Arizona May 28, 2019
9 Reasons Why You’ll Want To Plan A Trip To This Delightful Arizona Small Town
Ninety minutes north of Phoenix awaits a small town that promises to delight any visitor. Beautiful in any season,
Payson, Arizona is the perfect destination for an unforgettable adventure in Rim Country. This laid-back mountain town hosts an array of exciting events year round and features outdoor attractions for every kind of explorer. From camping to rodeos, food festivals and mud races, here are 9 reasons why you’ll want to plan a trip to this delightful Arizona small town:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Western history is still alive.
Payson's historic Main Street and local museums are nothing short of delightful. Walking down Main Street, you'll learn how, through careful revitalization and historic preservation, Payson has grown from its beginnings as a rough and tumble cow town to an Arizona favorite. As you walk Main Street, be sure to browse antique shops, enjoy local restaurants, and get to know the friendly locals who call this place home. Stop by any place that piques your interest, and you’ll leave with a lovely souvenir and likely, an even better story. Before you go too far, you’ll want to check out historical gems,
Deming Pioneer Plaza
and Payson’s first jailhouse (on the same corner, but slightly up the street). With the beautiful and mild weather in Payson, you can enjoy a walk all the way down Main Street to the
Rim Country Museum
Zane Grey Cabin
, both located at Green Valley Park.
2. You'll love to spend a day at Green Valley Park.
Follow Historic Main Street to its East end, and you’ll find the crown jewel of Payson: Green Valley Park. Featuring beautiful walking trails, picnic areas, and even boating and fishing facilities, Green Valley Park is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Before you call it a day, do what the locals would: sit on the dock on the south end of the park and watch the sun set to the west, reflecting on the water. Throughout the summer season, this area hosts all sorts of events, including the 4th of July Celebration, the annual Food Truck Festival, and even a classic car show! Every Saturday evening in June and July, join the community for a free concert in the park where families can enjoy live music in the cool mountain air. To learn more about Green Valley Park and some of the local events held there,
3. You can challenge yourself at the Mogollon Monster Mudda.
Have you ever dreamed of running, swimming, and even jumping in mud while you race towards the finish line? It's an experience hard to describe, but Payson's Mogollon Monster Mudda Mud Run is one of the most beloved events of the year. The obstacles are undoubtedly challenging, but you'll find friends and neighbors cheering you on for the whole race. Included in the event you’ll find different heat times, specialty heats, a Kidz Mudda, and even a chance to win $1,000! For more information about how you can register for the race on June 22nd, be sure to
4. Payson has one of the most festive Fourth of July Celebrations in the state.
Celebrate Independence Day with a fun-filled celebration at Green Valley Park. Festivities include a patriotic ceremony, food vendors, kid and family games, a pie eating contest, live music, and, of course, fireworks over the lake. And that's just Thursday! Learn more about this 4-day celebration by
5. The annual Food Truck Festival is absolutely amazing.
Imagine food trucks parked bumper to bumper, circling an oasis of green grass, a kid’s play zone, a beer and wine garden, and all of the best food smells you can imagine. That's exactly what you can expect from the Payson Food Truck Fest, scheduled for August 3rd from 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Green Valley Park. Sample the delicious offerings from more than 18 food trucks and vendors that set up camp in the park. You can look forward to everything from BBQ to lobster, burgers, shaved ice, sandwiches, and local coffee to keep you fueled all day. There will be live music and plenty of entertainment all day long. And the best news? Admission is free! For more information about the event,
6. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.
A trip to Payson isn’t complete without a visit to one of the best State Parks in Arizona. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is a short 10 miles north of Payson on Highway 87, nestled among the Ponderosa Pine trees. An adventurer’s paradise, this natural travertine bridge offers trails for any level of hiker, and the views never disappoint. Depending on where you stand, you’ll likely be able to catch a rainbow in the falling mist. If you visit, be sure to pack plenty of water and don't forget your camera! Stay up to date with information on closures by
7. You’ve never seen a view like the Mogollon Rim.
Whether you’re a traveler or lucky enough to call Payson home, the Mogollon Rim views are guaranteed to take your breath away. Standing on "The Rim" (as locals call it), taking in the views, and enjoying the sounds of nature, you’ll feel yourself begin to slow down and appreciate the pace adapted by those in the Rim Country. To reach this gorgeous lookout point, follow Highway 260 heading East out of Payson for about 30 miles, then turn left on Forest Road 300. Feel free to pack a lunch, and always bring water when you’re traveling. Be sure to bring your camera, because this is a view you’ll be talking about for years to come.
8. The hiking trails are positively breathtaking.
Payson boasts some of the most ruggedly beautiful views in the state, and the best way to experience the landscape is by hiking through it. Payson is surrounded by three national forests, which encompass nearly 900 miles of trails. The options may be overwhelming at first, but rest assured that any trail you choose will be a beautiful one. Locals love trails both in town limits and on the Mogollon Rim, namely
and Peach Orchard. For a more strenuous trail that promises to impress, check out the iconic
. This challenging hike promises the reward of breathtaking views and a fascinating insight into Payson's railroad history. In the 1880's, plans were made to excavate a tunnel through the Rim. Plans fell through, but the tunnel can still be seen and explored today. Not sure which trail is right for you? Find out more about each one by
9. You can experience the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo.
A beloved tradition for over 130 consecutive years, the annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo features bull riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing. This year, the three-day event starts on August 15th and promises entertainment for everyone involved. You'll soon see why the event has been deemed the best small rodeo in the U.S. Be sure to
for the family, because the stands fill up quickly. For more information,
No matter your reason for venturing to this portion of Arizona, your trip is bound to be a memorable one. Have you visited Payson, Arizona recently? If so, we’d love to hear all about your experience there! For more information, dates and locations of events, and more, be sure to visit the official
Town of Payson tourism website.