Payson's Historic Oxbow Inn & Saloon

Payson Attractions

Payson is part of Arizona's Rim Country, an area dominated by the large outcropping known as the Mogollon Rim. Rim Country is known for it's scenic views and outdoor recreation. With four mild seasons, and improved roadways, Payson provides an escape for evryone.

Ninety-seven percent of the land around Payson is under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service (Payson is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest) or by tribal governments. Consequently much of the land is available for outdoor activities.

Annual Arizona State Championship Old Time Fiddlers Contest: best fiddling in AZ by contestants aged 6-86, cowboy poets, storytellers, food, country & bluegrass music, Irish step-dancers, 21 Fiddle Salute at high noon both days, children's music workshop, crafts, fiddle makers, leather workers. Payson hosts this event in September. The fiddle contest features both local and nationally-known players and awards cash prizes.

Bird-watching: Migratory Canadian geese, a variety of wild ducks and even bald eagles nest in the Payson area.

Bowling: At Rim Country Lanes, 1109 N. Beeline Highway (Hwy 87). 16 lanes of bowling, lounge, arcade, snack bar, pro shop, online PC gaming and more

Casino: Mazatzal Casino is1/2 mile south of Payson on the Beeline Hwy (87) at Tonto Apache Indian Reservation. Over 300 Slots and video slot machines, Blackjack, Bingo and live Keno. Enjoy tasty food at the Cedar Ridge Restaurant. Apache Spirits Sports Bar, video arcade and Dream Catcher Gift Shop. Open 24 Hours / 7 Days a Week, 800/777-PLAY.

Fishing/Lakes/Swimming Holes: There is no point trying to seperate our fishing section from the lakes or swimming areas.

Bear Canyon Lake: One of the most primitive lakes in the area. Has a wider variety of trout species - Arctic grayling, brookies, cutthroat and rainbow. Rocky shoreline and no boat ramp. The small, I-shaped lake is off FR 89.

Black Canyon Lake: This small trout lake is at the end of FR 300, of Highway 260 between Payson and Heber. It is heavily stocked in the spring with rainbow trout and offers services for physically challenged anglers.

Blue Ridge Reservoir: Well stocked with brown and rainbow trout by the Game and Fish Department. Narrow and winding, this secluded lake is bordered by canyon walls and offers great hiking and mountain biking opportunities.

Chevelon Lake: Very primitive, this lake, which is 60 miles from Payson of FR 169, requires a one-mile hike to reach its 6-mile shoreline. The payoff is a plethora a fat brown trout. Recommended for experienced anglers only.

East Verde Estates: Good for fishing, pickniks, kids and swimming. 6 miles north of Payson on Highway 87, turn left on East Verde Estates Rd, parking on right. Water is shallow.

Flowing Springs Road: 5 miles north of Payson on Highway 87, turn right. Approximately ¾ mile to the Verde River crossing Great for kids and swimming

Knoll Lake: Very secluded and picturesque, Home to some of the best views on the Rim. Located 44 miles northeast of Payson, Knoll Lake is on FR 295E, off FR 300.

Water Wheel: Everyone should have a favorite swimming hole where you can swing on a rope into crystal-clear water and float under the shade of trees. Your cell phone will not work here. Hike a little ways up the rocks and you’ll find plenty of small pools and waterfalls. Wear water shoes to protect your feet from the rocks even if you don’t plan on any jumping. The rocks and mud on the bottom are easier to traverse with shoes. Take state Highway 87 through Payson to Houston Mesa Road/FR 199 for 7 miles. Parking is on the right. There are no bathrooms, so be sure to carry out your waste. It’s a good idea to check with the ranger station for water levels by calling (928) 474-7900.

Willow Springs Lake: This U-shaped lake features a boat ramp and is suited for bass and trout fishing. The lake is off Highway 260, seven miles from Rim Road junction.

Woods Canyon Lake: This lake has ample trout, and is a popular destination for Rim visitors. Located at the top of the Rim, 36 miles east of Payson on Highway 260, WCL.

Golf: We have three fabulous golf courses.

Golf Club At Chaparral Pines, Chaparral Pines Course
18 holes over 7,019 yards with a par of 72 (Private Non-Equity). 0 miles from the center of Payson.
504 N Club Dr, Payson, AZ 85541-2908. (928) 472-1430

The Rim Golf Club, Rim Course
18 holes over 7,193 yards with a par of 71 (Private Equity). 1 mile from the center of Payson.
300 S Club House, Payson, AZ 85541-5861. (888) 746-2582

Payson Golf Course, Payson Course
18 holes over 5,854 yards with a par of 71 (Public). 5 miles from the center of Payson.
1504 W Country Club Dr Payson, AZ 85541-4642. (928) 474-2273

Hunting: The Payson area is popular with hunters. For information on hunting in the Rim Country below the Mogollon Rim visit the Payson Ranger Station, 1/2 mile east of Payson to the Mogollon Rim on Highway 260. Licesnsing information is available at For more information see

Movies: Sawmill Theaters, 201 W. Main St., 928.468.7535

Parks: Payson has two large parks, Green Valley Park and Rumsey Park. The town hosts free outdoor concerts in the summer. Other activities include intramural sports like baseball and football. Payson also has a small skatepark.

Rumsey Park: North on Beeline Hwy ad left at Hwy 260 on Longhorn Rd to McLane (1st stop sign). Turn right on McLane to Park entrance approximately 1/2 mile. Picnic tables, playground, baseball field, tennis courts and outdoor public pool.

Green Valley Park, West end of Payson’s historic Main St. Fourty (40) acers of fun filed grass, picnic tables, playground, a museum, 3 lakes and lots of fishing.

Rim Country Museum: Step into a time past, several historical buildings and objects of local significance. 700 Green Valley Pkwy. 928.474.3483

Rockhounds: Quartz crystals rivaling Herkimer diamonds in quality, geodes, agate, and onyx can be found In various areas surrounding Payson. Fossils are commonly found in the Paleozoic strata that is exposed along the Mogollon Rim to the north and east of Payson along Arizona State Route 87 and Arizona State Route 260.

Rodeo: Payson is known for the oldest continuous rodeo in the world. The Payson “Best Small Rodeo” which is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association attracts the best of the best from all over the world competing for sizeable prize money. The Payson Rodeo is typically held the third weekend in August each year.

Scenic Drives:

Rim Road & General Crook Trail Scenic Loop: This scenic drive follows the General Crook Trail, which the famous Indian fighter blazed to his stronghold at Fort Apache. Fifty-four miles round-trip, it winds through a forest and scenic East Clear Creek and Barbershop canyons and takes about two hours to drive. The drive begins at Clint's Well Campground, north of Payson on Highway 87 or east of Camp Verde. From there, drive nine miles north on 87 to Farm Road 95, then follow FRs 95, 96 and 321 to FH 3 and back to AZ87.

Woods Canyon Lake Loop: This 58-mile drive takes visitors from the lake along FR 300 to FR 115 and Ohaco Lookout. From there, take FR 56 to the FR 225 junction and proceed on 225 to FR 34, then FR 100. Turn left to FR 169, then right to FR 300 again. This route provides several scenic vistas to enjoy.

Shoofly Indian Ruins: This 4-acre site five miles north of Payson features an interpretive trail and picnic area. The prehistoric settlement once included a stone wall, courtyards and 80 rooms but now is in ruins.2.3 miles north of Payson on Highway 87, turn right on Houston Mesa Rd. approximately 3 miles to ruins. Marked trail through the ruins with great veiws of the rim.

Tonto Fish Hatchery: Just below the Rim, the hatchery farms rainbow, brook and Apache trout. Visitors learn about the life of a trout and can peek into the incubator. (928) 478-4200, Forest Road 289, 21 miles east of Payson

Tonto Natural Bridge: Believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located off State Route 87, just 10 miles northwest of Payson. This natural bridge was first documented by David Gowan, a Scotsman, in 1877 while hiding from hostile Apache tribe members. Gowan was impressed by the location and persuaded his family to emigrate and live there. Gowan family members lived near the bridge until 1948. Their lodge building survives to this day and is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Zane Grey Museum: The life and works of Grey (novelist and screenplay writer), who died in 1939, are celebrated through a video, photos and artifacts. Including many of his personal items such as chaps, saddle, guns, books and posters. 503 W. Main Street, 928.474.6243. Open 10 - 3 Monday - Friday, closed on weekends.

Historic Payson Landmark National Register Historic Places
Listed 10/01/04  #04001073
Payson, Arizona, USA
Find the Oxbow Inn and Sallon on Facebook

For up to date info visit us on

Visit for more information about the Oxbow and Payson