Rim Country 4 Wheelers is an off-road Jeep and 4WD club in Payson, AZ, making off-road excursions to enjoy the natural beauty of what is considered to be the geographic center of Arizona.

 

Lunch on the trail. Many times we find ourselves out in the wild with no shade or other protection from the elements. This time we used the road for our lunch spot clearing.
Lunch on the trail.
Many times we find ourselves out in the wild with no shade or other protection from the elements. This time we used the road for our lunch spot clearing.
Group photo after the run. When the opportunity becomes available for a group shot, we take advantage of it and gather everybody for a photo. This shot was taken on the backside of Roosevelt Dam. Photographer: Garah Monnich
Group photo after the run.
When the opportunity becomes available for a group shot, we take advantage of it and gather everybody for a photo. This shot was taken on the backside of Roosevelt Dam. Photographer: Garah Monnich

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a population of about 20,000 you might be surprised to learn that Payson, AZ is a town full of off-road trailing enthusiasts. Located in Tonto National Forest and easily within reach of Apache-Sitegreaves National Forest and Coconino National Forest, with access to hundreds of diverse Jeep trails to explore.

What makes RC4W standout from other clubs is the trails have more to offer than other areas. The majority of the trails have historical points of interest, making the runs far more interesting than just dirt roads.

As Bob Markin puts it,

“I enjoy the diversity of the rides we go on. Sometimes they are more challenging; sometimes, they are less challenging. As we take weekly trips, depending on my mood, I can pick or choose when to go. In addition, there is a significant amount of history to the area, thus a lot to learn. The scenery and photographic opportunities are plentiful, adding to the exploring experience.”

: Lunch on the trail. Lunch spot picked out by the trail leader. Needed a large area for the number of participants this day. Photographer: Fern McKinney
Lunch on the trail.
Lunch spot picked out by the trail leader. Needed a large area for the number of participants this day. Photographer: Fern McKinney

Humble beginnings…

It started when several like-minded friends and acquaintances of different experience levels that came together in 1997 to form Rim Country 4 Wheelers. Being located in Payson, AZ, with some of the most beautiful scenery, near historical sites and access to hundreds of amazing trails, certainly gives Jeep and 4WD enthusiasts something to talk about. The founders loved going on the trail runs and exploring the variety of trails available in the area. This is the reason this club was never going to be a boring club that only focused on business. The founders wanted to create a tightly-knit community of like-minded individuals who love to explore the natural landscape that these beautiful Arizona forests provide. RC4W trail leaders will draw attention to different points of interest as they progress through the ride.

Needing a little help. This is just one of our many trails that require experience and assistance from a spotter. It is better to use the spotter than damage your Jeep and require the winch line. Photographer: Garah Monnich
Needing a little help.
This is just one of our many trails that require experience and assistance from a spotter. It is better to use the spotter than damage your Jeep and require the winch line. Photographer: Garah Monnich

RC4W club members are always eager to help new members and visitors that are less experienced. Drivers with less experience are always positioned between more experienced drivers so they can learn by watching the Jeep in front which helps them learn how to pick their line on the trail. The experienced members also help as spotters at difficult points on the trail to provide advice and direction for the less experienced whenever necessary. This makes it easier for new members and visitors to learn and ensures that nobody gets left behind.

 

Club member Russ Russell describes his experience of interacting with the rich history of the region while going on trail runs with the club:

“Often, we visit old cabins in the area along with Native American ruins. In addition, many historical sites were left behind from the early settlers, i.e., Camp Reno, Battle of Big Dry Wash, etc.”

Fall Colors Run Once a year we make a trip to the high country for the fall color changes in the Aspens. We stopped here to hike back in for pictures. Photographer: James Thompson
Fall Colors Run
Once a year we make a trip to the high country for the fall color changes in the Aspens. We stopped here to hike back in for pictures. Photographer: James Thompson
3 - : Steep Trail Descent A view from across the drainage of the group making their way down a narrow, steep and rocky trail. Photographer: James Thompson
Steep Trail Descent A view from across the drainage of the group making their way down a narrow, steep and rocky trail. Photographer: James Thompson

Additional Rides

Rim Country 4 Wheelers make every attempt to run a week-long trip to Moab, UT, or Silverton, CO, once a year on its annual rides. RC4W always aims to provide a complete experience for its members, rides ranging from the desert to the high country in the Ponderosa Pines, visiting places that not everyone can experience unless you have someone to guide you. This is why RC4W offering a unique opportunity to new off road enthusiasts.

 

4th of July Parade 2021 RC4W likes to participate in our town's parades. This year there were over 150 different vehicles from Jeeps, side by sides, motorcycles, trucks and cars. Fun was had by all. Photographer: Garah Monnich
4th of July Parade 2021
RC4W likes to participate in our town’s parades. This year there were over 150 different vehicles from Jeeps, side by sides, motorcycles, trucks and cars. Fun was had by all. Photographer: Garah Monnich

More Than Just An Off-Road Trail Club

Today, Rim Country 4 Wheelers is more than a mere social group it is a family. The club members help each other on projects that require assistance, from minor upgrades and repairs on their vehicles to building out a full rig and everything in between.

RC4W welcomes all Jeep and 4WD enthusiasts to the club and has formal club meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month. With 99% of club members retired, the club runs weekly trails every Wednesday when the trails are less crowded, making it perfect for inexperienced off-road drivers to learn from the more experienced.

Christmas Parade The lead Jeep, pulling a trailer with elves working on a small Jeep in a makeshift garage. Made from scratch by our members. There were 9 additional Jeeps decorated behind the lead Jeep. Photographer: Garah Monnich
Christmas Parade
The lead Jeep, pulling a trailer with elves working on a small Jeep in a makeshift garage. Made from scratch by our members. There were 9 additional Jeeps decorated behind the lead Jeep. Photographer: Garah Monnich

RC4W has also become an integral part of the community in Payson, AZ, participating in the town’s annual Christmas Parade, with all the Jeeps fully decorated. The lead Jeep pulls a fully ornate trailer and displays all the toys collected for Toys for Tots. Individual members of the club also band together to make donations for the lesser privileged children through Shop With A Hero program for kids.

Always Looking To Help New Members

The club is always welcoming to new and prospective members. Non-members can attend any of the runs as a guest. Prior to a trail ride the members conduct an informal interview of guests to determine whether the vehicle is adequately equipped to handle the trail. Besides the weekly runs on Wednesdays, RC4W runs on weekends as needed for special occasions and to accommodate guests.

The club is always open to new members. If you’re looking to experience the best of what Arizona has to offer Rim Country 4 Wheelers is right here to welcome you!

“Leave no trace” and “We leave no one behind” are mantras that RC4W abides by. If you would like to learn more about Rim Country 4 Wheelers and how to join, check out RC4W’s website and Facebook page.

2 COMMENTS

  1. We appreciate the exposure this article has given our club. After reading other clubs introductions to Easy Off Roading, I am looking forward to submitting a review of a few of our great runs to your publication. We are a very busy club that runs more than 50 trails a year plus our annual training and other events in which we participate. Thank you Ed for your guidance and encouragement.

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