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Mogollon Rim Camping

We were scheduled to visit our family in Texas but COVID messed that up. We were looking forward to seeing our kids and parents. Angie has not been feeling well for the last week and we did not want to risk getting our parents and family sick. I was looking forward to getting away for a few days and had already requested time off work, so I decided to do a solo camping / mountain biking / hiking trip to the rim.

The Mogollon Rim is just 80 miles north of Phoenix. I left on Saturday and drove north through Payson, AZ and started on the west end of Forest Road 300. FR 300 is about 40 miles long and begins in the Coconino National Forest and ends in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The first beautiful vista comes about 8 miles in. As typical this time of year, the afternoon thunderstorms were scattered and made for a beautiful scene and an amazing relief from the 115 degrees in Phoenix.

I drove the rim road for about 30 miles before deciding on my camping spot. I took several off-road opportunities along the way looking for the perfect spot. I intended to take FR 764 to the edge of the rim but the road was closed. I was just about to settle and set camp, but I took one more 4- wheel-drive-only road and found it. The road ended at the very edge of the rim.


On Sunday, I packed a sandwich and hammock in my backpack and set out for Woods Canyon Lake. It took me about an hour to get to the lake on my bike. What was so easy in the Jeep was definitely more taxing on the human-powered mountain bike. The lake was about 15 miles from my campsite with a mix of downhills and climbs. I hung the hammock and took in the view of the lake and began reading The Sacred Romance by John Eldridge (a book about growing closer to the heart of God.) What a place to connect with God!! After lunch it was time to head back to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.

I made it back to my camp just before the afternoon storms started up again. I spent the afternoon reading, praying and sitting in silence. The vista at my campsite was breathtaking. I would have loved to have the family with me, but the time with the Creator and His creation was just what I needed.


On Monday, I took a hike around Bear Canyon Lake. I got there at 9:30am and was the only one there. The hike was about 4.5 miles around the lake. No voices, no motors, just the sound of the water lapping onto the beach and the wind through the trees. There was a gentle breeze and the temperature was about 75 degrees. Perfect.


I decided to take the scenic route home through Pine, Strawberry and Camp Verde. I stopped at the Tonto Natural Land Bridge State Park. I was able to take a few pics, but all the hiking trails were closed because of COVID and some reconstruction.


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