I have a really unique and fun adventure idea to share with you today! If the intersection of nature + history is your thing, this is for you. Arizona has been continuously inhabited for most of human history, and we are fortunate to be able to see evidence of that history in many areas through the state. Just north of Payson is the site where an indigenous village once stood! It’s called Shoofly Village, and is a really interesting spot to visit.
The village once contained 80+ rooms, and archaeologists believe that as many as 250 people once lived there. There is a .25 mile trail to follow that takes you through the village, with stops at signage designed to educate the public about the history of the group that once lived here, what they were like, how they lived, and more. It’s really fascinating to think about and picture what the people were like! You can easily see the remnants of rooms, walls around the village, and more.
It won’t take you long to walk through the village, so I recommend making it one stop during a day of nature exploration! If you continue down Houston Mesa Rd., you will eventually come to Water Wheel Falls, which is a fun spot to spend some time hiking and cooling off in the water. From there, head to Ellison Creek Cascades and see if you can catch some fish (but make sure you have your fishing license!). Once you’re ready to call it a day, The Strawberry Inn is just 20 minutes away!