Mogollon Rim
Mogollon Rim

Mogollon Rim

Arizona, 85541

The basics

The Mogollon Rim is no longer synonymous with Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, the Spanish Governor of New Mexico from 1712 to 1715—it’s known for its towering white cliffs (a markedly pale limestone). Juxtaposed against the thick ponderosa pines, this spot is a natural beauty and an elevated oasis from Arizona’s signature summer heat.

With 200 miles of adventures, there’s a lot one can do up here—fish the alpine-esque lakes, hike (from short adventures like the Rim Lake Vista Trail to lengthy sojourns on the Arizona National Scenic Trail), camp, rock-climb, birdwatch, go horseback riding, ski, and more.

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Things to know before you go

  • Many lakes have frontcountry campgrounds with bathrooms, fire rings, and grills.

  • Stock up at Woods Canyon Lake Store and Marina if you need supplies.

  • Dispersed camping sites (free, no amenities) are also available.

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How to get there

Payson, Sedona, Show Low, Alpine, and Pinetop-Lakeside are the nearest cities to the Mogollon Rim. Technically, you can drive the Mogollon Rim via Forest Road #300. Take State Route 260 west, stopping at the Mogollon Visitor Center, and you’ll eventually run into Forest Road #300. It’s dirt and bouncy, but most cars can handle it.

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When to get there

The Mogollon Visitor Center typically opens in late May—the beginning of the standard visitor season. The rim is open year-round, and some even come up here to backcountry ski. There’s no bad time to visit, so long as you account for (and dress for) it being noticeably cooler here than anywhere on the desert floor.

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For the leaf lovers

There are multiple scenic overlooks on the rim itself—you don’t need to bust out the hiking shoes for great views. Believe it or not, this spot is excellent for leaf-peeping, which you can do right off the road. If you want to lace up your boots, try the Highline Trail or the Horton Creek Trail to catch those golden aspens lighting up the pines.

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