How to get there: This trail can be completed in either direction, but we will be talking about driving it from east to west. From Payson, drive east on Highway 260. After 14.6 miles, turn left onto F.R. 64 (Control Road). The trail begins as you turn off the highway and cross over a cattle guard. If you want to drive the trail west to east, you’ll want to head north on Highway 87 for about 12 miles, then turn right onto F.R. 64.
The trail: From Highway 260, head west on the paved F.R. 64/Control Road. After a mile, stay left where a lesser road to the right leads to Tonto Village (some services available – no gas). The pavement ends just after the 2.0 mile mark as the road becomes a graded dirt road and heads downhill.
Numerous side trails and roads split off from the main road for the entire length of the trail. Many great opportunities for dispersed camping and additional exploring. At 4.3 miles, stay straight through the junction with F.R. 65. To the left is Diamond Point Lookout and Diamond Point Cave, one of many optional side trips. The road continues to wind, climb and drop through this next section. Due to high traffic, you should always be on alert. Stay straight again at 5.4 miles where F.R. 198 goes left and leads towards Pyeatt Draw Trail (difficult), Houston Mesa Rd. and eventually back to Payson.
The trail remains wide and graded, with occasional sections of washboard and one lane bridges. The views get progressively better as you near the rim. At 13.3 miles, you’ll come to a small junction. Stay right here where Houston Mesa Rd. goes left towards Payson and numerous campgrounds. A brief climb is followed by another downhill section. Stay straight over a bridge at another junction at 17.5 miles. The trail continues to have many great views off to the right as it passes numerous other lesser roads. After a few more windy sections, the trail comes to an abrupt end at Highway 87 at 23.3 miles. Turn left to get back to Payson. Right goes towards Pine, Strawberry, and onto the Mogollon Rim where more trails await.
Summary/Trail Ratings: It doesn’t get much easier than this. Just about any car can complete this trail in dry weather. We’ve rated this trail a ‘1’ out of ‘10’. Allow for about an hour to complete the trail from end to end. With numerous other roads and trails to explore, both with a vehicle and on foot, use this trail as a base for a longer, weekend trip. In the winter, this trail can accumulate snow which can make it more difficult. Consider combining this trail with Rim Road (F.R. 300) for a long loop over and around the Mogollon Rim.
Status: Open | Trail Type: Point-to-point | Length: 23 miles one way | Approx. Time: 1-2 hours
Drive 23 miles along the base of the scenic Mogollon Rim on this easy trail connecting Highway 260 and Highway 87. With countless other trails and campsites, this trail offers a great starting point for a weekend trip.
Page last updated: 11/22/2016