Bordering central Arizona’s dramatic Mogollon Rim, hikes in the Payson area (as well as Pine, Strawberry and Heber-Overgaard) are surprisingly lush. Trails in this temperate region ascend pine filled slopes, hop-scotch babbling streams and reveal cold, clear springs and hidden waterfalls. Atop the dramatic Mogollon rim, intimate lakes are plentiful and astounding views stretch for hundreds-of-miles, from rim to horizon. Mileage noted below, is one way.

Scroll down to explore Payson area hikes by difficulty. Click hike names for full details.

Easy Payson Area Hikes


Landscape, Teens, Fossil Creek, Waterfall, Arizona, Coconino Forest, Fossil Creek Waterfall Trail, Mogollon Rim Hikes, AZ, Payson area★★★☆☆ Fossil Creek, Waterfall Hiking Trail / East of Camp Verde / 1.2 miles

Blink your eyes (on this crazy short hike) and you’ll have arrived in paradise! A gushing waterfall and turquoise blue pools at the end of this trail are feasts for the senses. Frolicking in these deliciously icy waters is incredible.


Spring, Water, Moss, Rocks, Payson, Arizona. Horton Spring, Horton Creek Hiking Trail, Mogollon Rim Hikes, AZ, Payson area★★★☆☆ Horton Creek Hiking Trail / East of Payson / 3.5 miles

Like Mother Nature’s “water cooler”, Horton Spring gushes cold, crystal-clear water and chilly air year-round. This trail follows Horton Creek to its fresh water source. A touch of bliss during Arizona’s hot Summers.


Lanscape, Two Boys, Tonto Natural Bridge, Waterfall, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim Hikes, AZ, Payson area★★★★☆ Pine & Gowan Hiking Trail Loop, Tonto Natural Bridge / South of Pine / 0.92 mile loop

Shiver and squeal, as ice cold droplets fall from the 14-story-high natural bridge overhead! This short loop hike mashes-up an exhilarating blend of desert, creek, cave and waterfall fun.


Landscape, View. Young Hiker Overlook, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim Trail, Mogollon Rim Hikes, AZ, Payson area★★☆☆☆ Rim Lakes Vista Hiking Trail / Mogollon Rim / 3.5 miles

You might wonder if you’ve been plopped inside an gigantic viewfinder on this incredibly scenic, easy rim trail. Flashback-worthy views span for hundreds of miles – from rim to horizon.


See Spring Hiking Trail; See Canyon, Payson; Arizona; Mogollon Rim; Easy Hiking Trails; Pet Friendly HIking Trails; Family Friendly Hiking Trails; Central Arizona; Stream; Spring; Moss; Ferns; Greenery; Forest; Copyright; No use without permission.★★★☆☆ See Spring Hiking Trail / Christopher Creek / 1.5 miles

Explore a babbling creek and gushing springs on this shady, family-friendly hike. The trail criss-crosses lush Christopher Creek and leads to a series of cascading springs on the base of the Mogollon Rim.


Water Wheel Hiking Trail; Payson; Arizona; Easy Hikes; Water Hikes; Waterfall; Swimming Hole; Hikers; Cliffs; Arizona Summer Hikes★★★★★ Water Wheel Hiking Trail / Easy / North of Payson / 1.6 miles

This short hike ends at a gushing cascade and icy swimming hole. Along its rustic river pathway, it passes dramatic waterfalls and deep gorges.


Landscape, View,Woods Canyon Hiking Trail, Kayak, Woods Canyon Lake, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona, Mogollon Rim Hikes, AZ, Payson area★★★☆☆ Woods Canyon Lake Hiking Trail Loop / Mogollon Rim / 3.7 mile loop

Traverse a bog on a log. Skip stones. And walk under an eagle’s nest on this peaceful lakeside trail. With no motorboats allowed, you’ll hear only the muffled sounds of fishermen, kayakers and folks out having fun.


Moderate Payson Area Hikes


A landscape view of a small cave at the base of a sandstone cliff along West Clear Creek, off of the Maxwell Hiking Trail outside of Flagstaff and Strawberry, Arizona. Moderate Arizona hiking trails. Flagstaff area hiking trails. Arizona hiking trails with water. Copyright AZUtopia. No use without permission.★★★☆☆ Maxwell Hiking Trail / North of Strawberry / 0.7 miles

A string of crisp, clear swimming holes dot the creek at the base of West Clear Creek Canyon. Starting from the rim, a short, steep descent leads to a pristine canyon base.


View of trees, cliff and shrubs from inside of the Railroad Tunnel. Off of the Railroad Tunnel Hiking Trail, on the Mogollon Rim, near Payson, Arizona. Copyright No use without permission. ★★★☆☆ Railroad Hiking Trail / East of Strawberry / 1.5 miles

Explore an abandoned railroad tunnel at the end of this short Mogollon Rim Hike. This trail works its way down and around a moderately steep ravine – to a shady stone tunnel with sweet rim views!


Stream; Babbling Brook; Rocks; Moss; Ferns; Grass; Forest; Greenery; See Canyon Hiking Trail; See Spring Hiking Trail, Payson; Arizona; Mogollon Rim; Moderate Hiking Trails; Pet Friendly HIking Trails; Central Arizona; Copyright; No use without permission.★★★☆☆ See Canyon Hiking Trail / Christopher Creek / 3.5 miles

Creeks, cool forests and Mogollon Rim views are just a few of the perks on this pretty hike. This trail can be hiked bottom to top, or top to bottom. Either way, it’s is loaded with many of the Rim’s best features.


Difficult Payson Area Hikes


Hiker; Waterfall; Spring Snowmelt; Red Cliffs; Rocks; Matzatzal Mountains; Barnhardt Hiking Trail; Payson; Arizona; Difficult Hiking Trails. Copyright No use without permission.★★★★★Barnhardt Hiking Trail / South of Payson  / 6 miles

Spring waterfalls are the sweet reward for this trek up a gorgeous Mazatzal Mountain valley. While elongated views make it a bucket list worthy hike year round.