Payson is only an hour and a half from the East Valley and Kohl's Ranch is about 20 minutes east of Payson. The ponderosa pines smell good and help provide the clean mountain air. Kohl's is a great place for kids with a creek, horseback riding, lots of grassy areas to play, a pool, hiking and s'mores at night. I enjoy bird watching, hiking along the creek and reading on the deck of the two bedroom creek side cabins. It was fun to play board games in the evening when the kids were with us. There is a sport court for tennis and basketball and fishing in the creek. There are also lots of crawfish in the creek.
Kohl's has been an annual vacation spot for us for over 20 years. The kids loved it growing up and my husband and I still enjoy at least a week there each year. We usually get a week in one of the rustic two bedroom cabins because of the large deck with private hot tub and the creek views. We took our dog for years and paid a little extra to have her with us in the cabin. There is also a kennel which is free.
The two bedroom cabins we like have only one bathroom and a small basic kitchen but there are more modern two bedrooms with two baths and a dishwasher. The lodge rooms are all studios or hotel rooms and there is not a lot of room for groceries if you plan on cooking.
I would give the ranch 5 stars except that means luxurious accommodations to me and this is definitely a rustic feeling place. The food in the on site restaurant is very good and there is a saloon with the same menu. Cell phone service is better now but there is free land line service provided. We were able to access wifi from our lodge room but the cabins are less likely to get a signal. Kohl's Ranch is a wonderful place to get away for a couple of days or a week.