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The diverse ecosystems of the Rim Country provide the opportunity to view a surprising number of birds. Depending on your viewing pleasure, you can find a variety of species near high country lakes and streams or under the Rim closer to Payson.  You only have to go as far as Payson’s Green Valley Park and the Payson Golf Course for bird watching in town. 


Venture out to various vantage points along the East Verde River or down around Roosevelt Lake and see how many different birds you can spot.  

One of the local clubs in town - the Payson Birders has helped identify a list of birding areas in the Rim Country. For more information please contact:


Grace Knowles 
Phone: 928-474-4572


Birding Green Valley Park - Payon AZ

Green Valley Park

Along Lake Drive to the ponds behind the golf course; American Gulch, behind West Main Street is still a good spot in places.  Best viewing time is in the early morning or early evening when they come out to feed.  

Birding Gila County Doll baby Ranch Road

Doll Baby Ranch Road

This area is the west stretch of Country Club that runs along the south side of Green Valley Park and the Payson Golf Course. It is paved just a short way, then becomes dirt and on the rough side, but provides a place to glimpse more of the Rim Country’s feathered residents and visitors.

Birding Gila County Flowing Springs

Flowing Springs

About four miles north of Payson, take the dirt road toward Flowing Springs and drive to the fenced Forest Service parking and camping area.  This area is along the East Verde River.

Shoofly Ruins 

Located off the Houston Mesa Road.  There is a trail and many jeep roads in the area.  Nice mix of grassland, juniper, and some chaparral.  Generally, fairly level hiking.  Wide open area, great for birding.

Birding Gila County Washington Park

Washington Park

Located north of the Control Road.  Various species of woodpeckers can be seen in the parking area and at the end of the road.  Winter Wren are often seen along the creek.

Birding Gila County Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake

This trail is located off of Highway 260, 32 miles east of Payson.  Turn left on Rim Road 300 and go northwest 3.4 miles to Woods Canyon Lake Road, 105.  Turn right and go east to Rocky Point Picnic Area.  The 4.5-mile loop trail around Alpine Lake is an easy walk on dirt and rock path through shady forest.

Birding Gila County See Canyon Trailhead

See Canyon Trailhead

Located east of Payson, off Highway 260.  Take Forest Road 284 to the end.  There are several trails along the creek, good riparian habitat, and mixed conifer forest.

Birding Gila County Willow Springs Lake

Willow Springs Lake

This area offers another pleasant forest walk on a dirt and rock fisherman’s trail.  Go east on Highway 260, approximately 34 miles, turn left and go one mile north on Willow Springs Lake Road, 149 to the parking area. 

Birding Gila County Deer Creek Trailhead

Deer Creek Trailhead

Located 17 miles south of Payson on highway 87.  There are three trails out of this area and all are beautiful, however the third trail, No. 48, consistently has some of the best birding in the area, good riparian bordered by semi-desert grassland, and chaparral.  Black throated sparrow, lazuli bunting, cactus wren, all three species of oriole, and many others.

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