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Promontory Butte 7,914, AZ

no permit
295 33 2
Guide 33 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.7 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,853 feet
Elevation Gain 128 feet
Accumulated Gain 289 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.55
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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4  2019-08-15 LJW
7  2019-06-01
Promontory Butte via See Canyon
8  2019-04-30
Promontory Butte via See Canyon
28  2018-04-04
Horton Super Loop Plus
9  2018-03-22
Derrick - Horton Loop
8  2018-01-13
10  2017-08-19 chumley
15  2017-05-19
Derrick - Horton Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug
Sun  6:08am - 6:30pm
Official Route
10 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Gila county high point sits 525 NE of Promontory Butte 7,914. The 15 Arizona highpoints is a popular list to tackle. Gila County is south off the edge of the rim. The hike & 7,914 are Coconino County. The highpoint for Coconino is Humphreys Peak North of Flagstaff.

Arbitrary as a standalone hike. The Official Route here is just a nice option. Most of which follows old faded forest roads.

Loop Ideas
Highline - Promontory - See Spring Canyon 17 mi / 3.3k aeg

Derrick See Promontory Horton Loop 22.25 mi / 4.4k aeg

Linking this hike from another triplog will mark it off in the Done column in TrailDEX, which is "Find" at the top of pages.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    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 20 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to do this hike once again. This time, there were 6 of us with a meetup group that were on the hike.

    We did the loop clockwise, so as to avoid going up the Promontory Trail. On this trip, going up the Horton Springs Trail seemed more difficult than last time, and going down the Promontory Trail seemed easier than last time.

    Once we got on FR 76, I took a bit of a circuitous route getting to Promontory Butte -- a more direct route would probably have shaved a half mile or so off of the distance.

    The views at Promontory Butte were very nice, as always. Actually, it was a very clear day, so the views were even better than normal.

    When we started the hike the temperature was in the low 30's, and it was around 70 when we got back.

    One interesting thing about this hike was when we were hiking on Rim Road 300/General Crook Trail 140. We were walking east on the Rim Road and an off road vehicle came up behind us. When the vehicle got beside us, the driver told us that as he was coming up to us, a mountain lion went across the road just behind us. Since we were looking ahead, we never saw the mountain lion. I am just glad that the mountain lion was not looking for a
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I have wanted to do this hike, and I decided to do the loop clockwise so as to go down, instead of up, Promontory Trail #278 -- I think that was the right call.

    Starting at the Horton Creek TH, Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I travelled on Horton Creek Trail #285 to get to Horton Spring, and then took the Horton Springs Trail #292 to get up to Rim Road 300/General Crook Trail #140. Then we went east on the General Crook Trail for a little over 2 miles, and then took an easy jaunt through the forest to get to Forest Road 276. We then took that to the Promentory TH, and then went to the SE to get over to Promentory Butte. At the Butte we stopped at the point where we saw a survey marker and the logbook that had been placed there by Joe Bartels back in 2003. From there we went SE to where the Butte juts out a bit, and saw 2 other survey markers. Then we backtracked back to the Promentory TH, and descended down to the Highline Trail on the very steep Promentory Trail #278. Then we turned left on the Highline Trail and after about 3/4 mile we took the Derrick Trail back to the Horton Springs TH.

    As advertised, all but 2 miles of the hike are on easy to moderate trails. The exceptions are the Horton Springs Trail #292 and the Promontory Trail #278. I had never been on the Horton Springs Trail, and it was easier than I thought that it would be -- the footing was mostly pretty good and the trail was generally easy to follow. But it was fairly steep, gaining around 1,200 feet over 1.2 miles. I had been up and down the Promontory Trail before, and it does not get any easier. This is a primitive trail that is poorly maintained, is hard to follow, is very steep (you go down 1,150 feet in 0.8 miles), has poor footing on much of the trail, and there is a lot of deadfall to negotiate. Other than that, it is a delightful trail to hike!

    Virtually all of the elevation gain on this hike is in the first 5 miles. In looking at a map, I could have shortened the distance by a mile or more by exiting the General Crook Trail sooner, and by not taking Forest Road 76 all the way to the Promontory TH and then backtracking back to Promontory Butte.

    We saw a couple of people on the Horton Creek Trail who were camping; other than that, we did not see anyone else all day.

    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This hike began and ended at the Horton Creek TH. We did the Horton Creek Loop Counterclockwise by taking the Derrick Trail to the Highline Trail on to Horton Spring. At the Spring, we came back to the TH on the Horton Creek Trail. Along the way, we took a side trip up to Promontory Butte by going up and back down on the Promontory Trail. The Derrick, Highline, and Horton Creek Trails were all in good shape and were easy to follow. The Promontory Trail was a different story -- you won't see too many named trails worse than this one. Going up was much worse than going down, mainly because it was very difficult to follow the trail. I had to refer to my GPS numerous times to make sure that I was still on the trail. Even though the trail was steep, on the way down you could see in advance where the trail was, so you knew where you were going. It was nice once on top of the Rim. We went over to the survey marker and signed the log book, which was place there by Joe Bartels back in 2003. Next time I might just do the Horton Super Loop Plus instead of this hike, and do it clockwise to avoid having to go up the Promontory Trail. Of course, then you'd have to go up the Horton Creek Trail which isn't a piece of cake either.
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Good little Rim Country leg stretcher. I figured hitting Promontory would increase my chances of seeing snow. Started up Derrick and onto Promontory. The climb up was over quicky. The trail is in great shape and easier than ever to follow. Thin layers of snow clung to the shade. There was some snow on top of the butte, not nearly as much as there should be. A mere inches of crunchy snow blanketed the forest floor. It was a desolate road walk across the butte. My 'winter wonderland' for the day. Tread was snow, ice and frozen earth. Avoid the ice and you're fine. The short walk on Rim Rd was the same. The upper reaches of See Cyn was a little winter-like. That ended quickly. Trail was dry, no mud. Midway down it turns to a fall scene. Passed a couple of dog walkers as I cruised on down to the TH to jump on Highline. Ate my lunch as I made my way over to Horton. It was sunny and warm now. The 30 degree starting temp turned to 60. Stopped at the spring to grab a little water before making my dash back to the TH. Passed a couple families out for a stroll. Fantastic weather for an outing in Rim Country. Saw a dozen elk and a few deer.
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    We had some time to kill, and though I'd done this one before, it had been many years. We used to drive out all the way to the point and camp here. Over the years, the road that once existed has been lost to nature. I'm actually pretty ok with that despite the fond memories of camping here.

    There's a register and cairn at the witness corner monument. I'm 99.97% sure that's not the high point, but whatever. We walked down to the Promontory benchmark too, so somewhere along the way we crossed the high point for sure. It was nice to get back here and see how it's changed over time.
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Did the popular loop with the side trip to Promontory Butte, except I went up Horton and down Derrick. Pretty nice out. Lots of birds, and the air was chilly. Nice to be on the Rim. Good views of the Arizona Highlands.

    Promontory seems to be a trail in name only, and should either be decommissioned or rebuilt. Lost it in a tangle of dead and down, game trails and rough spots on the way down and I ended up doing an off trail hike down slope. That wasn't fun at all. Due to this I came down on the Highline east of Derrick and went a bit further out to the east before I realized I was too far below Promontory Point. Turned back and I easily found Derrick Trail. For some reason people don't want this high point from below.

    Adjusted the AEG and miles to reflect what are the more accurate GPS routes for this.
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I had the itch for a week, and wanting to enjoy nature before the world blows up, I called out hookey today and made a beeline for the rim (get it?) Anyway, I left the basin at 4AM and got to the trailhead at 6:15. The goal is to go up Horton to Highline and then up the Promontory to get the Gila county highpoint and finish off down Derrick. It was still pretty dark so I couldn't see much of the creek and trees but this was perfect becuse the scenery just got better the further I went up and as the sun was rising. Most of the leaves were already off the trees but there was still enough to get my autumn fill. Made it to Horton Springs in an hour and ten minutes. The Highline had quite a bit of elevation gain as it rose a few hundred feet and then dropped a few hundred feet and then back up again. That was nothing compared to the Promontory trail.. The trail up was in pretty good shape just super steep. There were only a few spots where it was a little confusing but a quick spot of rock cairns got me through. Lots of deadfall to negotiate. There were also a few springs up high that made the ground very muddy and slippery up there. It was just relentless up up up. Baby steps.. Baby steps.. Made it to the top in 3 hours. Took the jaunt over the the highpoint and found a giant rock pile nearby but my gps was not agreeing so a little walk further and I found the official high point! Had lunch overlooking the greenness below when I felt something eerie behind me. I didn't see nor hear anything, just a weird feeling. As I made the way back to the trail down I spotted a fresh pile of scat. I don't know what it was from but it was big and a lot. Being all alone, my pace picked up a lil bit after that as I found the trail and made my way down the rim. Derrick trail was so different than Horton as it was all manzanita and shrubs and not shady at all until the last mile or so. Made it back to the Jeep in just over 2 hours. I didn't see another person the entire time out there which made this hike extra special. I was really looking forward to this trip and it was definitely worth it!

    Three highpoints down, twelve to go..
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Highline - Promontory - See Spring Canyon Loop
    We knew we'd see color, based on the Maples on the drive in on FS284 and at the See Canyon TH. We were surprised however that we were only the 3rd car in the lot.

    We did a clockwise loop starting on the Highline Trail #31. This stretch from the TH to the Promontory Trail #278, has to be one of my favorite sections of the Highline Trail. Sedona views and even some fall color are the highlights.

    If you are curious, the Promontory Trail is still a steep one. Steepness made slipperier by the carpet of pine needles. Views on the way up are killer.

    Once up top, we meandered over to the Gila County High Point. and then over to the named Promontory marker for some lunch. It's here were we ate a lunch for the first time in fear of our life. Some yahoos a couple of hundred yards away, decided lunch was target practice time. We endured 200+ rounds with 3 of those coming close enough, that we heard them fly by. No amount of blowing on the whistle made them stop. We booked in between reloads. This actually changed the planned track that would have taken us into the gunfire.

    Off of Promontory Butte we hit the General Crook Trail for a bit to get to the feature part of the hike... The See Spring Canyon Bushwhack :y: . This is slow going, but not tough at all, with only 2 down climbs of 15' and 25'. Tons of colorful Maples and mucho elk sign.. including the biggest and freshest Elk scrape I've personally seen.

    Once to the See Spring Trail #285, it was clear sailing, with perfect fall views, all the way back to the Trailhead.

    Spotty on the Highline. See Spring Canyon and See Spring Trail were the highlights
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Highline - Promontory - See Spring Canyon Loop
    Bruce created an olympic version in 2013 that included Drew and Horton Springs. His new lean cut version is more suitable for moderate hikers to complete in the available daylight hours.

    Highline Trail #31 - west from trailhead
    This 6 mile section of the Highline is pretty nice! Lots of pines, Sedonaesque and the trail is in excellent condition after recent maintenance.

    Promontory Trail #278
    The steep grade isn't for the timid. Too steep for backpackers unless hardcore. That said I enjoy this one. The views looking out are fab. There are plenty of pines to hug for a shady break. We enjoyed a couple five minute breaks heading up.

    Promontory Butte 7,914
    The rim is great for lunch views. Ours included bullets whizzing by from a nearby target shooter. This took away from the relaxation aspect. It was semi encouraging when he/she switched to a lower caliber.

    See Spring Canyon
    This ~2 mile offtrail segment is adventurous and enjoyable descending, ascending would be a task. Autumn foliage is peaking right now in the lower canyon, upper is past. It's never as good as "that one time".

    We did not cross paths with another hiker all day. ...

    Substantial is for lower See Spring Canyon. Most of the hike is pines.
    Promontory Butte 7,914
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Two of my cousins, my buddy Alex, and I met up with Nick for a good early morning hike in Rim Country. The mild temperatures and clear weather has me excited about the coming fall weather.

    We started up Derrick and took the Highline over to Promontory Trail. We put a little trail maintenance into Promontory Trail with some foot traffic from a group of 5. ;) I love the slow grind up this trail. After we topped out on the rim, we headed for the Promontory Butte marker(s) while soaking in the good views.

    On the return trip, my cousins got lost going down Promontory and decided to just continue dropping down until they hit the Highline trail. Then they couldn't decided if they needed to go left or right on the Highline. Eventually they found their way back to Derrick, I assume by talking to one of the hiker groups which were now coming up Derrick in droves.

    Another day in paradise, with great company.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From the major intersection 87/260 in Payson
    43.8 mi. About 1 hour 4 mins
    1. Head east on AZ-260 E toward S Goodnow Rd 29.2 mi
    2. Turn left onto Rim Rd 9.4 mi
    3. Turn left to stay on Rim Rd 3.0 mi
    4. Turn left onto Forest Service Rd 764 2.2 mi
    page created by joebartels on Jul 10 2010 3:20 pm
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