PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Sometimes referred to as the backbone of Arizona, the Mogollon Rim is a geologic landmark stretching 200 miles across the state.
Formed by geologic faulting, the Mogollon Rim is the southwest portion of the larger Colorado Plateau.
During the Mesozic Age, the earth's crust underwent an upheaval. The vertical wall of rock formed what we now call the Mogollon Rim.
Historians say the geological feature is named for Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, a Spanish governor of New Mexico from 1712 to 1715.
The western arm of the rim begins near the town of Ash Fork and runs southeast to the White Mountains near the New Mexico state line.
South of Show Low, the steep scarp is again blanketed by comparatively recent volcanism that formed the White Mountains. The once molten blanket covers much evidence of the Plateau’s edge as one travels into New Mexico.
The towns of Payson, Sedona, Show Low, Alpine and Pinetop-Lakeside are all located along the rim.
A good road trip to see the Mogollon Rim is on Forest Road 300, General Crook's Trail. It's a well maintained dirt road that runs along the edge through scenic pine forest.
Along the way, look to the south and the forest opens up to offer expansive views of the Tonto Basin. Multiple pull-off areas make it tempting to pull over and take pictures.