electric Light

Parade begins at 6 p.m., Dec. 4 on Main Street. Festive floats adorned with holiday lights will line the street and local food and beverage vendors will be available for refreshments.

Cooler country

If snow sports are your thing, cross-country skiing and sledding are not far away -- of course, it is contingent on Mother Nature.

The Cinch Hook snow play area is just north of Strawberry on Highway 87 in the Coconino National Forest.

The 10-acre gravel pit makes an excellent sledding and tubing area, provided there is enough snow. For more information, call the Blue Ridge ranger station at (928) 527-3670.

For those who enjoy cross-country skiing, Forest Lakes Touring Center is located 36 miles northeast of Payson on Highway 260. Owner Tim Grier said cross-country skiing is great for beginners.

"There's a saying," Grier said. "‘If you can walk, you can ski.' You can go at your own pace and shuffle along."

The trails are groomed and Grier has seven cabins on the trails which rent for $75 to $95 dollars per night on the weekends. Reservations are recommended.

"A lot of people just come up to play in the snow," Grier said.

"We're at 7,800 feet of elevation, so a lot of people come up to throw snowballs, make snowmen -- all types of winter play.

The Forest Lakes Touring Center is open Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call (928) 535-4047.

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