GILA COUNTY HISTORY ITINERARY

Find A Place To Stay


First before you start your adventure we would like to invite you to choose a place to stay in the area that you can call home base. Or use our Accommodations Directory to find places to stay in the communities that you will be visiting " Accomodations Directory".




Where To Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Getting your adventure off on the right foot is very important and a trip to Gila County would not be complete without a hearty breakfast. After lots of exploring you are going to want to take a brake and grab some lunch at one of our many cafe's. HINT: The Mexican food is world renouned. Lastly, dinner is a great time to unwind and share your stories of exploring the wild. Click here to find suitable locations for your eating pleasure.




What To Plan For


While visiting any of these areas, please help us protect these special places for the continued enjoyment of others to come.
General Information

• Please practice “Leave No Trace” and pack out what you bring in.
• For everyone’s safety, please drive your vehicle only on paved surfaces and stay on designated trails.

Pets
• For the enjoyment of your visit and the consideration of our other guests, we ask that you keep your pet on a maximum six-foot leash at all times. Some locations do not allow pets and we suggest that you call ahead to make sure you can bring them.

Water • This is Arizona and it is a "Dry Heat"! Make sure you have lots of water so you stay hydrated. We hope you have an enjoyable and safe experience as you discover the history of Gila County!




DAY 1 - SAN CARLOS, ARIZONA



San Carlos Apache Cultural Museum

The San Carlos Apache Reservation was founded in 1871 and is the biggest concentrated Indian land in the world. In the museum, you’ll find ancient burden baskets and adornments. Apache cradleboards in ornamental and full size are also available. Explore the Peridot jewelry, carvings, beaded caps and paintings on hand.

In the gift shop, you’ll find books on Apache history, a hearty information center, and keepsakes like keychains and jewelry. The museum and store are hosted by “The People,” also known as “Mountain People,” and are all Apache citizens. Learn about the history of one of the most well-known Native communities in the country directly from the descendants.With fantastic crafts on display and intriguing lectures, it’s well worth the drive to Peridot to see the descendants of Geronimo. The well-organized museum is small and intimate. However, there are regular additions to the archives and exhibits as more of the local history is unearthed. DIRECTIONS:
San Carlos Apache Cultural Museum is located Mile Marker 272, Highway #70 in Peridot. [ Map It]




Start Your Adventure Here


It is key to point out that you can start your adventure at any point in the itinerary, but we are going to give you a linear path to follow so that you can enjoy as many things along the way. Simply click on the “+” characters below for each destination that makes up this itinerary.




DAY 1 - GLOBE & MIAMI, ARIZONA


BESH BA GOWAH

One mile southwest of the City of Globe, Arizona, stand the ruins of the ancient Salado people who occupied the site nearly 800 years ago.

This ancient village is known today as Besh Ba Gowah. The term was originally given by the Apaches to the early settlement of Globe. Roughly translated, the term means “place of metal.”

The partially restored ruins, along with the adjacent museum provide a fascinating glimpse at the lifestyle of the people who occupied this region over two centuries before Columbus discovered the “New World.”

Besh Ba Gowah offers visitors a chance to explore the ruins, a museum which houses a large collection of Salado pottery and artifacts, botanical gardens, and a gift shop. Click Here to learn more.

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GILA COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM

The Gila County Museum, is located on the OLD West Highway in Globe. We’re in the 1920 Mine Rescue Station, and it’s all about history and service. The research library is one of the best places to find information on lost relatives or locating history on the local mining industry. The research volunteers will work with you to find the information you need. The history greeters are here to make your stay a fun filled time. They will assist you as you spend time at the Mine Rescue Station and The Gila County Museum.
Click here to learn more.

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BULLION PLAZA CULTURAL CENTER & MUSEUM The Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the culturally diverse history, the human experience, as well as exploring the natural environment unique to the Globe-Miami region of Arizona. The Center-Museum achieves its mission through exhibits, education programs, collections, publications and outreach programs that are designed to serve, engage and enrich individuals and the community. Learn more click here. ______________________________________
OLD DOMINION PARK
The copper extracted from the Old Dominion Mine from 1880 to 1931 was the driving force for the development of the Globe-Miami area. During the reclamation process for the site, the local community petitioned for a park to be developed on this historic site to both promote our regional mining heritage and increase fitness opportunities for residents. After more than a decade of public-private partnership and diligent volunteer work, the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park (ODMP) is now a widely used local resource for gathering and recreation, educates about the history of the site and mining in general, demonstrates sustainable mining development and site reclamation, and also serves to bring tourists to the area. Click here to learn more. ______________________________________

OLD WEST SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND HAUNTED GILA COUNTYJAIL EST in 1910, after overrunning the newly built facility in 1905 with the hustle and bustle of the Old West Arizona Territory the facility was the 4th in succession. The first, being made of adobe which was a great pairing with the town “hanging tree”. The 2nd jail was located inside the first territorial courthouse structure, which stood from 1881-1904 at almost the same location, coupled with the newer modern wooden gallows. The 3rd located inside the even newer and larger stone Territorial Courthouse location on the exact same location as the previous, in tandem with the same wooden gallows. This 4th location was a new modern concrete structure built on top of the wooden gallows location, adjacent to the 1905 Courthouse, being attached by catwalk. With the new era of due process, versus that of Old West Vigilantism, there would now be no need for the use of the gallows. The jail served the territory from 1910 until February 14th, 1912, when Arizona received its Statehood, and from 1912-1981, when the facility saw its last prisoner.
Now, the facility houses a museum-style visitor center, offering old west territorial facility tours daily by appointment, or to the public every Second Saturday of the month. For appointments and bookings please message us here on FB, or call 928-425-0884. This number is to the former Gila County Territorial Courthouse (now Cobre Valley Center for the Arts building) next door, uniquely attached to our historic jail by 1910 catwalk. There is a $5/person minimum donation suggested, larger group and tour bus discounts are available.
Additionally, being listed on the Haunted Registry, in conjunction with guest paranormal investigation groups, we facilitate 2nd Fridays evening research experience sessions starting at $15/person. Please search under our events for more information per month. Our facility is also open for private bookings for filming and/or investigation work throughout the year by request. Our nominal donation structure helps to maintain and fund our facility restoration projects. Learn more click here. We suggest you stay in Globe, Arizona for the night if you will be continuing on with this itinerary for day two. For Hotels, motels and Bed & Breakfasts - click here.




DAY 2 - ROOSEVELT LAKE & TONTO NATIONAL MONUMENT


How exciting you are going to continue on with day 2 of the Gila County History Adventure Itinerary. Before you head out you may want some breakfast. Here is a link to all the places to eat in Globe and Miami Arizona - Click Here.


ROOSEVELT LAKE VISITORS CENTER

The Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center has several artifacts from the Salado culture. On exhibit are examples of storage pottery made and used by the people who inhabited this area over 600 years ago. More recently the Apache arrived, and many still reside in the surrounding areas. The Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center has a selection of historical baskets on exhibit that were used by members of the tribe in their everyday living.

Wildlife-viewing opportunities are abundant for visitors to the lake. A wide variety of birds can be observed. Specific species include bald eagles, osprey, gulls, grebes, cardinals, cactus wrens, and hummingbirds. Both mule and white-tail deer roam the countryside and a herd of javelina just might cross your path at any time. Nocturnal creatures include coyote, mountain lions, and bobcat, as well as a variety of other small animals.

Click here to learn more.

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TONTO NATIONAL MONUMENT STATE PARK The Salado Phenomena, 700 years ago, blended ideas of neighboring Native American cultures to emerge a unique and vibrant society. Tonto National Monument showcases two Salado-style cliff dwellings. Colorful pottery, woven cotton cloth, and other artifacts tell a story of people living and using resources from the northern Sonoran Desert from 1250 to 1450 CE. For over 100 years, these ancient strucutres have been called the Tonto Cliff Dwellings. We don't know who named them, and there is no way of knowing when they were first seen by Europeans. Cowboys, settlers, and the calvary were aware of the cliff dwellings by the 1870's, and army personnel made note of them during this period. The remnants of this ancient civilization is one of the most complete in the world today. There are several trails and the area is surrounded by lush vegetation, thriving wildlife and amazing views of Roosevelt Lake. This is truly an amazing place! Learn more click here. We suggest once you are done visiting the Tonto National Monument, you make your way to Payson Arizona along highway 188 to the Beeline Highway and then go North to Payson (about a 45-minute drive, the drive is spectacular and you can stop along the way to take pictures). Payson has many restaurants and places you can spend the night and get ready for a fantastic day 3 adventure. For Hotels, Motels and Bed & Breakfasts in the Payson area - click here.




DAY 3 - PAYSON, ARIZONA


WOW you are an adventure seeker! On to day 3 of your Gila County History Adventure Itinerary. Payson is an amazing place and you can spend a lot of time here. Below are several of the must see places. But before you head out make sure your belly is full Click Here for dining options.
NORTHERN GILA COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Located in Green Valley Park in Payson, Arizona, this museum features exhibits that reflect the natural and cultural history of the greater Payson area called the "Rim Country." Here you will learn about the birth of a Rodeo Town, the Pioneers, Ranchers, Prospectors, Cowboys and others that called Payson home. You will also learn more about the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo that happens in Payson every year on the 3rd weekend in August. Back in the day, it was known as the "August Doin's," and it rivaled Christmas. The town would swell with families and visitors. The event is now more than 130 years old.

You will learn about "Arizona" Charlie Meadows and John Collins Chilson, who were the original founders of the Rodeo. Abram Henson Meadows (March 10, 1860 – December 9, 1932), also known as Charlie Meadows and Arizona Charlie, was an American showman and sharpshooter, and a contemporary of "Buffalo Bill" Cody whose Wild West Show inspired Meadows to pursue his own performing career. This museum will leave you will a sense of understanding for those that have come before and the legacy they have left behind. Click here to learn more. ______________________________________

ZANE GREY CABIN MUSEUM Also, located in Green Valley Park is the historic replica of famous Western Author Zane Grey. Zane Grey, the greatest storyteller of the American West, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, on January 31, 1872.

A historic replica of Zane Grey's cabin -- lost in 1990 during the Dude Fire -- was built in Green Valley Park in 2005 through the efforts of the non-profit Zane Grey Cabin Foundation. It was officially turned over to the Northern Gila County Historical Society on Saturday October 15, 2005.In 1921, Zane Grey bought three acres of land under the Mogollon Rim and had the cabin contructed. He used the cabin as a retreat and writing space until 1929, after which the cabin slowly fell into disrepair. In the 1960's, Phoenix businessman William Goettl bought the structure and hired Richard Haught, a descendant of the original builder, to restore it.

In 1972, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and by 1989 it was attracting an average of 20,000 visitors a year.After the Dude Fire of 1990 destroyed the cabin, the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation was formed to raise funds and rebuild the cabin. It now stands in Green Valley Park, next to the Rim Country Museum.

The cabin's main room contains a replica of his writing chair, a small cot, table, bear rug, Grey's saddle, and assorted cowboy boots and hats.

Learn more click here. ______________________________________

SHOOFLY INDIAN RUINS
Shoofly Indian Ruins is the remains of a massive masonry and jacal prehistoric community. It contains 80+ rooms and covers 4 acres. Between A.D. 100 and 1200, as many as 250 people may once have lived inside its walls. The people made their living by farming, gathering wild plant food and hunting. Shoofly village is listed on the National Historic Register of Places. It is a fragile and irreplaceable part of our culture and heritage. As you visit, please help protect it so that others may enjoy it as well.
Learn more click here
Day 3 is almost come to end. We recommend you stay in either Payson or if you want a more rustic feel maybe a VRBO or Cabin in the Pine Strawberry Area. For Hotels, Motels and VRBO's in the Payson area - click here .




DAY 4 - PINE & STRAWBERRY, ARIZONA


Day 4 of the Gila County History Adventure Itinerary is full of great exploration. Today you will take a tour of the Largest Travertine Bridge in the world that was discovered by a prospector fleeing a band of Apaches, visit the oldest Schoolhouse in Arizona and learn more about the Pioneers that settled the Pine/Strawberry area. Pine has several great places to eat, so we suggest you check them out. Click Here for dining options.
TONTO NATURAL BRIDGE STATE PARK One spring day in 1877, while prospecting for gold in the Tonto Rim area, David Douglas Gowan’s eyes first beheld this enormous Natural Bridge. He descended from the mountains to the east to the beautiful little valley below that had a clear spring, in order to quench his thirst. After refreshing himself, he started exploring the adjacent area and made his unique discovery. After a few more trips to this “Garden Spot” with its unique beauty, Gowan decided this was the place for him to live.
However, others had decided to live there before him, and it wasn’t long until Indians returned to their “Garden Spot” to plant their crops. Then began a long tiresome game between the Apaches and Gowan. The fact that Gowan was able to maintain and perfect his claim to this area is to pay high tribute to his ability and ingenuity in dealing with the Indians. He admitted, however, that in the interest of preserving his life, it became necessary at one point to hide for three days and nights in one of the deep caves under the Bridge until the Apache’s war fever subsided.

believed to be the largest natural travertine formation in the world. Over the course of eons, geological forces have carved out the bridge, which towers 183 feet over the water coursing below it in Pine Creek. Click here to learn more. ______________________________________

PINE-STRAWBERRY ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM The community of Pine was settled in 1879 by Mormon pioneers, who endured many hardships during their settlement of this untamed country. But through their determination and faith, Pine survived. Much of what is displayed in the Pine-Strawberry Museum today is in tribute to the dedication and hard work of our founding families.

The museum relocated to its current location in 1990 from a single room in the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library in Pine. This larger facility allows the display of more artifacts and documents; especially those that pertain to the Native American cultures that occupied our area, the first Spanish and Anglo pioneers to visit and settle the area, and the peoples who have remained in the community since the initial settlement.
The museum houses prehistoric artifacts found in the land area of Pine and Strawberry Valleys and near plateaus, as well as artifacts actually brought and used by the earliest settlers to the communities.

Learn more click here. ______________________________________

STRAWBERRY SCHOOLHOUSE MUSEUM - OLDEST SCHOOLHOUSE IN ARIZONA. The year was 1884. The families living in the Strawberry Valley, Yavapai County, in Arizona Territory petitioned the County School Superintendent to establish a school. The petition was granted and District #33 in the Strawberry Valley was established. A local dispute over the site for the school building was solved by cowboys using a calf rope and counting the number of lengths between the Hicks-Duncan cabin on the west end of the valley and the Peach cabin on the east end. They retraced their steps to the mid-point. There the one room log school was built and still stands.
Learn more click here
Day 4 is in the books and you best get some rest because tomorrow we head to the "OLD WEST" or Young, Arizona. We recommend you stay in either Payson, Pine or Kohl's Ranch for the night. For Hotels, Motels and VRBO's in the area - click here .




DAY 5 - YOUNG, ARIZONA


WELCOME TO YOUNG, ARIZONA

First settlers arrived in the early 1870s. This was the scene of the Pleasant Valley War that was created by the bitter Graham-Tewksbury feud that lasted for over 15 years. It is considered by many to be the bloodiest family feud in American History. Over the next few years, it’s estimated that between twenty and fifty men died with their boots on. Of the fighting members of the Grahams and Tewksbury’s by 1892, there was only one left standing on each side, Tom Graham and Ed Tewksbury. Learn More Click Here.

Photo by Kathy Hunt

The Town of Pleasant Valley was renamed in 1890 to Young, Arizona. In honor of Olla Beth Young – First valley postmaster. Not much has changed in young since those bloody days. It is still a small “one-horse” (actually there are quite a few horses come to think of it) town, but visitors to this area can really step back in time and see remnants of the “OLD WEST.” WE encourage you to visit the Pleasant Valley Historical Museum and the Old Cemetery that lies nearby. Ask the museum patron about some of the old names and then take a self-guided tour of the cemetery. It will almost come to life right in front of your eyes. Learn more about the community click here.


Day 4 is in the books and you best get some rest because tomorrow we head to the "OLD WEST" or Young, Arizona. We recommend you stay in either Payson, Pine or Kohl's Ranch for the night. For Hotels, Motels and VRBO's in the area - click here .





Adventure Highlights:  

  • Native American Cliff Dwellings

  • Museums

  • Pioneer Points of Interest

  • Cowboy History

  • Native American History

  • Mining History

Discover Gila County's Rich History
 

Gila County is full of historic locations that are fun for the whole family to explore.  Places like the Old School House Museum in Pine or the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum – In Historic Miami, AZ or how about the Haunted Gila County Jail in Globe Arizona or the Roosevelt Lake Dam visitor center or the Zane Grey Cabin Museum in Payson and lastly the a visit to Young, Arizona and the Pleasant Valley Museum will introduce you to the bloodiest family feud in American History. 

ITINERARY & MAP

QUICK FACTS

DURATION
  • 1 Day
  • 2 Day
  • 3 Day
  • 4 Day
  • 5 Day
     
DESTINATIONS

DATES & PRICES

  • See details for each individual destination.

ADVENTURE TYPE

  • Walking

  • Ups and downs

  • Rock Climbing

  • Trails 

  • Remote Wilderness

  • Possible weather (Could be hot or cold)

MINIMUM AGE
  • 5 and older

DEVIL'S CHASM
INDIAN RUINS

Credit:  Cameron Davis

Perhaps the single most impressive ruin in the Sierra Anchas, and one of the least accessible.  Visitors will find the trail hard and difficult to get there, but the pay off is truly a WILD experience.

Must Do
Special Events

Credit:  Cameron Davis

Gila County's special event calendar is full of native, cultural and fun events that celebrate our rich historic past.  Attend Payson's Rodeo or the Apache Jii Festival in Globe!

Gila County
History

Credit:  Cameron Davis

We have only touched the surface when it comes to Gila County's rich historic past.  For everything you ever wanted to know we invite you to check out the history portion of this website.

ADD MORE ADVENTURES TO YOUR GILA COUNTY HISTORY ITINERARY

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