Rustic lodge in the Tonto National Forest near golf, hiking, and fishing; approximately one-hour drive from the Mogollon Rim
Inn at a Glance: Kohl’s Ranch Lodge
Central Arizona’s seemingly endless stretches of rugged terrain sparked creativity in writer Zane Grey. The scenery served as his inspiration for 64 novels and more than 300 short stories, culminating in the Western classic Riders of the Purple Sage. Grey lived near Payson, Arizona where Kohl’s Ranch Lodge now sits. There’s a rugged cowboy feel to the lodge-style accommodations, which also include modern touches such as free WiFi, cable TV, and partial kitchens.
- Eat well at the onsite Zane Grey Country Barbecue & Great Pizza, where you can grab burgers or try the famous peach cobbler.
- Break a sweat at the onsite exercise room, equipped with cardio machines and free weights.
- Outdoor activities: boat rental, fishing, and hiking are all available nearby.
- Beat the summer heat with a dip in the outdoor pool
Payson, Arizona: Historical Western Culture on Rugged Mogollon Rim
Pine trees cover the nearly 3-million-acre Tonto National Forest, which surrounds the town of Payson in central Arizona. About 35 miles from Payson is one of the state’s most popular outdoor destinations: the Mogollon Rim, a towering cliff about 2,000 feet high that stretches for roughly 200 miles. Hundreds of miles of roads provide access to the rim’s awe-inspiring scenery, passing campsites, hiking trails, and lakes good for fishing. Black bears, bobcats, and white-tailed deer have all been spotted in the forested hills.