With gasoline prices soaring to all-time highs, Arizona residents are staying a little closer to home this summer.
There is no better place in the southwest to spend your vacation than Arizona's Rim country.
From the moment folks arrive at the gateway to the Mogollon Rim, they'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 --rom 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 Indian Ruins, the Tonto Fish Hatchery.
Take a stroll down Main Street and look at the redevelopment taking place there. Stroller farther down and drop a line in Green Valley Park, where the fish are always biting.
Then stop at the Museum of Rim Country Archaeology and see where it all began.
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.
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 and Woods Canyon, beckon thousands when Valley temperatures begin to climb.
Roosevelt Lake is sure to be one of the biggest draws in central Arizona this year. Winter runoff has led to the highest lake levels in recent memory. In fact, experts believe the lake will be at or near 100-percent capacity by summer.
Roosevelt Lake is the biggest of the six Salt River Project lakes. Its game fish include large- and small-mouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and crappie. Both a wildlife area and refuge, Roosevelt Lake is posted to permit hunting at certain times of the year.
Go ahead. Treat yourself to these or any other local wonders mentioned in this handy fall guide. And, enjoy your trip to Arizona's heartland: Arizona Rim country.