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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop, AZ

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Guide 55 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
4.1 of 5 by 17
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 5.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,600 feet
Elevation Gain -308 feet
Accumulated Gain 621 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3-4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.86
Interest Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-01-19
Less Snowbabe
15  2019-01-13
8  2017-07-21 jtaylor
1  2017-07-21 skatchkins
18  2017-04-22
15  2017-04-22
Knoll Lake Backpacking (April 22-23)
13  2017-04-22
Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
20  2017-04-22
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Grasshopper
author avatar Guides 42
Routes 458
Photos 8,104
Trips 508 map ( 5,318 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Lake, Pines & Babes
by Grasshopper

Likely In-Season!
Page stats and the "Official Route" are from FR300. Follow Babe Haught Trail #143 to Knoll Lake, circle the lake, then return back on #143 for a lasso loop.

Here is a loop around the lake or a short beginner backpack to some nice and fairly remote campsites at the southeast/east end of Knoll Lake. Which sits at 7300' elevation on the Mogollon Rim. Knoll Lake is a 77 acre electric motor boat only fishing / canoeing / kayaking lake.

Our hike starts along FR300. For reference Babe Haught Trail below the rim is in the Tonto National Forest and numbered trail #42 down to the Tonto Fish Hatchery TH. Above the rim ( our hike ) is Coconino National Forest and numbered #143.

Follow #143 approximately 1.4 mi then turn left into the woods just before getting to the the southern cove of the lake. The southwest corner of the lake has a wide peninsula that separates two coves. We cut through the woods over to the west cove instead of following the bank as it is too steep along the edge in areas.

Cutting through the woods may or may not be on use-trails. A gps device with the Official Route is recommended. Upon arriving at the west cove you then circle the lake near the shore. Once again please note there is not a maintained trail. Use trails may be in areas. Nevertheless you should be able to stay near the lake until you circle back to the southern cove. Then return on Babe Haught Trail #43 back to your vehicle.

2008 Description from Hatchery to Lake
Here is a great shorter day hike, beginner backpack, or just a shorter backpack trip to some nice, and fairly remote campsites at the southeast/east end of 7300'elevation Mogollon Rim - Knoll Lake (a 77 acre electric motor boat only fishing/canoeing/kiaking lake).

This Babe Haught Trail#143 begins below the Mogollon Rim at the Tonto Fish Hatchery TH, so IF you follow my below directions to this alternate TH for the Babe Haught TR(on top of the Rim where it crosses Rim Road-FR300), you will cut-off ~2.7mls of the one way trail distance and most all of this trails' elevation gain for a sweet pay-off at the southeast end of scenic/fresh water Knoll Lake at GPS coordinates: N34.41831 W111.08952; There is one nice but less private campsite at this arrival waypoint, or a short hike on "use trails" further around the east end of the lake will offer 2-3 nicer and more remote backpacking campsites(with fire rings) to chose from.

Also, the ~1.5mls of cairned/marked and easy to follow trail through the large ponderosa pines (with 80% trail shade) and paralleling and crossing seasonal "Clear Creek" to this southeast end of Knoll Lake is a very plesant day hike or backpack.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-08-31 Grasshopper
    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 23 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Me and the Turtle hoofed it to the high country. Denny had never been on the Horton Springs #292 to the Rim or the Babe Haught Trail. I through together a loop that got these 2 in, plus a section of the Highline I had not done and took us for a visit to the HAZlings at Knoll Lake.

    Started from the Hatchery going east on the Highline Trail #31 and made a wrong turn right off the bat. After crossing the Creek, you can see were they have blocked off the old trail and rerouted it. We took the well worn path to the right, thinking it's skirt around a hill. When it fizzled out, we back tracked and saw the reroute went to the Left (North).

    There was a prescribed burn on top of the Rim and with winds from the Northeast, it was quite smoky. The closer we got to Horton Spring, the thicker it got. At one point we thought about turning around and establishing a plan B to the top. The winds changed slightly, making it bearable. We stopped and enjoyed the empty spring area for a moment. There is a huge conifer that's been uprooted and lies across the creek, 50ft south of the spring. There must have been some high winds up here.

    The climb up the Horton Springs # 292 to the Rim is a steep one. The trail for the most part is easy to follow. It's cairned most of the way. Where the lower portion starts exactly, it a bit of a mystery to me, but loading one of the tracks on site, gets you to where you can follow it. The climb from the spring to the top is 1250' of AEG in 1 mile.

    Up top, we changed our plans a bit. The sign at FR300 (not the one Chumley leaves all over the woods) shows arrows both ways, as if this trail continues north of FR300. None of the TOPOs I've seen, show a trail on this side, but what the heck that's the general direction we're going anyway. It was trailish for 100 yds or so, but was easy walking.

    We trecked North crossing Turkey Canyon and Gentry Canyon. The canyon bottoms were a bit muddy and there was still snow is spots, So we opted for some cross country bushwhacking and some of the undocumented FR's.

    We stopped at Double Cabin to check the area out. We were both amazed at the size of the timbers they used and wondered how they were able to lift them. This place was built in 1950 and really wasn't much to look at, back then :next: [ photo ] .

    Walking away from the area, Denny noticed an animal walking on the other side of the environmental fencing. We were able to sneak around to the other side of the fence and wait for the animal to come to us. When it snuck through the fence, we got up to check it out. :next: Video :next: [ youtube video ]

    Only the second one I've seen in AZ.

    After a stop at the O'Haco lookout , we started our descent into Leonard Canyon towards Knoll Lake. We took the East side of the lake to get to HAZCamp. I was expecting a trail on this side of the lake. It was there in only spots.

    Captain Chums greeted us from the lake while on-board his Kayak, the SS HAZBAG.

    We stopped and chewed the fat for an hour with all that were awake. Great to see them all again. I sampled some of Brewmaster Julia's concoctions. It was around this time that Liz blew a 51. Quite impressive!

    Denny and I scurried off down the Babe Haught Trail to complete our loop back at the Hatchery. A fun day with perfect weather/temps.

    Thanks for the Hike Turtle!
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    It was a return trip to Babe Haught with a great group! Seven of us met at Walmart and headed up the Tonto Fish Hatchery and started hiking around 9am. The entire area was choked in with smoke and it made for an annoying climb. The views were gross and you tasted smoke with each breath. With much effort we topped off and it was easy going from there.

    We crossed FR300 and saw Chumley’s calling card. From there we completed the final 1.5 miles and arrived at the campsite Chumley picked out. He kayaked in. It was still early in the day but everyone felt lazy and relaxed. The hours ticked by and we spent some time playing fetch with Kiva. She loved jumping into the lake! Was really fun. We were also visited by Bruce & Denny. They were doing a big day hike and stopped by to say hi. Great seeing you guys!

    We started our campfire around 6pm and settled in for the evening. A few people brought dehydrated dinners and some cooked over the open fire. It was a very pleasant evening that got colder with each passing hour. Most of us turned in around 10pm and temps got fairly chilly overnight. I would guess the lows around 40 degrees.

    I was the first one up the next morning and started the fire again. Everyone casually woke up (except JuliaChaos) and we had another lazy morning. We slowly packed up and said our goodbyes to Chumley and started the hike out around 11am. The return was very relaxed. All the smoke cleared up too so the views were wonderful. We were back to the TH around 1pm and headed back to Phoenix.

    This was a really nice & chill trip. Sometimes it’s nice taking it easy and enjoying your surroundings. Knoll Lake is a great spot for kicking back and relaxing. Thanks everyone for coming out it was a fun trip!
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Knoll Lake Backpacking (April 22-23)
    Fun little HAZ gathering on the lake. With the road open, I decided to drive up and kayak to camp, somthing I've never done before. I basically just strapped my backpack to the front deck and paddled across the lake. Apparently my kayak is capable of holding a lot more stuff than I would normally backpack with. This is good knowledge to have for the next time I do this!

    The others arrived shortly after me and we enjoyed the afternoon doing camp chores. There were a lot of bees around, especially in the kayak, where typically a dozen or so were buzzing around until I started paddling somewhere.

    Two other groups had backpacked in and were camping at other spots along the lake. While there were a few cars at the dam, very few other people were on the lake. Knoll hasn't been stocked yet this year, and reports from anglers were mostly negative.

    Sunday was breezy and cool. Early season on the rim is always nice. Snow drifts can be found in many shady/sheltered spots, the aspens haven't leafed out yet, and grasses are just now starting to green up from their winter brown.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    We had to go to a wedding in Flag and Noel asked if we could camp afterward. I figured Knoll is close enough so we took the scenic route in the Civic (95 :next: 96 :next: 137 :next: 300) and did the short backpack in.

    Perfect weather. Perfect time.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Rosie's first trip to the lake. It was beautiful this morning on the rim, cool and sunny. We started from the Hatchery and made our way through the tall grass. B Haught up the rim is in good shape beyond the grassy beginning. Once atop the rim it flattens out and the trail disperses. More of a network of cairns than an actual trail. Stopped at Tonto Tank and Rosie hopped in. B Haught north of FR300 and down to the lake is my favorite part, and today didn't disappoint. Everything was wet, slick, shaded, mossy, ferny and covered in mushrooms. Almost like being in a rain forest. We split off on a game trail that eventually met back up with the trail. Had a blast sliding down wet logs and mud patches. Pools in the adjacent drainage kept Rosie satisfied. We arrived at Knoll and had the place to ourselves for a moment. So quiet and peaceful I was actually bummed that I had to return. We had mostly cloud cover now as we started back up from the lake. Spotted one elk darting through the trees. Right before we reached the edge of the rim to make our way back down, I caught a glimpse of a storm cell that literally came from nowhere and was headed straight for us. I got caught in a nasty storm on this trail last August. Flashbacks of that event and rumbling thunder behind me put a pep in our steps for the trip down. We got rained on for the last 2 miles but reached the vehicle safely. By the time we had driven back to the 260 it was bone dry.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Wasn't totally sure what I was going to do today but I knew I wanted to see some snow. I headed up to the rim and it turned out to be a pretty nice day. There was plenty of snow-- more than I had expected. It was patchy until our descent to the lake and then the snow was constant and deep-- but (mostly) pretty well packed. There hasn't been much action out there. We broke our own trail-- the only other tracks were elk.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    I decided I wanted to take advantage of the winter conditions in the high country and made a plan to head for Knoll Lake. Bob decided to come along as well so that my otherwise perfectly quiet and peaceful day could be interrupted with whining. :lol:

    It was in the teens when we arrived at the hatchery, and I was happy that the road had been plowed. There was a little doubt in my mind as to whether or not we would be able to get to the TH.

    After about 10 minutes, all the layers came off and it was just a pleasant day. It was a very slow ascent, and a few times Bob took the lead on breaking the trail. Once on top we had a bite to eat and I continued on toward the lake. Strangely, I found it easier to follow this notoriously difficult trail in the snow than in the summer. After making less than 1mph up the rim, I managed over 2mph to the lake.

    Once there, I was happy to find that the wind had left only a couple of inches of snow on the ice which made it very fast for me to do a loop of the knoll. There wasn't a single sign of human life, and only a few sets of animal footprints to be found at all.

    The return trip was quicker now that the trail had been broken, and the views on the way down were as good as I've ever seen. There was nothing in view that wasn't snow covered. That's amazing!

    I was quickly reminded how crazy steep this trail is, and it was a challenge to keep from skiing/sliding down and digging in my snowshoe crampons to stop. The afternoon sun had made some mashed potatoes down low, but it had already started to crust over again, so it wasn't too bad. Made it back in time for kickoff! :y:
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Failed miserably in my attempt to do this hike last weekend (thunderstorms) so I went for it again today. Got a late start due to not getting back home from the valley until 2am last night. Started at Babe Haught from the Hatchery up and across the rim to Knoll, then around Knoll before returning the way I came. Despite thunder clouds looming all day, the storms stayed just far enough away to keep me dry. Arrived at Knoll Lake at the same time the thunder started rumbling and a wall of clouds rolled by. Lots of campers and fishermen along the lake today, all of them catching fish as I walked by. The trail around Knoll Lake can be faint at times and footing isn't the best but it forced me to slow down and enjoy the scenery, I guess. Enjoyed a brief nutrition break before heading back down Babe Haught and over to Tonto Creek just to listen to the water and sit down for a minute. Very enjoyable hike.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Failed attempt to hike Babe Haught to Knoll Lake from the Hatchery. As I approached the rim the leading edge of a thunderstorm appeared. After witnessing lightning hitting the canyon below me I didn't hesitate to turn around. On the way down I saw the rain coming down to the east. Practically ran back down Babe Haught being chased by thunder and lightning. Storm started earlier than I've seen in a while, it was still morning. I had been dropped off this time so I didn't have a vehicle to seek refuge in. Threw my poncho on and started walking down FR289 in a total downpour with thunder crackling above me. Looked back at the canyon from which I came and saw smoke coming from a couple of lightning strikes. I made it to the turnout for the Christian Camp before a nice family stopped and told me to get in. They dropped me off at the Kohl's Lodge where I had a beer and waited for my ride. Didn't get to finish my hike, but I live to hike again.
    Babe Haught from FR300 - Knoll Lake Loop
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    Myrtle - Knoll Lake - Babe Haught Loop
    From the Hatchery Trail on FR289 we toured west on Highline Trail #31. It starts off Sedonesque. Remember to bring your route finding awareness for a few hiccups along the way. After 2 miles the joyous Sedona motif gives way and the tread turns to old school Y-Bar in the Mazzies... ankle buster blah. I'm now even more impressed with Boone's 2011 10 hour Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance Race.

    Myrtle Trail #30 is statistically similar to the best damn mountain on planet earth, Squaw Peak. We lost the trail once but found it quick. This was through a large stretch of waist high grass. Reminded me of the turf at Bay Meadows around '91. I liked this trail and would guess most are not so fond.

    Up on the rim we figured the grunt work was done and moseyed off trail through the pines. Bruce plotted out a whiplash roller coaster ride across the ravines. Grossly over exaggerated but we did revise the gameplan upon realization time was slipping away.

    Knoll is a gem, almost as nice as the fond memories I have of Bear Lake. We enjoyed a late 3pm lunch then worked over to Babe Haught #143 based on Dave's butter knife sharp knowledge. Weather was fairly nice all day. It crossed over to fabulous after lunch. Descending #143 felt steep but seems to be a better maintained trail than Myrtle Trail #30 or Horton Springs Trail #292 ( not to be confused with the popular CREEK trail #285 ).

    Most exciting was before the hike along SR260, dense fields of Mexican Hat Ratibida columnifera.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Option 1 - West Access
    Take Hwy 87 to ~10.5mls north of Strawberry (at MP281.1) at the intersection of Hwy 87 & FR300; Take FR300 (the Rim Road) for ~24.9mls to this TH start location (recommended you use TH GPS coordinates N34.40259 W111.09673); Park just past TH start location on left (north) side of FR300 just in on closed FR 9715J;

    Option 2 - East Access
    Take Hwy 87 to Hwy 260 intersection in Payson; Take Hwy 260 east to intersection of FR300(Rim Road); Turn left/north on FR300 and continue for ~18.3mls to this TH start location (recommended you use TH GPS coordinates N34.40259 W111.09673);
    page created by Grasshopper on Aug 31 2008 1:58 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
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