Known as “The Heart of Arizona,” Payson Arizona is an nature lover’s dream. In 1884 when the town was founded, Payson hosted its first rodeo and has continued their annual rodeo every year for the past 130 years. It is therefore known as the “world’s oldest continuous rodeo.”
Fishing and Camping
When it comes to natural beauty, Payson can not be topped. If you enjoy fishing or just the beauty of the lake, there are plenty to visit. If you are in the mood for trout fishing you could try your pole at Green Valley Lake or Black Canyon. If you are interested in the big catch, you might want to test your skills at Chevelon Lake, which is home to the largest fish in the Rim. If great camping is what you are after, try pitching a tent at, Woods Canyon Lake, or Roosevelt lake, which are all equipped with paved roads, campground facilities and park areas.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities
If hiking or site seeing are your activities of choice, there are more options than you can choose from. You can take a drive, bike or hike up to the Top of Mongolian Rim, for a view of the canyons and natural beauty of the landscape. Or relax on a visit to the Verde Hot Springs, which is home to two natural hot springs reaching up to 100 degrees. For a relaxing getaway take a drive to see some of Payson’s natural landmarks, such as the Granite Dells or Tonto Natural Bridge, or spend the day at Verde Hot Springs and enjoy two natural springs whose temperatures reach up to 100 degrees.
History and Archeology
For those history buffs out there, you could start with a stop by the Zane Grey Museum, which honors the famous writer and Arizonian who wrote 13 novels about the Rim Country. If your interest extends to Native American history, you can stop at the Rim Country Museum, the Shoofly Indian Ruins, or to the monument for the Battle of Big Dry Walsh which is the site of one of the famous US-Apache battles. You can also see Arizona’s oldest standing schoolhouse, The Strawberry Schoolhouse, built in 1884 the year the town was founded. Archaeological enthusiasts can try their hand at fossil hunting at the Paleo site. The site was once covered by shallow seas more than 300 million years ago and is home to many fossils from a variety of semi-aquatic and terrestrial reptiles.
Fun for the Family
If you are out with the family take them for some fun at Pirates Cove, a miniature golf course and recreation center. Take the kids to Rancho Tonot Catch -A- Trout pond for a guaranteed catch every time, or take them for a pony ride at the Kohls Ranch Stable. Take in one of the many rodeos in the area known as “the birthplace of rodeos.” If you’re feeling adventurous, you and the family can enjoy a scenic view of the Rim country on an airplane ride, or go for a nice picnic in Green Valley Park located on historic main street.
Take in a movie at the Sawmill Theatre, or if you’re feeling lucky you could try your hand at blackjack or slots at the Mazatzal Casino. Grab a local meal at the high rated Buffalo Bar and Grill and take a visit to the Payson Candle Factory, or enjoy a day of antiquing. For the golf enthusiasts, play a few rounds at three of the nation’s top-rated golf courses.
Whether your passion is the outdoors, nature, history, or entertainment, Payson has all this to offer and more. A place for family, beauty and adventure.