Introduction to Payson, Arizona

Payson, Arizona, in Gila county, is 59 miles NE of Scottsdale, Arizona and 62 miles NE of Mesa, Arizona.

Payson History

Payson was founded in 1882. At that time, the area was known as Green Valley. On March 3, 1884, the community was named 'Payson' after Illinois congressman, Louis Edwin Payson. This name was adopted at the suggestion of postmaster Frank C. Hise. Payson remained an isolated town for many years, as the town's mail was delivered by horseback until about 1914. During the 1930s, many roads were constructed. The paved road connecting the town with Phoenix was completed in 1959.

Payson and nearby Attractions

  • Shoo-Fly Indian Archaeological Site
  • Museum of the Forest
  • Northern Gila County Historical Society
  • Elephant Head Tank
  • Payson Rodeo Grounds
  • Tonto National Forest

Things To Do In Payson

While in Payson, one can visit the nearby historical sites and museums like the Shoo-Fly Indian Archaeological Site, the Museum of the Forest, the Rim Country Museum and the Northern Gila County Historical Society. One can also visit the nearby parks that offer a range of recreational opportunities. Among these are Rumsey Park, the Tonto National Forest and the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The Tonto National Forest Seismological Observatory is another popular tourist destination. The town also hosts annual celebrations like Aero Fair, the Northern Gila County Fair and the Western Heritage Festival.

Payson Transportation

Flagstaff Pulliam is the nearest airport.

Payson Higher Education

Higher educational opportunities are offered by Scottsdale Community College and Paradise Valley Community College.


Total Population 15,248
Male Share of the Population 46.9%
Female Share of the Population 53.1%
Senior Citizens 36.1%
Employed Population 16+ 4,913
Age of the Population 57


% of people married 59.5%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 22.6%
Median Earnings25+ $28,955
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,911
Median Earnings With High School Degree $24,444


Median Family Income $50,554
% Above Poverty Level 87.3%
% Below Poverty Level 12.7%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 26 minutes
% Working from Home 7.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 0%
% Using Public Transportation %


People Living Alone 28.7%
Median Gross Rent $878
Median House Value $191,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 21.3%
US/American 0%
English 14.7%
Irish 14.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Payson Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 59 miles NE of Scottsdale, Arizona (center to center)
Nearest Large City 62 miles NE of Mesa, Arizona
County Gila
Standard Zip Codes 85541
P.O. Box Zip Codes 85547
Phone Area Codes 928
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city does not observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 34.23
Longitude -111.324

Payson Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station PAYSON
Distance 0.5 miles
Jan Temp 25 to 54 F
Apr Temp 35 to 71 F
Jul Temp 58 to 93 F
Oct Temp 40 to 75 F
Annual Precip 22 inches
Distance 24 miles
Jan Temp 31 to 61 F
Apr Temp 44 to 79 F
Jul Temp 70 to 102 F
Oct Temp 48 to 83 F
Annual Precip 18.2 inches
Distance 34.2 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 67 F
Apr Temp 52 to 83 F
Jul Temp 75 to 105 F
Oct Temp 60 to 88 F
Annual Precip 15.8 inches

Payson Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(928) 474-3222
Emergency Service: Yes

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Payson High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 904 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.2

A Charter School.
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 49 students.

A Charter School.
Serves 35 students.

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