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Shortest Way to Horton Springs
Horton Springs Trail #292 is the shortest way to hike to Horton Springs. At just over 1 mile in length each direction and close to 1280 feet of elevation loss and then gain on return, the hike to the springs will be steep. The return is the challenge for most hikers as the trail ascends the majority of the escarpment of the Mogollon Rim.
Unless you are incorporating trail #292 into a loop using some of the other trails and roads in this part of the tri-forest area, you will likely access the Horton Springs Trail from FR 300. The trailhead is easy to find as a large brown metal sign indicates where #292 leaves FR 300.
The hike is very steep descending the rim, but fine for someone who hikes often. At some times the trail is a little braided, but in general, this trail is traveled often enough to have a well-worn path. Numerous cairns also line the entirety of the trail. Overall, I found this to be a pleasant hike through mostly Coconino Sandstone.
The forest cover thickens as you approach the springs and you begin to encounter some Arizona Walnut and other deciduous trees once above the spring. Follow the cairns around and then through a non-barb wire fence with an obvious opening for hikers and you will see the spring in front of you and slightly below. From here, you connect to several other trails including the ever-popular Highline Trail #31, as well as the Horton Creek Trail #285.
If returning to the Rim or locating #292 from one of the other connecting trails, you will find #292 above and slightly west(left) of the opening for the mouth of Horton Springs. Find the non-barbed wire fence and opening in the fence. Pass through the opening, and turn to the right, locate the cairns. The ascent should be easy to obvious and is marked by a series of cairns for the entire length of the trail. Views open up near the Rim top and are pleasant.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.