Rim Road

Payson, Arizona (Coconino County)

Last Updated: 12/29/2021
4.8 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
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Highlight: Rim Road
You will not even believe you are in Arizona if you drive on the Rim Road. You will travel through two Arizona national forests but this area looks more like Colorado as you travel along at 7,000+ feet all day. In fact, you'll see sights from the rim that are only surpassed by the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Plan on spending a good long day on this road as you'll stop frequently to smell the pine, listen to the wind rustling through the trees, and be stunned by the scenic vistas that await you. Just bought a four-wheeler? Looking for a passenger car appropriate adventure? The Rim Trail has everything you need. Need a cool place to camp? You'll find hundreds of developed, and even more dispersed camping spots in these two forests. Keep a sharp eye out for the abundant elk, and an elusive black bear that inhabit these woods.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Old Rim Rd Rim Visitor Center - Trail Start or End (0 mi)
Across the road from the trail-start point is the Rim Visitor Center. This is staffed by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and offers lots of useful information, including a paper copy of the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). It's a good idea to pick up a copy before venturing out. The Trail begins at the intersection of The Rim Trail​ (FR 300) and Highway 260. You will either make a left onto The Rim Trail or cross over from the visitor center.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: From Payson Arizona

Head east on AZ 260. Continue about 30 miles until you reach the point where the road climbs quickly up to the Rim Visitor Center. This is your start point. Cross the road to begin the Rim Trail. Alternatively, head north out of Payson on Highway 87, travel about 29 miles to the western Waypoint #64 if you choose to run this from West to East. The mile markers start on this end.



Land Use Issues

Several areas along the rim in the Sitgreaves National forest are closed for logging operations. About 75-80% of the trees are being 'harvested' to create more pasture land and manage destructive wildfires. This impacts several areas near Promontory Butte and FR 9350, Rim Wood Road.

Trail Reviews (11)

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Writer Information

Jim Long

Mapping Crew - Arizona

I moved to Arizona in 1984 and bought my first offroad vehicle the next year. I had lots of adventures, seeking out the Old West on paper topo maps in my Toyota FJ40 and can say, fortunately, that I never had to walk home. In 2005 I saw the prototype for the FJ Cruiser, and in the middle of my FJ40 resto project, someone came into my garage with cash and bought it out from under me. (Some regrets) In 2008, I flew out to LA to pick up my FJ Cruiser, special ordered with the Offroad Package (Locker) and MT6. My area of operations has been Southern Arizona, from the New Mexico to California borders. Unfortunately, the FJ Cruiser burned in a fire in August 2020. Now I'm building up from the ashes, literally, salvaged parts from the FJ are going on my Lexus GX470. SO, that's what's coming out next. I have been an active member of AZFJ.org where I'm the top post contributor, and have many trail reviews posted there that I plan on enhancing, revisiting and documenting for this authoritative source. I have a login to Ih8Mud and fjcruiserforums but don't lurk there very much. in my career, I've had the pleasure of traveling in Canada, the Caribbean, and Australia but never had the opportunity to wheel there. (bucket list). But, I hope my 30 years of Southern Arizona discovery, teaching and leading people into the backcountry will finally benefit a wider audience here on Trailsoffroad. There's nothing I enjoy more than finding a historic site, a little-used trail that had significance or the opportunity to take that one photo that defines what we do. (I stink but I'm willing to learn). Oh..Added benefit...I'm the GIS analyst for a fire dept and as such have some skills in ArcGIS.
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