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Derrick Trail #33, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,493 feet
Elevation Gain 1,020 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,020 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 5.9
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
4  2019-08-15
Promontory Butte 7,914
7  2019-08-04
Derrick - Horton Loop
5  2019-08-04
Derrick - Horton Loop
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
35  2017-10-12
Derrick - Horton Loop
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
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:09am - 6:27pm
Official Route
30 Alternative
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Geology Nearby
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Author Full Detail Guide
Steady moderate ascent through a nice forest. Ends at the Highline Trail #31.

Typically utilized with the Highline Trail as a nice 9.25 mile / 1,950 AEG Derrick - Horton Loop.

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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 33 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Derrick Trail #33
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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
    Derrick Trail #33
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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.

    Derrick Trail #33
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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.
    Derrick Trail #33
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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.
    Derrick Trail #33
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    Derrick-Horton and a little High
    Look out, Moe, Larry and Curly are on the trail again.

    Get out of the desert, add a trail in the trees, add some miles, add some elevation were the next step.
    Keep the sweat to a minimum and the rain off the recovery devices were secondary goals.

    This was a pretty good choice. The trails were in good shape for the most part, with just a couple of slippery down sections on the Highline.

    All in all, it worked out. Joe did great and Denny behaved. He was actually a good sport. Joe still needs help with some aspects of his hiking equipment. Denny was more of a trouper than I could be. Mexican food and all. :o :lol:

    Let the hiking begin..
    Derrick Trail #33
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    Derrick - Highline to 6450 Saddle - Horton
    Itching to get out on longer hikes after easing back into hiking. Wanted a good trail with pine shade. [ Derrick Trail - Horton Loop ] almost fit the bill but I wanted over 10 and under 14 miles. Added 1.7 miles west on the [ Highline Trail #31 ] to a saddle that looked like a good turn around point.

    @The_Eagle says we've hiked Derrick a couple times. Possibly, I just have one 2012 triplog and this route felt cleaner but maybe I missed a triplog cause he's rarely incorrect, to the point I bang my head at times while he
    Derrick is a steady climb to #31.

    Denny said there were two healthy ascents over to Horton, believe he nailed it. A rare sight at the Springs, very few people.

    We continued over on #31 to my planned turnaround at a saddle near 6,450 ft. This turned out to be more of a winner than just upping the distance as planned. Which netted a dense pine forest feel along with a few nice distant views. When I'm confident in more aeg I'd opt for ascending the rim in a heartbeat This worked well for getting back into the groove.

    The hike was a tad tiring, overall just the right progression. Forecast was 50% chance of rain and we got sun on the majority of the ascent. While it was toastier than anticipated I'll take heat over the deluge we experienced driving home. The guys were great as usual allowing me to take a record amount of breaks.

    We hiked the entire 800+ mi AZT a few years ago. They had this running joke that every gate we encountered Bruce would open and I would run through leaving Denny to close. Total nonsense and they kept it rolling today saying don't worry we got the gates today... we didn't encounter any closed gates... ha!

    Huge thx guys, this hike was perfect with just enough challenge to keep stepping it back up to old times!

    Richard's Geranium, Brown Eyed Susan's & Mushroom Galore!
    Derrick Trail #33
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    I had not been to Mogollon Rim country in maybe 20 years, so a big Thank You to the person who made note of the fact that there's now a special Trailhead (with parking and a toilet) for the Derrick Trail. This trailhead is on the left as you drive N on FR289, before you get to the bridge across Tonto Creek or the Upper Tonto campground. You can't see the Horton Creek Trailhead from this parking lot, because there's a bit of a rise in the road, but it only took me about 5 minutes to walk back to the Derrick TH along FR289, at the end of my hike. I did this loop in the counter-clockwise direction, with Derrick Trail first.

    The official Forest Service trail signs are in good condition along this loop, and they give somewhat longer distances than those in the main HAZ description, even if you leave off the detour up to Horton Spring. (Maybe the FS likes to round mileages up, thinking to help people avoid biting off more than they can chew?) According to the FS signs, it's 3 miles from Derrick TH to jcn with the Highline Trail, 2.5 miles along Highline to jcn with Horton Creek Trail, and 4 miles from jcn of Highline & Horton Creek Trails to the Horton Creek Trailhead and FR 289, for a 9.5-mile total. (Plus another 1/10 mile along the paved road, to get back to Derrick TH.)

    The Derrick seemed less road-like now, than it was 20 or so years ago. I could be mis-remembering it, but I think some re-routing has occurred. It's still easy to follow, though. There are a few areas of the trail covered with pine needles, but there are some (imo, unnecessary) cairns along the way to help you out, and the trail pretty much stays on top of a ridge heading up to the Highline. You can also watch for some signs of human trail-maintenance activity -- i.e., trees that have had branches that were growing across the trail cut off, a few inches out from the trunks of the trees.

    This section of the Highline is also easy to follow. It's blazed infrequently, with stiff plastic markers nailed to tree trunks (usually of dead trees). The markers are white and either diamond-shaped or a modified square with a diamond image on it. But the trail would be easy enough to follow without the blazes, imo. There were quite a few elk tracks on the Highline when I was there -- it had rained 2 days before so there was plenty of mud for them to stroll through, though it had dried by the time I was there.

    At the junction of the Highline and Horton Creek Trails there is a bridge to help you cross Horton Creek. (The map shows a crossing of an "East Fork of Horton Creek" before this, but I never saw that, so it must have been dry. The map I'm referring to is Trails Illustrated #852 copyright 2016.) The bridge across Horton Creek is a tree trunk, sawed in half and then laid open like a book, to give you a nice flat surface, easy to walk on. There is a good campsite along the Highline Trail, just before this junction, and it took me about 6 minutes to walk down to the bridge from there. It's not out of sight from the trail, but still I'd use it rather than camp near the trail junction, because the area around the junction had so many flies it was unpleasant to stop there for lunch! And a definite odor of horse dung, which may partly explain the flies.

    From the end of the bridge you make a left turn to head back toward the road on Horton Creek Trail. After a very short, level walk there's a fork with a small trail on the left that stays right next to the creek, and a more obvious trail to its right. I took the left one, thinking that was the Horton Creek Trail and the other was the Highline continuing on. That was not right - the smaller trail is just a use trail that leads you downhill to several campsites that are downstream a little way from the bridge. I had to backtrack to pick up the right fork trail, which is actually the Horton Creek and Highline Trails running along together for a little way, until a second fork where there's a trail sign. Horton Creek Trail is easy to follow from there, and downhill almost the whole way back to the road. There are several use trails leading from the Horton Creek Trail to the creek, itself, either to play spots or campsites along the way.

    I only saw one other person on the Highline section I hiked, and no one on the Derrick Trail. There were several other hikers on the Horton Creek Trail, which is very popular, so I didn't expect solitude, even on a weekday in May. The Ponderosa Pines smelled heavenly, and this is a very nice loop hike.

    Lots of blue flowers that look like lupines, though growing in semi-shaded conditions. Also little golden yellow daisy-shaped blooms, and others that are white petals with golden centers. After the first 2 miles on Derrick #33 there were many big manzanitas with their pink, bell-shaped blooms, on both sides of trail. On Derrick, within a mile of the jcn with Horton Creek Trail, there were also wild strawberries in bloom -- too bad it's too early for berries! Around the jcn of Derrick and Horton Creek Trails there were some under-story trees with white blooms that remind me of dogwoods, except that they have 5 petals (whereas dogwoods have only 4).
    Derrick Trail #33
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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.
    Derrick Trail #33
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    Wanted to get out to Horton Creek for sometime now, reviewed HAZ'ers routes and wanted something other then just a up and back route. So settled on Lindaagm's Birthday hike route :scared: knew it would be spot on and it was, thanks Linda. This route really has something for everyone, the Highline portion was very scenic :D lot of switchbacks. Most of the fall coolers were seen on Highline, maybe a few days late, but nevertheless was very nice :) The Horton Springs area is all it has been billed as, very nice, had the Loop to our selves until we headed down Horton and started meeting hikers heading up.
    Derrick Trail #33
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    Horton See Loop
    This was a nice refreshing loop I did as an overnighter. This hike would also make a great a day hike.

    I haven't had much time for backpacking lately. I've only gone once since I've gotten home from Colorado, and that was for trail maintenance. Oppressive if you ask me!

    On Friday morning an email landed in my mailbox. My one and only class that day was cancelled. I took it as a sign, and gathered my things for a night outside. I really didn't have time to put something together. I needed wrap up the school week and be out the door in 4 hours tops. I opened up Route Manager, and picked something in the backlog. This was a great candidate considering the constraints.

    Around 2:30 PM I arrived at the Horton Creek TH. The fall colors along Horton Creek Trail are very hit or miss at the moment, but overall lacking.

    I set up camp at the creek, and got ready to settle in for the night. There were 2 groups of 2 in the area, but we were all spread apart far enough that it was extremely quite and peaceful. Quite a rare event on a Friday night for such a popular area, and I think all parties were enjoying it.

    That was all out the window around 9:30PM, when a group of 5 boys and their dad/chaperone rolled in. They decided despite all of the available campsites nearby, to build a new fire ring right next to my campsite. Not a big deal though, as this was what I expected anyway for Horton, it was surprising the peace and quite lasted as long as it did.

    The next morning I got out of dodge just as the flock started rolling in. Didn't see a soul on Horton Springs Trail. Navigation wasn't terrible going up, there is an ample amount of cairns marking this route, some hidden in the tall grasses. Steep but doable even with a backpack, although I was packing pretty light. Oddly enough I had the hardest time following this trail right at the top just before it connects with FR 300. The cairns blend in really well with all the other rocks.

    I did the FR 300 walk with a couple of backpackers who were doing the same loop, but over 2 nights. My recovering lower-back was giving me issues as I topped out on Horton Springs Trail, and I thought about turning back. Knowing that at least someone was behind me and could help if I locked up like an old grandpa, I decided to keep going. It didn't turn out to be a big deal anyway, I was fine the entire hike after popping some ibuprofen.

    I lost the 2 backpackers soon after dropping into See Canyon. Great company, but there was no way I was making it back to the TH before dark at their pace. This was my first time in See Canyon and I was impressed. Great fall colors going on right now in the upper part of the canyon. Overall I thought this was a pretty area from top to bottom.

    After hitting See Canyon TH, I had the trail all to myself all the way to the Derrick TH. :) This is a lovely little section of the Highline, and I had forgotten how good it was since the first time I did it back in Spring of 2015. Great views of the top of the rim + mazzies + hells gate. A winner in my book. It was a little warm in the exposed areas of the Highline, but there was usually a light breeze which felt awesome.

    Would do again.

    Mostly concentrated in Upper See Canyon, with pockets on the Highline and Horton.

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    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    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 2015 Update! New trailhead for the Derrick trail about 200 yards before the Horton Spring Trailhead/Parking. There is a large parking lot and new Outhouse opposite the Trailhead.

    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
    page created by joebartels on Jun 02 2012 10:40 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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