When it comes to visiting a state filled with cities of a great heritage and a rich history, Star Village is comparatively new and feels like a breath of fresh air. Located next to the renowned Tonto National Forest, Star Valley is surprisingly large in the north of the Gila county. Here is a list of the 10 best things to do during your visit to Star Valley to make your trip worthwhile:
Best things to do in Star Valley | California
1. Marvel At The Natural Beauty Of Tonto Natural State Bridge State Park
Nestled right outside of Payson on Route 87 of Arizona, the Tonto Natural State Bridge State is a natural phenomenon and a cherished national symbol. The rock bridge has an exciting history behind its discovery. Discovered by a Scot on the run from a band of angry Apache fighters in the 1870s, tourists will be able to see very residence where his descendants stayed in until the 1940s. The rock bridge itself has a massive length of about 400 feet and stands at a jaw-dropping height of almost 200 feet. The park is aesthetically pleasing while cradled in the arms of nature, creating ample opportunities for photography sessions as well.
2. Take A Walk At The Horton Creek Trail
Located close by the Upper Tonto Creek Campground, the Horton Creek Trail is the perfect spot to go on a long walk. The trail is formed of a micro-ecosystem, which makes it highly dependent upon the Horton Creek. Sourced from a subterranean spring, the Horton Creek has a cool stream of water flowing through it throughout the entire year. Summertime is the best as the creek is perfect to beat the heat. When you’re not cooling down by the creek, the trail can provide you with hours of exploration too.
3. Visit The Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery – Things to do in Star Valley
The fish hatchery at Tonto Creek is a great place for tourists to learn about the life cycle of fishes first-hand. It is also a great place for enthusiastic fishermen to try their luck in the water. Tourists can also buy food to feed the baby fishes that are being bred there. As a bonus, the remote location of the hatchery provides an excellent spot to catch glimpses of the wildlife that inhabit the area too. However, it is advised to call ahead before visiting the hatchery, as it is not open all the time.
4. Go Camping At Water Wheel Campground – Things to do in Star Valley
The water wheel campground is an ideal spot to spend a night in the arms of nature during the summer. A short hike from the campground leads to a watering hole, which provides a beautiful scenery. However, be careful as the swimming hole as sharp rocks and the area itself is prone to flash floods. Therefore, it is advised to take necessary precautions when visiting the area.
5. Go Boating At The Granite Dells
The Granite Dells are bound to have you spellbound as the area is filled with boulders that feel alien to its surroundings. Located a few miles south from Prescott, the Dells can be accessed through a number of hiking trails. These trails can also be used to visit the Watson and Willow lakes, which are popular among tourists, boaters, swimmers and fishermen alike. The lakes and dells also have some beautiful forestry surrounding it creating the perfect picturesque view.
You may want to know: Top 10 list of best lakes in California
6. Travel To The Shoofly Village Ruins
The Shoofly village ruins are an exquisite opportunity for tourists to gather first-hand knowledge regarding the settlers of the past here in the Payson Valley and the Star Valley region. Items and structures of the Native Americans occupying these areas in the past can still be found in this village. These archaeological ruins bear the hallmarks of the heritage of Star Valley as they date back to more than 1,000 years. So, grab your picnic basket and head over to enjoy a relaxing morning at the Shoofly Village Ruins while learning about the rich history of the land!
7. Hiking At Hellsgate Wilderness Area
Unlike its intimidating name, the Hellsgate Wilderness Area is quite the charming place for an evening of hiking. Declared to be an Arizona preservation site in 1984, the entire area is a testament to natural artistry. Located among the Upper Tonto Creek and the rim, this area sports a number of spectacular canyons, which has been created from rain run-off over countless eons. With mountains as high as 6,000 feet; it is an instant favorite for hikers and casual picnickers alike. This is a favorite area for local fishermen as the creeks here contain many trout and smallmouth bass.
8. Shop At Payson Farmer’s Market – Things to do in Star Valley
Open only during Saturday mornings, the Payson Farmer’s Market contains items that are difficult to find throughout the entirety of Arizona. Standing next to the South Beeline Highway, this market contains a wide variety of items. Be sure to try out their rich coffee, delicious baked goods, and mouth-watering chocolate during your visit!
9. Picnic At Dry Lake Park – Things to do in Star Valley
The Dry Lake Park is Star Valley’s most popular spot when it comes to outdoor activities. The multiple ranges found here are an excellent outlet to practice archery and shooting guns. The park also has a special area for paintball shooting each filled with unique obstacles as well as a place to fly radio-controlled airplanes, helicopters and drones. The ideal time to visit this place would be during the winter.
10. Stargazing At Discovery Park – Things to do in Star Valley
Situated inside the Eastern Arizona College campus, the Discovery Park feels like a discount tour of NASA. Finished off with an observatory and a space shuttle simulator. The park also has a couple of exhibits, galleries, and artifacts relevant to history and different fields of science, which is bound to make your afternoon here an interesting one.
In conclusion, here are the 10 Best things to do in Star Valley. We hope this list makes your stay there memorable and worthwhile.