Explore the wilderness of Arizona’s “Rim Country” at the scenic city of Pine. From the ponderosa pine forests that give the city its name, to deep mountain lakes and the expansive Arizonan desert, Pine provides easy access to all your family’s favorite outdoor activities. When you’re not hitting the trails, spend some time soaking up the area’s history. Be sure to take a walk by the 1884 Pine post office to show your kids an authentic piece of the past. Book a stay at a cozy Pine vacation rental today. Check out the most exciting family-friendly things to do in Pine.
1. Enjoy the View From the Mogollon Rim
Just a short distance from Pine at the edge of the Colorado Plateau, the Mogollon Rim offers a spectacular view of the Arizona scenery. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental and spend the day enjoying different vistas from the Rim. Head down Forest Road 300 for many fabulous lookouts where you can take photos and share the view with your kids. The road ends at the Mogollon Rim Visitor’s Center where there are picnicking areas where you can enjoy your packed lunch, and staff is available to answer your questions about the area. Take a look at the gift shop for souvenirs and educational items stocked by the Arizona Natural History Association, and then head back to Pine via the more direct Route 260.
2. Hike a Historic Trail
Give older kids a taste of adventure by hiking a piece of the Arizona Trail. This hiking trail, which runs 800 miles all the way across Arizona, passes right through Pine. Take a short trek down the trail from the Pine trailhead to enjoy the local flora and fauna and maybe meet some long distance hikers, or take a longer hike right up to the base of the Mogollon Rim. This portion of the trail dates back to the 1800s when it connected local homesteads and ranches to each other and main routes.
3. Go Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a great way to explore, covering more ground with less effort and giving your kids a wonderful experience. Check out stables such as Gentle Hands Equine Center in nearby Strawberry and Kohl’s Ranch Stables in Payson for horseback tours for all riding levels.
4. Step Into the Past at the Pine-Strawberry Museum
Learn more about the pioneer families who originally settled the Pine-Strawberry area at the Pine-Strawberry Museum. Exhibits show examples of clothing, household items, and farming tools from days gone by. While you’re there, pick up a map for the Pine Historical Walking tour which takes you by many of the older buildings in town while sharing information about their history. Then invite your kids to look inside the one-room Strawberry Schoolhouse to see how kids from the past spent their school days.
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5. Cool Off in a Mountain Lake
Bear Canyon Lake provides a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. The lake is a short walk from the parking area, possibly too far to bring the kayaks with kids, but a great place to float in your inflatable tubes or raft. The Bear Canyon area also has hiking trails and picnic areas with tables and grills.
6. Go Fishing
Share the excitement of waiting for that big catch by taking your kids fishing at Knoll Lake. This secluded lake offers easy accessibility for bringing your kayaks or canoes, as well as many quiet spots that are perfect for casting your line from the shore. Only non-motorized boats are allowed on this mountain lake for a peaceful environment and better fishing opportunities.
7. Learn About the Local Wildlife
The porch or deck of your vacation home is a great place to sit outside and watch for local wildlife. Bring along your favorite animal guides to help you identify the animals you see. The best times for wildlife viewing tend to be dawn and dusk. Keep an eye out for elk that graze at the edge of wooded areas and gather near water sources.
8. Explore the Wilderness From Your Bikes
In addition to being a great way to get around town, bikes are also a fun way to hit the trails. The Pine Trailhead loop is a three-mile mountain bike trail that’s suitable for beginner and intermediate riders. If your crew is a little more experienced, check out the Barefoot Trail. This slightly longer ride has a few steep climbs and some rough but fun terrain all through a particularly lush section of surrounding forest.
9. Drive the Apache Trail Historic Road
Choose a hot day to enjoy the desert scenery from the comfort of your car, and load the family up for a drive along the Apache Trail Historic Road. This road follows the natural course of the Salt River with plenty of twists and turns to give you the best views of the desert landscape. Watch for cacti and agave, as well as desert birds and animals.
10. Stand on Top of the World’s Largest Natural Travertine Bridge
At Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, a true wonder awaits your family. Formed over thousands of years, this natural bridge formation can be explored from four elevated observation points or the tunnel underneath. This park also has a Junior Ranger program to give your youngsters a chance to learn more about how they can make a difference in the world.
11. Ski the Rim Country Trails
If you visit Pine during the winter months, be sure to bring along your skis. A vacation rental provides room for storage, and Pine’s rim trails provide opportunities for the whole family to go cross-country skiing. Enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the snowy environment, and take advantage of the stark white landscape for spotting animals and birds. Snowshoes are another way to explore during the winter. Try following tracks to see if you can spot an animal home, just be sure to keep your distance and not disturb the wildlife.
12. Stay Up Late Stargazing
Vacation time is the perfect time to stay up late stargazing with your kids. Watching the stars at your vacation rental makes it easy to tuck your littlest ones into bed right away when you’re done. Pine’s dry air and low light pollution levels give you great visibility. You might even see the Milky Way.
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