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Promontory Trail #278, AZ

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339 62 1
Guide 62 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.3 of 5 by 15
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 0.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,699 feet
Elevation Gain 1,010 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,010 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 4.07
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4  2019-08-15
Promontory Butte 7,914
7  2019-06-01
Promontory Butte via See Canyon
9  2019-05-26
Derrick - Horton Loop
8  2019-04-30
Promontory Butte via See Canyon
3  2018-08-19
Derrick - Horton Loop
28  2018-04-04
Horton Super Loop Plus
9  2018-03-22
Derrick - Horton Loop
8  2018-01-13
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6
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   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Sun  6:07am - 6:33pm
Official Route
27 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!

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This is a moderately difficult hike.

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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
Promontory Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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Took a couple friends visiting from Florida out for a hike in Rim Country. They were in awe on the drive up from Phoenix alone. We went up Horton first and stopped at the spring for their first ever drink of wild water. East on Highline from there. Almost all the leaves are on the ground now, making trail conditions perfect. Wasn't planning on hitting Promontory but when I pointed it out they said 'why not?' so up we went. Fallen leaves and pine needles add to the loose rock, soil and general steepness but still fun. We definitely took a nice break up top and enjoyed the views. The sun was setting quickly. Hiked under the sunset once back on Highline. It got dark on us before we reached the Derrick TH and temps were in the high 30's upon reaching the vehicle. Saw no other hikers all day. Great day in Rim Country.
Promontory Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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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 Trail #278
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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.
Promontory Trail #278
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Met up with Dallin and crew for a morning trip up Promontory. At our 6AM start it was a crisp 45 degrees. We got a nice little warm up on Derrick & Highline briefly before the real fun up #278. The group made it up w/o issue. We all strolled along the rim over to the high point for a break. We returned by going back down #278. The loose rock and soil can be tricky going downhill but we all managed to stay on our feet. About half way back down Derrick we found out the 2 in our group that shot out ahead of us ended up missing a turn or something (we weren't sure) so we parked it in some shade as we waited for them to correct themselves and catch up. I took off after a while and Dallin stayed behind. Back at the TH I was reminded that it was Labor Day weekend. Good call on the early start Dallin. Any later and we would've had nowhere to park. Another beautiful outing in Rim Country.
Promontory Trail #278
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Promontory Trail #278
I got a very late start on this one because I woke up not intending to hike today. I changed my mind at the last minute. This is my last day of summer (my 8 month summer, really) before returning to school as a full time student. Then it is back to SoMo and other local hikes on weekdays.

I arrived around 11:00 AM, temps were in the low 80s, a little higher than I expected before noon.

The trip up Derrick was a little warm without any breeze, but I held out hope that once I reached the Highline and Promontory Trail there would be either cloud cover or wind. At the Highline/Promontory JCT the breeze picked up, and with better tree cover, it felt very nice going up.

Got a little spooked by a fellow coming down the hill about 1/3 the way up Promontory. He said he had turned around without reaching the top, I asked if it was because of steepness or trail conditions, he said both. He felt it was a little too overgrown and steep. I thanked him for the info. and he wished me good luck before continuing down the hill.

The trail definitely gets a little gnarly. I wouldn't say the overgrowth is all the bad, but there are a lot of downed trees, and in some spots it is very loose rock and soil. The last 100-150 yards is very steep and loose. I didn't have too much trouble following the cairns going up.

When I started getting close to the top, I would occasionally hear a faint rumbling sound that I couldn't quite make sense of (you probably already know where this is going), at first I dismissed it as maybe vehicles on FR 300 (even though that is far away). Once I topped out and started heading for the Promontory Butte HP, it clicked after a few more rumbles. I saw some very dark clouds just over the tops of the trees.

I wasn't particularly interested in being near a county high point with a big thunderstorm coming. I also decided I value my life too much to see what kind of slip and slide hell Promontory Trail would be on the way down if it was wet. I decided to head back down, a little disappointed that I had done 95% of the work but wouldn't get my summit today.

On the way down the trail was a little harder for me to follow. I fell on my ass a couple of times, but eventually I made it back to the Highline and headed for Derrick.

The storm never really hit til I was back at my truck... Hopefully i'll get her next time, and as it turns out, I'll be in the area for a family reunion Labor Day weekend. Maybe I will find some time to break away for more Promontory Punishment.

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Map Drive

To hike
From Payson take 260 East for 31 miles to FR300, mile marker 282.4
Turn left up FR300 12.7 miles fo FR76
Follow FR76 2 miles to FR76B and follow B 1 mile to the end, staying left of the fork.
page created by joebartels on Jun 02 2012 10:29 pm
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