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Back Road   > Mogollon Rim Rd

view off rim

Mogollon Rim Road
FR 300

Back Road Travel

Left: Forest Road 300: Rim Road
Dirt road often skirts cliff edge

CLICK HERE for map

For those without a fear of heights. Skirt the edge of the great Mogollon Rim, towering 2,000 feet above the pine forest below. Visit sites of several famous battles of the old west (such as Battle of Big Dry Wash). General Crook's trail runs near Rim Road. Grave sites of pioneers dot the forest. Evidence of the 1990 Dude fire provides a clear understanding of the devastation nature can unleash. Experience wildlife and the magnificent forest in a way that is only possible on this back road.

The Mogollon Rim runs for approximately 200 miles and stands over 7,000 ft. high, towering over the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world. Rim Road (forest road 300)skirts the edge of the rim and runs a distance of over 40 miles, reaching a height of 8,074 feet at Baker Butte. Except for 3 miles on the east end, the road is dirt/gravel. This part of the road can become slippery and dangerous when wet. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for FR 300; several side roads require a high clearance vehicle. We made the trip in a Hyundai Sonata on a clear, dry day; however weather can change quickly. Monsoon rains (July and August) or snow can turn the road into a muddy challenge.
ferns along Rim Road

In several areas the road is mere feet from the edge of the cliff. Drive slowly and carefully.

The west end of Rim Road is in the Coconino National Forest; the east side lies in the Sitgreaves National Forest. Parts of FR 300 pass through the Tonto National Forest, which lies to the south of the rim.

Intersted in seeing the Mogollon Rim area, but not quite ready for this drive? Not a problem. You can experience the rim from a paved road with view points and paved, wheelchair accessible trail on the east end.

Go to: Mogollon Rim
for more information.

Rim Road sign We traveled from west to east along FR 300. We averaged 20 MPH and made the trip in 5 hours (with several stops). Allow 6-7 hours. Do not attempt this drive in wet conditions.

Drive north on Hwy 87 from Strawberry. Turn right (east) onto FR 300. The road sneaks in and out of the forest as it wanders back and forth from the cliff edge. The forest floor was covered with a beautiful carpet of ferns on the day we made this drive (July 07 - above right).

Fees are required for staying in campgrounds. Camping is permitted outside of campgrounds within 300 feet of the road; permits are not required.

road conditions
The road is well maintained, but be aware of side ditches that have been created to handle water run-off.
Rim Road

Dude Fire Area Dude fire area
Dude Fire Area

rim road

Evidence of the 1990 Dude fire can be seen in various places along the rim.
fire area

Special Tips

Traveling with children, pets or special needs

Vista Trail accessibility information   Accessibility
The east side of FR 300 on the Mogollon Rim can be reached by automobile, on 3 miles of paved roads.

The Vista Trail (left) is paved and wheelchair accessible. Handicap parking is available for the viewpoint and trail.

A private, handicap accessible restroom is located on the east end of FR 300 (near where it meets hwy 260), on the north side of the road. There is also a wheelchair accessible restroom located just outside the Visitor's Center. The visitor's center is on Hwy 260, where 260 meets FR 300.

The Visitor's Center itself is wheelchair accessible.

A private, primitive accessible restroom is also located in the parking lot at Knoll Lake, which is about 4 miles off the main road of FR 300. It receives heavy use, so bring your own toilet paper.

accessibility information  Traveling with children
As you can see from the photo, small children must not be allowed to run free near the rim edge. There are no guard rails and the drop is over 2,000 feet. A safer area to play would be the 32 acre Green Valley park in Payson which offers 3 lakes, play areas, 17 acres of turf and 4 miles of walking trails. The lakes are stocked by the the Arizona fish and game department, so bring your pole and fishing license.

The numerous lakes up on the rim provide fishing (license required), boating and hiking. The forest provides "primitive camping" - a favorite form of entertainment for children.

travel with pets  Traveling with pets
For your pet's safety, use a leash at all times. A pet could easily tumble over the side of the cliff.

Nearby Payson provides an off-leash Dog Park. Located on McLane Road in Rumsey Park just north of the Payson Library, this park provides a fun, safe place for your dog to run and play without a leash. See "resources" below for more information.

Leashed pets are allowed on the forest trails unless otherwise posted. Clean up after your pets. Follow safety precautions regarding your pet. Bring plenty of water, allow ample rest, watch for signs of exhaustion, hunger, dehydration etc.

Directions & Resources

From the Phoenix area, take hwy 87 north to Payson. Go east on hwy 260, or continue north on 87/260 through Pine and Strawberry. FR 300 connects 87 north of Srawberry to 260 east of Christopher Creek, allowing a complete loop through the area.

USDA site: Coconino National Forest
USDA site: Tonto National Forest
Recreation.gov Make reservations for national park recreation activities.
inpayson.com Paws In The Park program information

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