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Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail

★★☆☆☆ Easy / Payson Area:

Strolling along this gently winding rim trail is like being plopped inside a scenic viewfinder (with no quarters required)! With flashback-worthy views spanning endlessly from trail to horizon, the Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail is a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon Rim Trail. Skirting a ridiculously scenic stretch of Arizona’s 200-mile-long Mogollon Rim.


TRAILHEAD: Mogollon Campground off of FOREST ROAD 300, MOGOLLON RIM    DIFFICULTY: EASY  •  DISTANCE: 3.5 MILES (7 miles rt)  •  APPROX. TIME: 3-4 HOURS  •  ELEVATION GAIN: MINIMAL  •  APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 900-1,050  •  BEST TIME OF YEAR: APRIL – OCT.  •  PETS: YES •  KID FRIENDLY: yes  •  FACILITIES: YES (at campground)  •  FEES: None

Landscape, View. Hiker Overlook, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim Trail, Rim Lakes Vista Hiking TrailTwo Hikers. Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim Trail, Rim Lakes Vista Hiking TrailIndeed, every curve in the easy Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail floods the senses with incredible hundred-mile views of deep canyon walls and pristine mountain ranges stretching out from beneath the edge of the Mogollon rim. Starting at the western end of the trail (accessed via the Mogollon Campground), the first mile is universally accessible: paved and dotted by three jaw-droppingly gorgeous overlooks (ideal for taking postcard-perfect selfies). With available parking at each overlook, expect to encounter “drive-through” visitors, hopping in and out of their cars to quickly take in the scenery, before zooming off to the next.

Landscape, View, Arizona Plateau, Rim Lakes Trail, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim, Rim Lakes Vista Hiking TrailLandscape, View, Mountain Biker, Rim Lakes Vista Trail, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona, Rim Lakes Vista Hiking TrailAfter this highly popular first mile the Rim Lakes Vista Hiking trail sheds its pavement, and becomes much more tranquil. Here you’ll encounter craggy canyon top stone outcroppings, lovely mountain flowers, hawks soaring overhead, occasional mountain bikers, and views that refuse to give up. 

Landscape, View, Arizona Plateau, Red Flowers, Rim Lakes Vista Trail, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon, Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail RimThere are trailheads at both the Mogollon Campground (at its western end) and the Rim Lakes Parking area (on its eastern end).

Total Nerdery 

The Mogollon Rim extends across central Arizona from Sedona to the border of New Mexico. 1-17 slices right through it near Sedona. The Mogollon Rim is the second most lightening struck area in the world, so skidaddle if there are dark clouds and thunder!

Resources

Click here to download a trail map

Directions From the intersection of 89A and 260 (in Payson), take 260 east for 30 miles to Forest Road 300 / Rim Road (located on the left side of the road – directly across from the Mogollon Rim Visitor Information Center). Turn left / north on FR 300 and drive 7 miles to the Mogollon Rim Camp Ground, where the trailhead for the Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail begins.

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