9 Best Places and Things To Do in Payson, Arizona

Payson, Arizona is a charming town located in the heart of the state, nestled in the majestic Mogollon Rim. The area is rich in natural beauty, with stunning mountains, canyons, and forests, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the best places and things to do in Payson, Arizona:

1. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park


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This park is home to one of the world’s largest natural travertine bridges, and it offers stunning views and a unique hiking experience. Visitors can take the short trail down to the base of the bridge and explore the various caves and formations.

2. Rim Country Museum

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This museum is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the Payson area. It features exhibits on local Native American tribes, early settlers, and the impact of mining and ranching on the region.

3. Green Valley Park

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This park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. It features a lake, walking paths, picnic areas, and a playground. The park is a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather.

4. Shoofly Village Ruins


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For those interested in Native American history, the Shoofly Village Ruins offer a glimpse into the ancient culture of the area. Visitors can explore the ruins of a 13th-century Salado village and learn about the architecture and way of life of the ancient inhabitants.

5. Horton Creek Trail

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This scenic hiking trail offers stunning views of the Mogollon Rim and leads visitors through a beautiful forested area. The trail is moderately challenging and offers plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery.

6. Tonto Fish Hatchery

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The Tonto Fish Hatchery is a great place to learn about the fish that are raised in the local streams and lakes. Visitors can tour the facility and see how the fish are raised before being released into the wild.

7. Water Wheel Falls

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Water Wheel Falls is a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole located near Payson, Arizona. The falls are located along the East Verde River and can be reached via a short hike from the Water Wheel Campground. The hike to the falls is relatively easy and takes about 20-30 minutes.

8. Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout

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Horton Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail located near Payson, Arizona. The trailhead is located off Forest Road 289, and the trail itself is about 4 miles roundtrip. The trail starts at an elevation of about 5,400 feet and gradually climbs through a beautiful forested area before reaching the creek. Along the way, hikers will pass through a variety of terrain, including rocky outcroppings, meadows, and dense forests.

9. Shoofly Indian Archaeological Site

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The Shoofly Indian Archaeological Site is a fascinating destination near Payson, Arizona, for anyone interested in Native American history and archaeology. The site is located on the Tonto National Forest and can be accessed via Forest Road 428. The site is believed to have been inhabited by the Salado people between the 12th and 14th centuries. The Salado were a prehistoric farming culture that inhabited the southwestern United States and were known for their intricate pottery and other crafts.

Payson, Arizona offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventure, or just relaxing in a beautiful natural setting, there’s something for everyone in this charming Arizona town.