94 miles NE of Phoenix; 90 miles SE of Flagstaff; 90 miles SW of Winslow; 100 miles W of Pinetop-Lakeside
Payson, 94 miles from Phoenix and 5,000 feet above sea level, is one of the closest places for Phoenicians to find relief from the summer heat, and though it is not quite high enough to be considered the mountains, it certainly isn't the desert (summer temperatures are 20° cooler than in the Valley of the Sun). The 2,000-foot-high, 200-mile-long Mogollon Rim, the region's main attraction, is only 22 miles north of town, and the surrounding Tonto National Forest provides opportunities for hiking, swimming, fishing, and hunting. The nearly perfect climate of Payson has also made the town a popular retirement spot. Summer highs are usually in the 80s or 90s (30s Celsius), while winter highs are usually in the 50s and 60s (teens Celsius).