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Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Columbus, Ohio
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Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

My husband & I are taking recommendations on hikes to do in the Payson, AZ area. From some books we got from the library on AZ hikes, this looks like it would be a good central location. We'll be in the area for 5 days. We enjoy day hikes. We can manage moderate to some strenuous hikes. My husband would also like to do some rock hounding; any recommendations?

Would there be another town that would be a better central location to hikes & rock hounding?

Thanks!

Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

You are really not supposed to hack out chunks of rock in our National Forests and Parks. I have seen in the Grand Canyon huge fields of fossils and at the very bottom, what is supposed to be some of the oldest rock on earth. These would have all been stripped out years ago without laws against it.

There are dozens of really great places to hike around Payson. You can take the road up toward Pine and Strawberry for some nice hikes. Also, you will find perhaps the greatest concentration in the state of hiking, camping, fishing, etc., on the road to the east up to the top of the Mogollon Rim. These trails are for the most part in the shade of huge Poderosa pine trees and you can hike all day without getting overheated.

If you want samples, I suggest you find private land but get permission. One road, State 288, leads off from the rim road and drops into a basin where you will find the VERY remote town of Young. The road continues on to Globe. There are plenty of trails and rocks to be found on private land here.

While in Payson I recommend you stop in for a meal at the Knotty Pine Cafe. See the reviews:

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g31305-d1626…

Edited: 11:04 am, July 03, 2012
Mesa, Arizona
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2. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Maybe take a day and drive to Holbrook, stop at Jim Gray's Petrified Wood Rock Shop - a fascinating place, you could spend a couple of hours there!

Look at the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest website for hikes, or stop at the ranger's office on Rt 260 as you leave Payson. I think the Visitor Center at the top of the rim on 260 is open weekends.

We have only done some of the easy hikes, but in our experience the trails up the rim and near the rim need maintenance and aren't always the easiest to follow.

We like to eat at the Matzatzal Casino. They have a good buffet at lunch.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

We don't know what time of year you are visiting. If you are coming in the winter, the absolute ground zero for rock hounds is Quartzsite. This culminates in a huge swap meet I believe sometime in February. Google the town for more info. From there you can go out looking for geodes from the volcanos and if you are lucky you might find a meteorite.

Ohio
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4. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Thank you for your concern about the National Parks. My husband is very conscientious about where he looks for rocks and what he is allowed to take. He found a dinosaur bone last year (his first year doing this and it was in Utah) on BLM land and he took it directly to the BLM office. He understands the rules and wants to honor them along with our land. :)

Thank you for the hiking and restaurant recommendations! I will look into them!

Ohio
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5. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Thank you!!!!

Ohio
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6. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

I'm sorry I neglected to say when we would be there! It is going to be mid-October.

Phoenix, Arizona
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7. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

October is good if you pay attention to the weather reports, but I don't think it will be a problem. If you go down into the basin that leads to the authentic old west town of Young you will find a huge escarpment that has millions of years of layers for your hubbie to check out. I believe a good part of it is on private land. You can always check at the general store (really) in Young to find out who owns what.

Phoenix, Arizona
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8. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

P.S.: If you make it to Young (a really great old timey town) look for the lost gold treasure.

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9. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Check out:

www.arizonarockhound.com/PurpleAgate.html

http://azrockhound.com/diamond-point/

http://www.adventurenuts.com/Paleo-Site.html

adventurenuts.com/Finding-Geodes-Near-Payson…

I hope you were able to find some place to go while you were here. Here is some info for your next trip. You are allowed to take 25 lbs off BLM land per day per person for personal use. ,Please check with the Forest service for the rules on that land, and read BLM rules for yourself.

Columbus, Ohio
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10. Re: Hiking & Rock Hounding near Payson, AZ

Thank you! I will refer to this information if we get back that way. We enjoyed our time there. But our time there was short so we'd like to go back..