Payson And Rim Country Has The Best Fall Foliage - Come Check It Out!

Photo by tplayer259 – Visit Phoenix Website

You may have heard the rumor that Arizona doesn’t have four distinct seasons – that instead, we suffer through one long, 100-degree Fahrenheit “uni-season.” Well, we’re happy to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, you’ll find glorious fall foliage in most of the mountains of Arizona. But there is a place in the “Heart of Arizona” that offers warm days and crisp nights that are perfect for the changing seasons. Here are the best places for leaf peepers to catch all the colors of the season.


Payson, Arizona, is nestled beneath the towering Mogollon Rim that stands 2,000 feet high from the floor below. This amazing precipice gives color seekers access to some of the best fall foliage as well as thigs to do in the State. In town the aspen and maple trees scattered around shimmer with vibrant red and golden leaves in the fall – a sneak peek at what lies ahead if you drive a little further. Follow Route 260 east from Payson to the Mogollon Rim and the fall colors become even more abundant.

TIP: Pick up a picnic lunch in Payson and follow the signs along route 260 to Woods Canyon Lake. Peak color in the Payson area will be from mid- to late October. For information about the Town visit:

HIKING AND COLOR GAWKING If you want to combine your color seeking adventure with a hike, there are a couple of places that are second to none.

Located about 15 miles from Payson on Highway 87 is the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. It is the home to the world’s largest travertine bridge and is one of the most unusual and mesmerizing parks in the Western United States. Located in between the tiny central Arizona towns of Pine and Payson, this breathtaking natural wonder is just an easy day trip from Phoenix, Tucson, and the Flagstaff/Sedona area.

The park gets its unique name from the travertine bridge that was discovered by a prospector fleeing a band of Apaches, which towers 183 feet tall over a 400-foot long tunnel, which is 150 foot wide at its’ widest point. A natural spring waterfall falling down into the creek below creates a one-of-a-kind rare setting that you really will not find elsewhere in this desert state. Beautiful forests of pines create a gorgeous backdrop and three different trails lead you down to the bridge. This constant water supply creates the perfect setting for a variety of trees and color opportunities. To get there visit

HORTON CREEK This is an amazing place to see a variety of colors and get in a hike to boot. Located about 17 miles east of Payson on Highway 260 you will come to the turn off for the Tonto Fish Hatchery. Go about a ¼ mile in and you will see a large parking lot. This is where the journey begins. Make sure you bring your camera because this trail has it all. Amazing color, Horton Creek is flowing year-round and is surrounded by giant Ponderosa Pine trees, ferns and other amazingly beautiful rock formations. For more information about this trail visit


If you want to stay in the car, then we have the perfect fall color adventure for you. FR 300 or Rim road is a 45-mile (2 hour trip from entry to exit) drive that takes you along the very edge of the Mogollon Rim. The road may be a bit rough for the family sedan in spots, so an SUV or high-clearance vehicle is recommended. This drive offers breathtaking views of the Mogollon Rim, overlooking a vast area of pine forest. The road also branches off for lake areas and campgrounds. Great place for hiking, camping, fishing birding, and wildlife viewing. There have been elk, mule deer and bear (beware!) sightings in this area. Gas up before you travel this road because there are no services, or restroom facilities unless you go to the campground areas. Enjoy the cool breezes and fall colors on this amazing journey! For more info visit

If you would like to call ahead to see where the best color is, we recommend you contact the Payson, Ranger district (928) 474-7900

This article has been brought to you by Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Advantage Realty. Our agents have been serving the greater Rim Country for over 30 years and built a reputation of not only providing great service but helping our clients find the tranquil serenity that only exists in the Mogollon Rim Country. Call us today (928-474-2337) or visit our website ( and join the Adventure Where We Live! Follow us on Facebook at

Featured Posts
Recent Posts