There are two possible trailheads to begin this hike from its southern end. The Strawberry trailhead which is located 1/4 mile west of SR 87 mile post 270 on the south side provides the most parking, but there is also a small parking pullout at the beginning of this hike about 100 feet west of the same mile post on the north side of the highway.
This hike follows an old jeep trail up from SR 87 to the north. There is a fork at the beginning, and you want to veer to the right. There is another apparent fork about 200 feet up from there where the trail intersects a power line. Go left here in a northeasterly direction rather than following the power line. The trail here is fairly steep and rocky.
The trail quickly ascends the west side of a small knob of the Mogollon Rim that lies north of the town of Pine and east of the hamlet of Strawberry. The drainage you are climbing above flows from Fuller Spring which eventually runs into Strawberry Creek. The trail's condition improves as the grade lessens, and it is quite pleasant here with views into the Fuller Spring canyon and points west. The trail sticks to the south side of this drainage before reaching its head above Fuller Spring where it button hooks to the northwest before meandering in a roughly northward fashion towards SR 87.
The portion of this trail that travels up the Fuller Spring drainage is marked by well-constructed rock walls that support the path as it traverses the various drainages coming off of the Mogollon Rim.
The trail eventually tops out on the Mogollon Rim, and it's not a dramatic climax due to the Rim's gradual slope here. The trail has been fairly exposed to this point other than the portions when it crosses the rock-walled drainages, but it's now very exposed in chaparral vegetation. The official name of this trail changes from FR 608T to FR 608, and you can follow it all the way to SR 87. To continue on to SR 87 follow FR 608 to FR 9367R. Go right (east) at this junction for a few hundred feet before turning left (north) to continue along FR 608.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
Paved - Car Okay
To hike Take SR 87 north from Payson past the town of Pine. If you've reached Strawberry then you've gone too far. There are two possible trailheads to begin this hike from its southern end. The Strawberry trailhead which is located 1/4 mile west of SR 87 mile post 270 on the south side provides the most parking, but there is also a small parking pullout at the beginning of this hike about 100 feet west of the same mile post on the north side of the highway.