Surrounded by the Tonto National Forest and neighboring both the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves forests, the Rim Country has a trail for just about every hiking skill level.
Here are some favorites of the Payson Packers hiking group:
Clove Creek Hike
Take the Beeline (Highway 87) north up on the Rim past Pine and Strawberry to Mile Post 285. Turn left and park. There is a forest service information sign there. Years ago, this was a forest service campground and picnic area. You can begin your hike there. Go down into the wash, follow it until you run into a fenced "study area." Go up the small hill on your left, top out, follow the trail along the fence line, go down to a road that is the end of the Forest Road 142. There is a gate there. You have two choices. Go straight (north) through the old campground and follow the old road to the top of a distant hill and another old road. The Beeline Highway is to your right (east), so at this point, you could return to where you started.
Another approach also begins where you turn off the highway at MP 285, there is a road that climbs a hill and runs into a cross road, FR 142. Turn right and it dead-ends where there is an information board and the gate mentioned above. When you go north as told above, you will see an old cement bridge. If you wish, at that point, go left into Clover Creek. This is a pretty hike, but about 3 miles in you reach a narrow canyon and experienced hikers say the canyon is too hazardous to use.
Oak Spring Hike
Take the Beeline north to just beyond MP 266 -- about one-half mile. The road to the trail is on your left. You will see on your right a sign that says "Pine Trail." Ignore it at this point. Follow that trail (on the west side of Beeline) to a wide wash. Look about 45 degrees to your right and you will see the trail on the other side of the wash. There should be a tall, thin, brown sign that reads "Arizona Trail." Follow it to the top of a hill. Keep following it and there will be a sign directing you to the spring. Above it, atop a hill, is a grassy area where you can eat lunch. Return the way you came.
The forest service has promised it will update the signs soon.
Pivot Rock Hike
Take the Beeline up onto the Rim, past the turnoff to Camp Verde. Go to MP 280, continuing for about one-half mile. Forest Road 149 is on the left. You will see a high hill of volcanic ash with a fence around it. Take FR 149 for about three-quarter or one-half mile. On your right is FR 616. Turn right there and drive the winding road down. There will be a sharp turn to the right and down to a meadow on your right and trees on your left. People camp under the trees. Park there and you will see a trail. Take it. After about one mile, you will reach a rocky staircase with a small stream at the bottom. Go down to the stream and look for a trail on the right. This will take you a short distance to a large balanced rock up a hill on your left. Climb the hill to the rock.
The trail continues for a mile or so to the source of the stream. If you have flashlights, you can crawl into the cave that the stream exits. There are two chambers that are high enough for one to stand upright. Looking at the ceiling of the back chamber, you will see a hole. Climb up to it and you will find a tunnel -- it comes out through a small hole near the entrance of the cave.