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Mogollon Rim Vista Loop, AZ

no permit
490 59 2
Guide 59 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.8 of 5 by 26
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 12.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,650 feet
Elevation Gain 1,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.1
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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6  2019-08-24
High - Drew - Woods - Vista - Sinkhole Loop
17  2019-08-24
High - Drew - Woods - Vista - Sinkhole Loop
12  2019-07-20 Naferg323
10  2019-07-20 DixieFlyer
5  2019-02-24 chumley
25  2018-08-12 caragruey
15  2018-08-11
Highline - Woods - Crook - Rim - Sinkhole
10  2018-08-11
Highline - Woods - Crook - Rim - Sinkhole
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author gpsjoe
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 123
Photos 2,810
Trips 140 map ( 1,516 miles )
Age 77 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:05am - 6:34pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
A must do rim view hike!
by gpsjoe

Likely In-Season!
This is a delightful hike through healthy pine forest filled with great views from the Mogollon rim. Sun_Hiker and I did this hike in 2005 and in 2008 for the second time. The trails involved include the Sinkhole, Rim Vista, Drew Canyon and part of the Highline trail from it's intersection with the Drew trail to its eastern end point at the 260 trailhead where the loop starts and ends. These trails are in good to excellent condition and are relatively easy to follow. There are a few fallen trees across the trails but all are easy to step over or hike around.

From the 260 TH turn right and we took the Sinkhole trail 179 for 2.3 miles and about 1,000 feet of elevation gain to the top of the Mogollon Rim. The Sinkhole trail is a nice hike through pine forest that is easy to follow as it turns into an old unused dirt road after a mile or so as it climbs up to the rim. At several points along the way there are some good viewpoints revealing the terrain below the rim. Just as you get to the end of the Sinkhole Trail (at the trailhead), there is now a gate across the trail that you will have to climb over. Once on top of the rim after a visit to the actual Military Sinkhole we followed the Rim Vista trail for about 2.5 miles along the rim. Here we had continuous views from the rim. About 2.0 miles of this trail is paved and has handicapped access from several viewpoint parking areas along the way. Most likely there will be some rim visitors on this segment only.

After 2.5 miles we continued for another 2.0 miles to the drew Trailhead. In our 2005 hike we stayed close to the rim for this part and in 2008 we were closer to Rim road. It doesn't matter how this part is hiked. If you stay south of Rim Road as shown in the graphic below you will intersect FR9350 which you will follow south to the signed Drew trailhead. FR9350, a well traveled dirt road, itself intersects Rim Road. If you travel the north route through Mogollon Campground, the trail ends there. You can blaze a trail to the northwest through the forest, or just follow Rim Road to Carr Lake Campground if you're not as adventurous. As long as you don't cross Rim Road (or fall off the Rim), you'll end up at the confluence of Rim Road 300 and FR9350 near Drew trailhead. This campground (Carr Lake Campground) is between the two roads, so if you followed Rim Road, you can pass through the campground to FR9350. There is a sign off of FR9350 directing to the Drew trailhead on the left.

At the Drew trailhead there are 2 posts you hike between to begin your descent of about 1.1 miles to the Highline trail. Be watchful for the small sign off to your left, so that you don't miss turn for the Highline Trail going east. Otherwise, you'll end up on the Highline Trail going west toward the See Canyon trailhead. This is also a beautiful forested area. At the intersection with the Highline trail there appears to be a fork in the trail. Stay left to continue the hike for about 4.7 miles on the Highline trail that gets you back to the 260 trailhead. This part of the Highline is also very scenic and was a delight to hike again. We both really enjoyed the entire hike!!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-04-21 gpsjoe
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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.

Most recent of 24 deeper Triplog Reviews
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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High - Drew - Woods - Vista - Sinkhole Loop
Started 7:50am at the 260 TH. The hike over to Drew is one of the best stretches on the Highline. We took a mini break at the Drew junction before the only serious elevation on the loop.

FR300 was busy. The hike to the lake is forgettable yet pleasant. Then boom. The half mile on the west side of Woods Canyon Lake is one of the nicer half miles of trail in Arizona. Hiking around the lake on well used trails we passed a group of 30+ scouts. We met and had a quick chat with one of the scout leaders Kevin.

The hike out east of the lake in Woods Canyon low on notable characteristics. Like the Cabin Loop it's easy/pleasant hiking through a forest. Continuing offtrail we find ourselves out of the canyon following chevrons marking the General Crook Trail. This is glance at the gps every three minutes type of pain free offtrail. No bushwhacking.

Iconic views along the Vista trail never disappoint, such a great place to take a break. Then the hike back down to square one on the Military Trail. The tread has a fair shake of ankle busters. Glad it exists and enjoy sections. 1.1 miles to go, Bruce tells the same horrible story about a tree in the ravine every hike.
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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High - Drew - Woods - Vista - Sinkhole Loop
A redo / variation of a loop I've done before.
Starting from the 260 TH going clockwise

Highline Trail #31
Love me some of that super-highway Highline Trail. Temps in the upper 60's, great views, Trees and a breeze.

Drew Trail #291
This is the big climb for the day. Mostly in the trees and steep in a couple spots. 800' of gain in a mile.

Woods Canyon Lake Trail
Once on the Rim, we scoot over to Woods Canyon and follow that to the lake. We followed that CW around the North side of the Lake. Here we ran into a Hazzer Kevin, leading a group of 40 or so Boy Scouts the opposite direction. We stopped an chatted for a bit. Joe's day was made when Kelvin said "I'm not going lie, you made my day, meeting a minor celebrity"

Down the spillway out of Woods Canyon Lake is a pretty area. We hopped out in a side canyon and went cross country.

General Crook Trail #140
This is one of Joe's favorites, so I make it a point to work in into hikes on top of the rim.

Rim Lakes Vista Trail #622
Always great views and few others seen farther that 300' of a parking lot.

Military Sinkhole Trail #179
This one get's you back to the TH. It's an old road for awhile up top, but turns into a trail through the trees.

Good Day, Breezes kept it comfortable.
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Beautiful hike along the rim today with a group of friends. :) I had never hiked this loop before; thought I would get out of the heat down in Phoenix and hike in the Payson area. But it was pretty hot here as well with quite a bit of sun exposure on the last half of the hike. Pretty views from the top, however, made the trip worthwhile. Next time I think I'll wait until cooler weather to attempt this one again. All in all a great day, just too hot. :sweat:
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Woods Rim Loop
I was looking to get 12 miles or so in the morning before meeting up with a friend arriving later for some camping. This turned out a little shorter than planned but still worked out ok. We parked at the end of the 195 camping area and took the nice trail down to the lake, before proceeding around on the north side trail. From there we went a couple miles downstream in Woods Canyon, then climbed out and made an off-trail traverse toward the Military Sinkhole. This area has been heavily thinned and is pretty unattractive right now. Hopefully a little grass grows in and greens it up.

The vista loop spends too much time close to the road, and then it disappears completely after the Mogollon campground. I didn't realize there was no track out here. Not difficult to hike, but with the recent thinning operations still a bit of a mess.

We did a short stretch on a segment of the Aspen/Crook trail before making an off-trail beeline back toward the truck.
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Highline - Drew - Woods Canyon - Sinkhole Loop
The Turtle and I started from the 260 TH CW a bit after 7am.
Temps in the upper 60's to start and the Highline #31 was in great shape.

4.4 miles to the Drew Trail #291 and the biggest up for the day. 800' and 1 mile get you to the top of the rim.

On top we followed the Drew to the General Crook to the "Hole in the Ground" area. An easy off trail took us to the Boulder Hop #413. From here it was another easy off trail to drop into the East Fork making our way towards Woods Canyon Lake. East Fork had a couple of slow areas, but game trails helped for most of the way to the lake.

I always enjoy Woods Canyon Lake. Taking the northern route around the lake keeps you from the majority of the masses. Past the Woods Canyon Dam, we stayed in Woods Canyon for another 2 miles, before climbing out to the south. There was a feature on the Satellite view that I wanted to check out.

Now on the Military Sinkhole #179, a brief check at the sinkhole, then the Rim Vista for the...views and down the rim to the TH.

Thanks Turtle... Good Times
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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very nice loop hike up to the rim

last time i stood at this trailhead was at the end of my dayhike of the highline with JJ. nice to be coherent this time :lol:

i enjoyed the sinkhole trail and it was a pleasant hike up to the rim. worked up a sweat and then froze my pumpkin off when i hit the rim. spectacular views along the rim - as advertised. went off trail for a while and scared up 2 elk :)

down Drew and back on the highline. nice to see this last few miles as it was dark when we came through here last time (and 47 miles into the day) and i was also insane at that point.

great hike. nobody on the rim 'cept me and the squatches. in fact for the 2nd day in a row i saw nobody at all
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Highline - Woods - Willow Spring Lakes Loop
Escaped the valley to the cool air, pines and lakes of the Rim. :y:

I had never seen Willow Springs Lake, so I needed to bake that into the loop. A 40% chance of rain scared some away, but temps were perfect all day, with just a few sprinkles.

We were the second truck at the 260 Trailhead when we started around 7:30. The eastern end of the Highline affords some nice views of the rim as it rollercoasters towards the Drew Trail #291, 4 miles away.

The Drew Trail was the only extended climb for the day at 800' in less than a mile. We made our way through the people camping, over to the first of the easy bushwhacks for the day, Woods Canyon, a tributary of the lake.

Next a fun favorite, the Woods Canyon Lake Trail. I've always liked this easy stroll around this picturesque lake. There were others out enjoying the day, but not in the numbers I expected. Stopped and took pictures of the kids, to see how their family was doing, and then headed past the dam into Woods Canyon on the east side of the lake.

Woods Canyon is an easy walk with use trails for the most part where we hiked. 2+ miles into it we made the short steep climb out and made our way across some scattered pine and meadow area and into Willow Spring Canyon. Getting up to the lake is easiest by following the spillway. I was not as impressed with Willow Spring Lake.

It started sprinkling a bit on us as we made the rest of the journey on the Rims Lake Vista Trail and then made our way back on the Military Sinkhole Trail.

I love the rim hikes and another good hike up there, with interesting conversations with Karl and Ray. Thanks for driving Karl.
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Thought I might catch some autumn colors on this loop - not much today.
At the top of Sinkhole I went over to General Crook trail as I thought some maples over there - nope. Bushwacked back to Rim Lakes Vista and headed for Drew with a lunch stop right on the Rim - what a great view. Quite a few people along the Rim Vista trail but only saw 4 other hikers on Drew and Highline. Lots of water on the rim and along highline.
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Rodeo is in Payson next weekend -- 8/14-16 -- so I figured I'd best do the Mogollon Rim Vista Loop today, rather than fight an even bigger horde of Beeline traffic in seven days. (It's always interesting to be cruising south on Friday afternoon, while the opposite direction is bumper-to-bumper as Phoenix spews its automotive psychoses northward.) Took a bit longer to get to the Two Sixty TH than I expected as there is construction on Hwy. 260. When is there not construction on 260? Seriously, I have never driven it when there isn't. :roll:

Despite being 68° when I started at 8:00 a.m., it was pretty toasty in the sun. Good thing Trail #179 had lots of high quality shade. Unfortunately all the shady parts had hordes of gnats and mosquitoes. I avoided being bitten by keeping moving, but still managed to snort one bug and swallow another. :sk:

Traffic noise on Trail #179, and later on Trail #31, was very loud, as they pass within a few hundred yards of Hwy. 260. :|

The ascent on Trail #179 is in two parts, a fairly steep 300 ft, a mile of flat, and then a not as steep 700 feet. After that the loop is flat or downhill, with no "climb" more than 30 feet here or there.

The two miles of Trail #622 are paved, and near Rim Rd., but the incredible views make it more than worth it. :o

There were not a lot of flowers on the loop, but there was an incredible variety of species. Easily dozens of different kinds. :)

Off trail, it was not hard sticking close to the edge of the Rim. I recommend doing so for additional great views. And birds. I spent about 15 minutes on Hill 7681 taking pictures of birds soaring in the thermals. It was hard to zoom in to get sufficient detail, but keep the birds in frame as they flew, and so I ended up shooting about 30 photos to get a half dozen decent ones.

I was sitting on a rock next to Trail #31 when I heard this loud, heavy, ba-thump, ba-thump thudding up the trail towards me. I looked around to see I was being charged by a squirrel. First thought was "Rabies!?", but when he was two feet away he veered off into a bush. A few seconds later, four ladies on horses, and two large dogs came up the trail. I guess they were squirrel herders. :D


Video :

I'm trying to get better at this video thing, so comment here or on YouTube, and let me know what worked for you, and what didn't, :)
Mogollon Rim Vista Loop
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Bear Canyon Lake / 260 Trail-head loop
This is a figure 8 loop with the 260 TH, Bear Canyon Lake and the Carr Lake trails.

I started out at the 260 TH and there a group of hikers going up the Military Sinkhole.

The route I took was:
Drew Canyon
Boulder Hop
Carr Lake
- jump across to -
General Crook
FR208 - to rim
FR208 - to Bear Canyon Lake
Bear Canyon Lake trail
FR300 (bushwhacked away from the road)
Carr Lake
General Crook
- jump across to -
Rim Vista
Military Sink hole

It was a typical hike except for two things.

When I was going towards the rim (on FR208) I smelled a camp fire [-X . I came across a family hiking the other direction and they showed me a fire that they put out. They ground around a small pine tree was scored! The ground was still smoldering. They told me that a there was a some people camping in that spot the night before. The family was heading out to the Woods Canyon store to report the fire. I continued to the rim and upon my return, There was 3 forest service fire trucks dousing the area. One of the rangers questioned me. I told them what I knew and the ranger though it was a carless cigarette thrown out into the woods.

Driving through Payson , I pulled into a parking lot to grab a Mountain Dew. Suddenly two huge Elks were walking down the Beeline :o ! A pickup truck (with no doors) chased the Elk down a side street. The pickup had a retro 70's police siren. One Elk came back and stood still about 30 feet from the Jeep. The pickup came back and chased it down the side street. It was too dark for a picture.

The hike was fun. The temps were on the cool for the entire hike. Once the sun dropped, it got cold. I almost put a jacket on, but I held out until the descent down the rim. Then the temps got better.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Two-Sixty Trailhead
From Payson take 260 east. About 5 miles past the second exit to the Christopher Creek loop slow down, watch your back and turn left just past the sign to the 260 trailhead. The turnoff is past Colcord Road and marker 278. There is parking and a permanent toilet at this trailhead.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 114 mi - about 2 hours 8 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 212 mi - about 3 hours 28 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 138 mi - about 2 hours 33 mins
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