Trail Rating : 1-3 Departure Time : 8am Return Time : 5pm (depends on location) Water Crossing : No Months Offered : October | November Park Pass Required : No Meal : Pack Lunch | Optional Dinner Out Hiking : Optional Bathroom : Yes
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Book your private Jeep tour and travel off-road to view the beautiful fall colors and the changing of the leaves. You have a few location options to choose from. The Mogollon Rim and Aztec Peak offer some of the best views of the changing of the leaves here in Arizona. Both of these trips are "Full Day Trips". Hiking

Option I - Mogollon Rim Tour

The Mogollon Rim is a topographical and geological feature cutting across the northern half of the state of Arizona. It extends approximately 200 miles! The highest point of the rim sits at 8000 feet in elevation. We will travel on-road north up to Payson and first visit and hike through the beautiful See Canyon. Then we will continue on and travel to make a stop at Woods Canyon Lake. One of a number of forest lakes on the Mogollon Rim. We will then begin our off-road travel along the FR 300 and various side trails to explore the upper reaches of the majestic Mogollon Rim. We will eat lunch together either cliffside along the rim or amongst the beautiful fall leaves. There may be an opportunity to exit the rim trough the towns of Pine and Strawberry to view the herd of Elk that frequent the back streets of these mountain towns. You may choose to stop for dinner in the downtown areas of either Pine, Strawberry, or Payson before we head home.

Option II - Aztec Peak Tour

Aztec Peak (7,694 ft) is the highest point in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. The fire watchtower on top of the peak gives some incredible, 100-mile views. Sierra Ancha Wilderness wraps around Aztec Peak on the east and south, dropping away into the deep canyons below. This untamed region has more deer, bears, mountain lions, and other big game than virtually any other area in Arizona. Departing from Fountain Hills, we will first make stops at Roosevelt Lake, Bridge, and Dam Vista points. You will enjoy the "Dam" bathroom! We will then travel along the very scenic Highway 288 to make a stop at Parker Point. This offers us great views of Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks mountain range in the distance from the Salome Wilderness. Parker Point is a beautiful red rock cliffside vantage point. We will then continue to travel through the Sierra Ancha Wilderness to travel off-road to make a stop at the Workman Creek Waterfalls. The side road leading to Aztec Peak is an easy drive for the first couple of miles. After which, the trail gets narrow and hugs the cliff face as it rises through a series of hairpin turns until you reach just below the upper peak. At the summit of Aztec Peak is a Firewatch tower and an all stone Flintstones like picknick area with a large fireplace, stone chairs, and benches.

Bathrooms - There are bathrooms available during this trip once we reach the Tonto Basin community and also at Roosevelt Dam. However, you should bring TP, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer in case you need to make like a bear.

Payson Weather

Changing of the Leaves Day Trip

Depending on the tour destination option you have chosen, the below itinerary times may vary due to the involved driving distances.



Time to Hit the Road!

8am Depart Fountain Hills or from your Hotel. Pack a lunch, snacks, drinks (must have a cover). Hiking shoes, small backpack if hiking.

Travel On-Road

Head to either the Mogollon Rim or Aztec Peak

Depending on the tour destination you booked, we will head on-road to either the Mogollon Rim in Payson or towards Aztec Peak.

See Canyon

Mogollon Rim Option

From Fountain Hills it will take us 1 hour and 30 minutes to real the trailhead. We will stop and explore the amazing See Canyon. This is an easy hiking trail that leads you through a dense forest with beautiful fall colors. You will have an hour to explore this canyon trail.

Travel to Woods Canyon Lake

Stop at Woods Canyon Lake

We will travel on-road for 30 minutes and stop at beautiful Woods Canyon Lake up on the Mogollon Rim. You will have some time to walk around the lake path if you wish.

FR 300 Off-Road

Travel Off-Road on the Mogollon Rim

For those that have chosen the Mogollon Rim tour option, we will begin to travel off-Road along the FR300 and a number of side trails to view the wonderful changing of the leaves up on the Mogollon Rim. We have many points of interests possible to explore. We can venture to visit some of the historic Forest Service fire cabins in beautiful meadows. We can venture down to Barbershop Canyon. There are a number of cliff side vista points at nearly 8000 feet to enjoy along our way.

Lunch Time

Each Lunch On the Rim

The Mogollon Rim is surrounded by the majestic Tonto National Forest. There are a number of forested locations to pick from to each lunch together surrounded by Fall Colors. You may also wish to eat lunch at edge of one of the 8000 foot cliffside vista points.

Elk Viewing

Travel to Pine and Strawberry to View Elk

Depending on how we exit the Mogollon Rim, there may be the opportunity to travel through the towns of Pine and Strawberry to view the beautiful herd of Elk that populate their backstreets.

Dinner | Payson, Pine, Strawberry

Optional dinner at one of the restaurants in the downtown areas of Payson, Pine, or Strawberry.

On our way back home from the Mogollon Rim, you may chose to stop and eat dinner at one of the restaurants in downtown Payson, Pine, or Strawberry. If your tour guide surprised you with a trip to view the beautiful heard of Elk in Pine or Strawberry, I suggest you take advantage and eat at one of the quaint location in these mountain towns.

Travel Back Home From the Rim

Travel back home from the Mogollon Rim.

We will travel back home on-road to Fountain Hills or your hotel from the Mogollon Rim. This will take us 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours depending on how we exited the Rim.

Aztec Peak Tour Option

Roosevelt Bridge and Dam

If you chose the Aztec Peak tour option, we will travel 1 hour and 30 minutes on-road to Roosevelt Lake, Bridge, and Dam vista points. You will enjoy the "Dam" bathroom!

Parker Point

Roosevelt Lake | Four Peaks Vista Point

We will again travel on-road for another 45 minutes and make a stop at Parker Point to view Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks from a stunning red rock vista point within the Salome Wilderness.

Workman Creek Waterfalls

Travel to view the beautiful road side waterfalls.

We will travel 30 minutes both on-road and off-road to stop and view the beautiful Workman Creek Waterfalls. You will have the opportunity to hike around the area of the waterfall.

Aztec Peak Summit

Travel Off-Road to Aztec Peak

From the Workman Creek Waterfall, we will continue our beautiful off-road drive through the fall colors of the forest to reach the summit of Aztec Peak. There is a large stone picnic area with a number of comically large stone chairs, tables, and bench seats.

Flintstone's Lunch

Lunch Time on Aztec Peak

We will eat lunch together at the stone picnic area on top of Aztec peak while enjoying the majestic views of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness.

Dinner | Tonto Basin

Optional dinner at one of the small restaurants and cafes in the Tonto Basin community.

On our way back home from Aztec Peak, after about 1-1/2 hours you may choose to stop and eat dinner at one of the small restaurants or cafes in the Tonto Basic community.

Travel Back From Tonto Basin

On-road travel back home from Tonto Basin.

We will travel back home to Fountain Hills our your hotel from Tonto Basin. This will take us about an hour to reach home from this point.

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Travel Policy

  1. Those who have current back or neck injuries will not be permitted to travel.
  2. If you are pregnant you are not permitted to travel.
  3. All younger passengers must be of age to fit in a regular seat. No car seats are allowed.
  4. Pets are not allowed.
  5. Prohibited Items: firearms, weapons of any kind, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or any drugs.

What to Bring

  1. Food: You may bring a cooler for food, snacks, and drinks to enjoy during your trip.
  2. Drinks: All drinks must have a top that you can close to avoid spilling while on bumpy off-road trails.
  3. What to Wear: You should bring a jacket, sweater, or rain jacket as higher elevations will be colder and windy or in case of rain and you decide to hike.
  4. Hiking: If your tour includes a formal hike, please read my Hiking Essentials guide to learn how to pack for hiking.
  5. Swimming: If your tour requires swimming or a water hike, you will need to bring a bathing suit, water shoes, towel, and change of clothes and footwear.
  6. Medications: If you are taking any medications, be sure to bring them with you that you may require within a half-day’s time.

Cancellation Policy

  • Private Jeep Excursions has a 48-hour cancellation policy in order to receive a refund. Cancellations made less than 48 hours in advance will not be refunded.

Rescheduling and Weather Policy

  1. You may reschedule your trip up to 48 hours in advance to book a new date with no additional charge. You can not reschedule on the same date of your trip. You will need to pay a rescheduling late fee in this case.
  2. PJE will not travel during dangerous storms and severe bad weather. Your tour may need to be rescheduled if mother nature is angry on your trip date.
  3. Rainfall is often very short and may offer the chance for you to see trail-side waterfalls. Your trip will continue as planned.
  4. PJE reserves the right to modify, shorten, or cancel any tour to prevent damage to trails or avoid unsafe conditions.
  5. Severe Weather: If severe weather makes it so you have to cancel your trip prior to your departure, PJE will issue you a full refund.