Mogollon Rim

Adventure Rating

Nestled in the heart of Arizona’s breathtaking wilderness, the Mogollon Rim stands as a testament to the state’s rugged beauty and rich history. For vanlifers seeking adventure and tranquility amidst towering cliffs and lush forests, this iconic landmark offers an unforgettable escape into the wonders of nature.


The Mogollon Rim is a massive escarpment that stretches across central Arizona, spanning approximately 200 miles from Yavapai County to the New Mexico border. Rising up to 2,000 feet above the surrounding landscape, the rim offers stunning vistas of pine forests, deep canyons, and sprawling valleys below. It serves as a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wealth of recreational activities and natural wonders to explore.


Named after the Spanish colonial governor of New Mexico, Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, the rim has long been an important landmark in Arizona’s history. Native American tribes, including the Apache and Yavapai, once called this area home, utilizing its resources for hunting, gathering, and spiritual practices. Later, pioneers and settlers ventured westward, drawn to the region’s natural beauty and abundant resources.


Hiking is a popular activity for vanlifers looking to explore the rugged terrain of the Mogollon Rim. Numerous trails wind their way through the pine forests and rocky outcroppings, offering stunning views and opportunities for wildlife spotting. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, there’s a trail for every skill level and interest.

Boondocking & Camping

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, boondocking and camping opportunities abound along the Mogollon Rim. From secluded forest roads to designated campgrounds, vanlifers can find the perfect spot to set up camp and enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness. Be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment while camping in this pristine wilderness area.

Woods Canyon Lake

One of the hidden gems of the Mogollon Rim is Woods Lake, a serene alpine lake nestled amidst towering pine trees. Vanlifers can enjoy fishing, kayaking, or simply relaxing by the water’s edge, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The lake offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring the rim.

Mogollon Rim Visitor Center

For those looking to learn more about the history and natural wonders of the Mogollon Rim, the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center serves as an excellent starting point. Here, visitors can find information on hiking trails, camping areas, and points of interest, as well as exhibits highlighting the region’s geology, flora, and fauna.


Before embarking on your adventure to the Mogollon Rim, be sure to check current road and weather conditions, as some areas may be inaccessible during certain times of the year. Additionally, remember to pack plenty of water, food, and supplies, as services may be limited in remote areas. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and abundance of outdoor activities, the Mogollon Rim offers vanlifers an unforgettable journey into the heart of Arizona’s wilderness.

It’s a privilege to have Mogollon Rim for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.


To get from Phoenix to the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center, follow these directions:

1. Head east on I-10 E from Phoenix.
2. Continue on I-10 E for approximately 60 miles.
3. Take exit 176 for AZ-87 N toward Payson.
4. Merge onto AZ-87 N and continue for about 64 miles.
5. Upon reaching Payson, stay on AZ-87 N and follow signs for Pine and Strawberry.
6. Continue on AZ-87 N for approximately 30 miles.
7. After passing through Pine, watch for signs for the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center.
8. Turn left onto Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) at the sign for the visitor center.
9. Follow Forest Road 300 for about 2 miles until you reach the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center on your left.

References and Links:


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