Escape to Creekside Cabins: Payson’s Hidden Gem Unveiled

By Sondra Barr

Photos courtesy of Creekside Cabins, Tavern and Tours

Nestled beneath the mighty Mogollon Rim, just a stone’s throw from the banks of Christopher Creek, I recently discovered Payson’s best-kept secret: Creekside Cabins, Tavern and Tours. This hidden gem, a mere 90-minute drive from Phoenix, is the perfect retreat for those looking to escape for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Upon arrival, I was instantly captivated by the rustic charm and cozy comfort of the cabins, surrounded by breathtaking Ponderosa pines. Each cabin has its own distinct personality, with themes like the Bird’s Nest, Bear’s Den, Hunter’s Blind, and Enchanted Forest. I stayed in the Bear’s Den, which comfortably slept six and was equipped with all the modern amenities I could wish for – including a flat-screen TV, DirectTV, Keurig coffee maker, microwave, and a small refrigerator.

As someone who often travels with my furry companions, I was relieved to find that the cabins are pet friendly. My dogs, Sox and Toby, loved exploring the surrounding area, and I appreciated the thoughtful accommodations for them.

But the fun didn’t stop at the doorstep of my cabin. Creekside Tavern, an on-site restaurant and bar, served up mouthwatering dishes and signature craft cocktails that truly tantalized my taste buds. With live entertainment every weekend, I was able to kick back and unwind to the sounds of local talent as I feasted on slow-cooked baby back ribs, bacon-wrapped filet mignon, and seasoned grilled salmon. A refreshing cocktail (or two) is always welcome. In my case, I started with the Creekside Bee’s Knees, an invigorating blend of barrel-aged gin, house-made honey/lemon syrup, and lavender bitters, served up with lemon garnish. Because one is never enough, the Mogollon Margarita followed, while I enjoyed the aroma of BBQ meats wafting from the 2,500-square-foot patio in the pines.

Eager to explore the great outdoors, I took advantage of Creekside’s Jeep tours that whisked me away into the heart of Arizona rim country. I discovered the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, marveled at the breathtaking views, and encountered local wildlife in their natural habitat. With elevations ranging from 5,800 to 7,500 feet, I was able to truly appreciate the majestic beauty of the Mogollon Rim and its surroundings.

During my stay, I couldn’t help but think of how perfect Creekside Cabins would be for a memorable and affordable wedding venue. Their newly built wedding site offers stunning views of the Mogollon Rim and Tonto National Forest and can comfortably accommodate up to 150 people on the property itself, eliminating the need to secure off-site accommodations. With a wealth of activities nearby – including stream fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking – entertaining a wedding party would be a breeze.

Indeed, Creekside Cabins offers a unique and versatile location that can cater to a wide range of groups and activities. Its combination of on-site accommodations, breathtaking scenery, and nearby activities make it an excellent choice for corporate retreats, family reunions, special events, and girls’ trips.

Plus, as an avid Instagrammer, I was thrilled to find countless picture-perfect spots to capture my special moments. Whether it’s a family vacation or a dream wedding, Creekside Cabins provides a treasure trove of beautiful memories and photographs to cherish forever.

If you’re looking for the perfect getaway, head over to Creekside Cabins, Tavern & Tours in the village of Christopher Creek – just 22 miles east of Payson and 10 miles west of Woods Canyon Lake – and discover for yourself what makes it the best-kept secret in Payson. For more information or to make a reservation, visit