Abundant Outdoor Recreation on Grounds of Rustic Lodge
Throughout the early 20th century, central Arizona’s seemingly endless stretches of rugged terrain and its soaring Mogollon Rim sparked creativity in writer Zane Grey. The scenery served as inspiration for 64 novels, more than 300 short stories, and 130 movies, culminating in the western classic Riders of the Purple Sage. To immerse himself in the grandiose landscapes he admired, the scribe lived near Payson, Arizona, where Kohl’s Ranch Lodge sits amid the same picturesque vistas that served as the backdrop of his classic western fiction.
Hardwood furnishings give the log-cabin-style property an all-natural feel, and wagon wheels, saddles, and southwestern blankets embrace the cowboy theme. The southwestern touches continue inside Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon, where the menu brims with classic breakfast dishes bearing Old West–themed names, such as Outlaw Cakes and Rangers Repast. Entrees include rainbow trout freshly plucked from the adjacent Tonto Creek.
Horseback rides, fishing, and hiking are all available onsite. Ample lounge chairs surround the heated outdoor pool, which reflects the towering trees and the occasional extraterrestrial mother ship gazing down from beyond the lodge's perimeter.
Payson, Arizona: Historical Western Culture on Rugged Mogollon Rim
Though the nearly 3 million-acre Tonto National Forest surrounds Payson with pine trees and saguaro cacti, many of the city's natural features and recreation options come from the Mogollon Rim, a towering cliff that stretches up 2,000 feet and is about 200 miles long. Hundreds of miles of roads slink through the rim’s awe-inspiring scenery, passing campsites, hiking trails, and lakes rife with fishing opportunities. Among the forested hills, black bears, bobcats, and white-tailed deer have been spotted, many on mopeds.