Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Rim

We planned a late departure on Sunday because we had already researched our new destination and wanted to arrive after all the weekenders had gone. Maybe we waited a little too long since it looked like we were heading into a storm.

However, we only hit a light drizzle and it cleared up before we arrived at our journey's end. Although I don't always share exactly where we are parked, this place is unbelievable and I'll make an exception.

Arizona 260 between Heber and Payson is a spectacular drive. Driving east from Payson, you are treated to views of the Mogollon Rim, the edge of the massive Colorado Plateau. Thirty miles from Payson, you arrive at the top of the Rim. Stop at the visitor center, which is just east of mile marker 282, but not well marked. They have plenty of parking and this wonderful view.

That is Four Peaks in the distance which is near Phoenix.

Pick up the Rim Lakes Recreation Area brochure/map which shows all the Forest Service campgrounds in the area. BUT if you're like us - cheap and don't mind driving on dirt roads - the important information on the map is the list of bookdocking sites.

Now here's the really important part - write this down. We have done all the research and the best boondocking area is along FR9350. The road is not too bad, it's right along the rim, there are 42 huge spots scattered along the 1 1/2 mile road, and, of course, it's FREE! You do have to pay to dump (both tanks and trash), but water is free and nearby (about 3 miles).

This is the one that was perfect for us - lots of sun, satellite TV friendly, good phone service. We're across the road from the actual Rim. We passed on that side because of the wind factor, although it was a tough call.

We took a walk down the road and liked the sun/cloud show.

The next morning, it was obvious we were actually in the clouds at 7600 feet. The day continued to be rather dreary.

But the following morning was perfect with just a few clouds in the distance. This is the view just across the road from us.

I went for a hike by myself since Ron was not feeling quite up to par. Hey, I hope this isn't bear scat! (After seeing the picture, Ron said it looked like elk to him.)

I took the trail to Carr Lake which we had been told wasn't really a lake. I assume this is it.

I just liked the look of this stump and fern grouping.

Hey! There is some water in Carr Lake! There were lots of interesting tracks around the pond. I didn't see any bear though.

I circled around and came back to the rim. Yes, you're going to see a lot of pictures of it, although my photos don't do it justice. It is just magnificent.

When I got home, I found Ron fixing the potholes in our drive. I guess he was feeling better.


  1. Thanks so much for the great boondocking spot! All of the info has been duly noted and stowed for future use. :D

    I liked your photo of what you *thought* was Carr Lake.

  2. I really loved the area around Payson, all those tall pines and the cool air! You guys got a wonderful spot!!! I love all the photos, especially the one of the clouds n light in the sky, that one has a great composition!!
    I think Ron is right thats looks to be deer or elk,...I have a photo here of some bear scat if you want to

  3. What incredible views! Thanks for sharing the "secret" location, it's on our bucket list now.

    You're not missing your house now, are you? ;c)

  4. Loved the pictures! The rim is really special. MISS YOU GUYS!!!

  5. Keep your map handy, I'd like a copy. Looks like a wonderful area.

  6. Thanks for the boondocking tip. Bear scat looks like tar. I know because bears left a lot of scat on my porch in the mountains.

  7. Thanks for the photos. We'll have to check out the Rim area--though we probably won't boondock. Maybe a long day's drive?

  8. Awesome! I am drooling with boon docking envy. Thanks for sharing.