The town of Payson is located approximately ninety minutes North East of Phoenix, AZ in the heart of Arizona’s Rim Country. So, when my friend reached out asking to go camping since she is new to the 4runner crew, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take her to my first solo camping area–The Mogollon Rim. Along with that came 4Runner Community – who found me through Instagram and asked if I’d do a trip report for AZ. My first respond was, “I don’t take very cool trips.” Their response, “Just have fun and tell us where you went.” So here you go…

The Mogollon Rim

To get to The Mogollon Rim from Phoenix you take the 87 N starting in desert, to the 260 E and 120 minutes later you’ll end up surrounded by tall pine trees. One of my favorite places to be. The contrasting colors of The Rims’ beautiful cliffs and green foliage are a gorgeous site to see. I highly recommend taking some time to explore as the possibilities are endless for camping and hiking trails.

Rim Driving

When you arrive at The Rim, depending on when you go, you will be fighting for that perfect Rim spot. If you cannot find one, there are tons of Forest Service roads to veer off and find a spot where the wifi is sometimes non-existent. During this time of year when it’s 100º+ in the Valley of the Sun, everyone wants to get away. Since finding a spot can be very difficult, we ended up off the actual Rim under some good coverage of pine trees; the perfect spots for hammock hangs.

Erica Car

That night, after we finally got set up and made burgers for dinner, the sky was crystal clear and full of stars. The temperature was cold (around 50º) but I was plenty warm inside #bellethe4runner.

Erica in Belle

Rim Road

The next morning we woke up to the warm sun peeking through the trees, took out our cold brew and just sat enjoying the peace and quiet along with the chillier temperatures. We were about to make breakfast and ended up being swarmed by bees, luckily neither of us were stung, but we decided to leave.

Morning 4Runners

The decision was made to drive Rim Road for the rest of the 44 miles to the North side of Payson through two smaller towns (Strawberry, AZ and Pine, AZ). By this time we were HUNGRY and decided to stop for some food at a local café in Pine. The two of us wanted to enjoy the tad bit cooler weather and she had her pup with her so we decided to sit on the patio. We ended up sitting by a through-hiker who had just finished hiking 27 miles the day before. We chatted and laughed with him while eating and finished our trip by stopping at the local farmers market and a fudge shop.

If you ever decided to come to AZ to check out “The Rim”, please pack out what you pack in and be obedient to fire restrictions! Arizona is still a desert and us natives do not want to lose our privileges to have fires in some parts of the state.

Trip Report Author:


Erica Nichols
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” – Henry David Thoreau

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