Heber is nestled in a wooded valley (Black Canyon) at 6,500 feet near the edge of the Colorado Plateau of north central Arizona; the land falls away steeply ten miles south at the Mogollon Rim. To the north, the plains slope much more gently, becoming treeless and desert-like about a third of the way along Hwy 377 to Holbrook, the nearest large city. Other routes into Heber are Hwy 277 from Snowflake, Hwy 260 from Show Low and Hwy 260 from Payson. The community is now known officially as Heber-Overgaard, incorporating an adjacent settlement just to the east, where most of the limited selection of shops and restaurants are found. The town is named after Heber J Grant, the seventh president of the Mormon church, who stayed at this location for a short time in 1882, as a guest of one of the pioneer settlers.
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In the center of Heber along Highway 260, Best Western Sawmill Inn is a good base from which to explore the surrounding national forest land and the Mogollon Rim. The hotel is situated on the southwest side of the highway, a short distance from the junction with AZ 277, surrounded by thick pine woods but within a mile of several restaurants and shops; it has 43 rooms, a fitness center, guest laundry, meeting space and a dining area for the free continental breakfast. Some accommodations contain a refrigerator, microwave and sofa bed. The hotel's name references the sawmill industry, which has long been established in this scenic, densely forested region.