The Rim Road is one of Arizona’s most scenic drives. General George Crook developed the road in the late 1800’s. General Crook was stationed at Fort Verde and was charged with the task of subduing the Apache Indians living in the area. The original military road was 200 miles long and connected Fort Apache with Prescott and Fort Verde.
In 1872, General Crook and his men developed the route, which hugs the edge of the Mogollon Rim. The road was used for 22 years. When the railroad came to Holbrook in 1882, the road became less traveled. In 1928, the Rim Road was constructed. The Rim Road follows parts of the old Crook Trail. During the 1970’s, the historical value of Crook’s Trail was preserved by the placement of markers along its path. Today drivers will see white V’s on trees and rock formations marking the old route.
Rim Road is also called Forest Road 300. It has spectacular views along the 42-mile gravel road. You can get to the Rim Road from Camp Verde by taking State Highway 260 east out of town, until you meet State Highway 87. When you come to State Highway 87, turn left and head north. Then you will be looking for the sign marking Forest Road 300. It will be on you left. Once you are on Rim Road, you will climb to a height of 8,074 feet at Baker Butte. The road continues along the rim passing High View Point. You will also go past roads leading to Knoll Lake, Bear Canyon Lake and Woods Canyon Lake. All of these lakes provide camping areas. The drive ends just past Woods Canyon Lake, where the road bumps into State Highway 260. At this point, you will be 22 miles southwest of Heber and 32 miles northeast of Payson.
The best time to travel the road is between the months of May through October. Make sure you plan on a four to six hour drive. Be prepared for the trip. Weather can be a problem with mud and snow.
Camping areas are located along the road. Those with sharp eyes will spot wildlife. Black bears, coyotes, turkeys and deer are just some of the animals living in the area. There are hiking trails available. You will want a trail guide map before you set out on a hike. The scenic views are definitely the highlight of the journey. It is possible to see Camelback Mountain in Phoenix 85 miles to the southwest and on very clear day the Santa Catalina Mountains can be made out near Tucson 150 miles away.
If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson you will take Interstate 17 north out of town, until you come to Camp Verde. You will then follow the directions stated above to reach the Rim Road. If you are coming from Flagstaff, you will take Interstate 17 south out of town to Camp Verde. Once you are in Camp Verde, you will follow the directions stated above to get to the Rim Road.
The Rim Road offers drivers wonderful views.