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Horton Creek Trail #285, AZ
Description 289 Triplogs 10 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Payson Northeast
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 6.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,468 feet
Elevation Gain 1,183 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.62
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Author joe bartels
Descriptions 198
Routes 579
Photos 8,212
Trips 2,595 map ( 13,514 miles )
Age 45
Location Phoenix, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
7  2014-11-02 fotogirl53
4  2014-10-31 pat shaw
11  2014-10-25
Derrick Trail - Horton Lo
8  2014-10-19
Derrick Trail - Horton Lo
13  2014-10-10 ALMAL
15  2014-09-13 Uncharted
36  2014-09-07 SunDevil3
10  2014-08-23 ALMAL
9  2014-08-10 winotron
7  2014-08-02 hippiepunkpirate
9  2014-06-14 cw50must
4  2014-05-04 Alston Neal
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 14
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Forest Tonto
Backpack - Connecting Only
Seasons - Spring to Autumn
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.0  Derrick Trail - Horton Loop
0.0  Horton Super Loop Plus
0.1  Derrick Trail #33
0.7  Derrick Spur Trail #32
1.5  Naco Paleo Site - HWY 260
2.0  Promontory Trail #278
[ View More! ]
     HAZ - Selfie
     Spring Box
     Abert's Squirrel
     Arizona Gray Squirrel
     Arizona Mountain Kingsnake
     Arizona Sister Butterfly
     Arizona Snaketail Dragonfly
   Assassin Fly
     Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly
     Bald Eagle
   Blue Copper
     Brown Trout
     Common Buckeye Butterfly
     Desert Grassland Whiptail
     Dotted Roadside-Skipper
     Fall Webworm moth caterpillar
     Forester Moth
     Great Horned Owl
     Horned Lizard
     Madrean Alligator Lizard
     Mormon Fritillary Butterfly
     Nokomis Fritillary
     Northern Flicker
     Orange Skipperling
     Orb-Weaver Spider
     Ornate Tree Lizard
     Plateau Fence Lizard
     Plateau Striped Whiptail
     Pond Damselfly
     Rainbow Trout
     Robber Fly
     Spring Azure Butterfly
     Terrestrial Gartersnake
     Theona Checkerspot Butterfly
 Unidentified Butterfly
     Unidentified Fauna
     Western Fence Lizard
     Wild Turkey
     Woolly Bear Caterpillar Moth
     Arizona Blackberry*
     Arizona Grape*
     Arizona Sycamore*
     Arizona Thistle
     Arizona Walnut*
     Bergamot (aka Beebalm)
     Bigtooth Maple*
     Bluebonnet Lupine
     Butterfly Weed
     Common Monkey Flower
     Common Mullein
     Cutleaf Coneflower
     False Indigo
     False Solomon's Seal
     Fly Agaric Mushroom
     Fremont Cottonwood*
     Gambel Oak*
   Grahams Tick Clover
     Mexican cancer-root
     Mohave Aster
     New Mexico Locust*
     Poison Ivy*
     Polypore Mushrooms and Conks
     Red Cinquefoil
     Threadleaf Groundsel
     Unidentified Flora
     Virginia Creeper*
     Western Dayflower
     Wild Geranium*
     Wood Sorrel
     Yellow Columbine
     Yellow Coneflower

by joe bartels

This is the most popular day hike in the area. Horton Spring is an unusually large spring. Water literally gushes from the side of the rim supplying Horton Creek. Think of the Rim as a huge sponge and Horton Spring is the faucet. Okay on to the trail. Starting from the parking area cross the concrete bridge. Continue on the pavement up the hill heading towards the campgrounds. The trailhead is on the left side of this road. Check out the trail information and hit the trail. First you will go down and cross the creek. The creek is typically dry in this area as it runs underground in limestone caverns for the first half mile. The trail is wide and easy to follow as it's an old jeep trail. Before then it was just a narrow trail to connect homesteads in the area.

Horton Creek One of which was L.J. Horton, a cattlemen that settled near the creek. Horton lost his heard to thieves and never ranched again. The trail is fairly straight forward for the first three miles. In the final mile the trail switchbacks to ascend the hill. Just before the springs you will encounter an intersection with the Highline Trail #31. Go right from the intersection a short distance to reach the springs. The area here is lush, enjoy.

My sister claims to have walked the length of the creek. This would be a lot of fun though more exhausting. Many little waterfalls and some pools are encountered along the way. Keep in mind the going is much slower in the creek. Set aside the whole day for a creek venture. The trail is not too exerting energy wise. The elevation gain is vaguely noticed. Families with children over the age of ten frequently hike this trail on weekends.


Directions Preferred Months Apr May Sep Oct
Water / Source:Creek, bring a good filter
Preferred Start9 AM Cell Phone Signal??? Sunrise6:21am Sunset6:40pm
Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
Fees / Permit

Tonto Pass is a forest wide permit for recreational sites and campgrounds. Typically not for trailheads.

To Horton Trailhead

From Payson take 260 East for 16 miles to FR289 which is Tonto Creek Road. Turn left on to FR289 and follow a mile to the Upper Tonto Creek campgrounds. Hiker parking is before the campgrounds (left) across a bridge in a small lot. A composite toilet is available.

Horton Creek Trailhead cross back over the bridge and follow the dirt road up towards the campgrounds for about 150 feet. The trailhead should now be apparent on the left.

Derrick Trailhead follow to Horton Trailhead, then continue on the dirt road another minute or two to the end.

Note: If the trailhead parking lot is full the campground host may or may not allow you to park for a fee in the campground. It varies year to year so it's good to ask first.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 105 mi, 2 hours 2 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 203 mi, 3 hours 32 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 130 mi, 2 hours 32 mins
Login for Mapped Driving Directions
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.
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