2-3 Hour Trips
Ash Creek to Verde River
This trip takes you down picturesque Ash Creek, a tributary to the East Verde River. Ash Creek flows through a small, but rugged canyon with an abundance of vegetation and fifty foot high cliffs. Portions of the creek provide year-round water source for wildlife. The road makes several water crossings. During the warmer months, we can stop for a pleasant dip in the awesome pools of the East Verde River. The swimming hole offers white boulders, waterfalls and deep, cool pools. This is a special place for the adventurous heart.
Hagler Creek Tour
We will leave Payson and head East to the old Colcord Road and then we will head on down the Cumberland Trail to Young Arizona. Turning off of the Cumberland Trail your guide will take you on a back road most 4×4’s only do once. Meandering down this wonderful old road will bring us to the pristine Hagler Creek. At this spot you will note beautiful deep pools and a dense evergreen forest. This is where the last of the large Ponderosa Pine still inhabit (Some 300 + years). Next, we will depart the vehicle and hike up Hagler Creek Canyon enjoying the wonderful Aquarian area. We will hike to an abandoned Gold mine. This trip is a full three hours.
Top of the Moggolon Rim Tour
This trip travels to the top of the Mogollon Rim on State Highway 260, then takes the Rim Road (Forest Road 300) west, following the route of the historic General Crook Trail. You will hear about the history of the Mogollon Rim and walk part of the Famous Wagon Train Trail. The route takes side trips to Woods Canyon Lake, and to a spectacular viewpoint on the end of Promontory Point. From the top of Promontory Point a person can see 130 miles on a clear day! This trip can only be taken during the warmer months of the year, as the road is closed due to snow and mud during the wintertime.
A metate is a groove worn into flat rock surface by the actions of early American Indian’s grinding nuts and grains between stones. Metate Canyon has numerous examples of these along the tops of cliffs at the edge of the canyon. This trip visits 800 year old Indian ruins and a long abandoned gold panner’s cabin. This is an excellent trip for you if you’re interested in a true adventure tour. Portions are very tight and brushy. Riders will want to keep a sharp lookout for “hostile” tree branches!
3-4 Hour Trips
Crackerjack Mine – Doll Baby Loop
This trip is for folks who want a good overall view of the wild country north and west of Payson. This scenic 4X4 trip makes numerous water crossings, passes a gold mine, traverses deep canyons, provides sixty-mile vistas and a spectacular view of Milk Ranch Point. Riders will visit the historic Cracker Jack mine, a gold mine that was active from 1880 to 1957. Leaving the Cracker Jack mine, the 4X4 road becomes very scenic, with panoramic views of the Mazatal Wilderness Area. The tour crosses the East Verde River the last item at the historic Doll Baby Ranch.
4-5 Hour Trips
The Young Trail
This trip is a favorite for folks who are interested in the history of the young/Pleasant Valley area, the site of the Graham-Tewksberry Feud, which lasted from 1887 to 1892. The route follows the old Chamberlain Trail across Haigler Creek Canyon to Young. It includes a stop at the historic Antlers Bar before returning to Payson. It includes pine forests, deep canyons and big views. This tour passes over some of the most beautiful ranch land in Arizona.
All Day Trips
Across the Rim Road
This trip travels the entire length of the Rim Road across the top of the Mogollon Rim. We travel east from Strawberry following the historic General Crook Trail. The views from the edge of the Rim are absolutely spectacular. The old 1880s wagon roads can still be clearly seen in places. There are numerous viewpoints and historic points of interest along the route. We have lunch at the half waypoint. This trip can only be taken during the warmer months of the year as the forest road is closed due to snow during Winter.
This is a true adventure along a dense forest trail. The route used is sponsored by the Rim Country 4 Wheelers. The road was once closed because it was too challenging for the average four-wheeler. Along the way you will be treated to wonderful views of Diamond Point and the Mogollon Rim. Once we’ve traversed the most challenging 4X4 portion, the tour will continue up Diamond Point. There, we’ll stop and try our luck at finding Quartz.
Rock Art Ranch
This a 1880 Ranch that was part of the old Hashkife Cattle Company. (Zane Gray wrote a book “The Hash Knife Outfit”) In fact they have the last remaining bunkhouses of the Hashknife Outfit. The ranch itself is still a working cattle ranch and has one of the finest pioneer, cowboy and Anasazi museums in the Southwest. The ranch also has canyon filled with petroglyphs. The archaeologists have studied these petroglyphs and noted they are some of the most unusual in the southwest.
Mescal Ridge Trail Hike
This is a beautiful hike right out of the pages Arizona Ames of Zane Grey. “Mescal ridge was high and long and winding and rough, yet its crest curved gracefully, open and bare, covered by many acres of silver grass, where flourished abundantly the short, spiked, pale green clusters of cactus – mescal, which gave the ridge its name.” The trek is for the above average hiker. The trail starts out by crossing Tonto Creek and climbing 1000 feet to the top of Mescal Ridge. The hike continues along Mescal Ridge to wonderful overlooks of Hellsgate Wilderness..
Donahue Trail Hike
This beautiful trail was built in 1880 to reach ranches at the base of the Mogollon Rim. The trail starts in a forest of Ponderosa Pine, Alligator Juniper and Live Oak. Within a 1/2 mile, the trail travels out of the forest canopy onto the Highline Trail. The surface of the trail now becomes littered with moderate sized pieces of basalt (volcanic rock) that has broken off from Milk Ranch Point above. The Donahue trail veers north off the Highline Trail and climbs steeply up Milk Ranch Point. This part of the trail is rough from years of erosion. The trails crests the hill atop Milk Ranch Point with spectacular views of the city of Pine, the Mazatal Mountains, the Sierra Ancha Mountains and Mount Ord. This hike is for the above average hiker. Access to the Donahue Trail can also be made from the top of Milk Ranch Point. This route is less strenuous.
Diamond Point Trail Hike & 4×4 tour
This is for the above average hiker! The trail starts on an old road just east of Star Valley. The trek traverses Lion Springs Draw and winds through dense forest of Ponderosa Pine, Alligator Juniper, Arizona Oak and Pinion Pine. After about 1/2 mile, the trail joins an old dirt road on the way to Diamond Springs. At Diamond Springs, there are some of the largest Alligator Juniper this writer has even seen. At the dirt road’s end, a hiking trail takes us to the top of Diamond Point (elevation 6380 feet). At this point, there is an old cave to explore and then a leisurely return.