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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.

Horton Super Loop Plus, AZ

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Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.7 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,458 feet
Elevation Gain 2,450 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 27.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2019-09-14
Horton Promontory Rim Loop
28  2018-04-04 DixieFlyer
17  2017-07-03
Babe Haught Horton Creek Loop
8  2017-04-16 adv_trev
38  2016-08-06 rayhuston
18  2015-08-08
20  2015-06-27
5  2015-06-27
Page 1,  2
Author gpsjoe
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 123
Photos 2,810
Trips 140 map ( 1,516 miles )
Age 77 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
More pain, more gain
by gpsjoe

Likely In-Season!
Most local hikers are aware of the Derrick-Highline-Horton Creek loop hike (see HAZ hike description). Its 8 miles of mostly good trail and is rated as moderate (level 3). Hiking groups do this loop frequently. The Horton Super Loop adds distance, elevation and 2 miles of tortuous trail to this loop making it a 4.5 level hike.

The total loop is 14 miles and is a curious mixture of 12 miles of easy to moderate trail (mostly easy) and 2 miles of very difficult trail. I started from the Horton Creek trailhead and hiked the usual route to the intersection of Horton Creek trail (285) and the Highline trail (31). I crossed the Highline trail and hiked the Horton Springs trail (292), a backdoor way of getting to Horton Springs. There I had trouble finding where the Horton Springs trail continued until I found the 2 small cairns.

Alternately you can hike the usual route to Horton Springs, go up the hill to the barbed wire fence and go through the zigzag barbed wire gate. Immediately look uphill to your right and hike up a few steps, find the cairns and off you go. The first quarter mile of the trail is easy to follow and after that there are many cairns (and my GPS track) to help you along the way. The Horton Creek trail is steep and gains 1,200 feet in less than a mile and another 100 feet after it levels out near the top. It only has mini switchbacks and almost goes straight up in the first mile. Turn around and take in the views while on the trail which are not blocked by heavy forestation as are most of the trails that go up to the rim. At the top you reach the trailhead on Rim road at the high point of the hike, 7,900 feet.

Turn right on Rim road and hike the road for about 2 miles. The rim is near the road in the first mile so I wandered over to the rim a few times to take in the views. Around the point shown on the map I did some easy cross country hiking over to FR76, the main road going off of Rim road out on the Promontory Butte. You could stay on Rim road to FR76 but the short cut is better I think. I made the mistake of going off Rim road too early (twice) and was forced back out because the terrain was too difficult there. These mistakes were edited out of the map shown and the GPS route I submitted.

Hike FR76 to the point indicated on the map and turn right there. FR76 continues and is the main road. The right is onto FR76B and is unsigned. It goes directly to the rim of the Butte and the Promontory Butte trailhead. This is a great place to drop your pack, park on a rock on the rim, enjoy the views, and have lunch. Now you are in for 3/4ths mile of hiking hell. The Promontory Butte trail drops 1,150 feet in 3/4ths mile. It is soft earth and loose rocks mixed in with the steepest of slopes and lots of deadfall to make matters worse. There are a number of sucker trails (they look like trails going down but are not the real trail) so pay attention and keep that swivel head going 360 degrees at all times. Not many hike this one, maybe for good reason. It is scary in spots. This is level 5 hiking so hikers beware. If you don't think you can handle this, don't go.

When you reach the Highline trail your troubles are over, the rest is easy. Turn left on Highline for less than a mile to the intersection of the Highline and Derrick trails where there are two posts but no signs. Going straight puts you on the Derrick trail (you have to turn left to stay on Highline). Hike the Derrick trail (a little rocky in spots) back to the campground and onto your car at the Horton Creek trailhead.

Four Mogollon Rim loops:
See Canyon - Promontory Butte loop [View Route] is 13.5 miles with a difficulty rating of 4. Starts from the See Canyon trailhead.

See Canyon - Drew loop [View Route] is 11 miles (12 with a side trip to See Spring) with a difficulty rating of 3.5 Also starts from the See Canyon trailhead. HAZ member Kanode originally submitted a route for this hike containing a side trip to See Spring. I submitted a route without the side trip that is only slightly different from Kanode's. Either route will work fine.

Sinkhole - Drew loop [View Route] is 12 miles with a difficulty rating of 3.5. This is the Mogollon Rim Vista Loop described in my HAZ write-up. Starts from the 260 trailhead.

Horton - Promontory Butte loop [View Route] (above) is 14 miles with a difficulty rating of 4.5. Starts from the Horton Creek trailhead and is described in the above write-up.

The difference in the difficulty ratings for these loops is determined in large part by the difficulty of the trail that goes up to the rim. These are the Horton Springs Trail - 4, Promontory Butte Trail - 5 (hikers beware!!!), and See Canyon & Sinkhole Trails - 3.

I have submitted GPS routes for all of these loops. The routes are most useful for the hike between trailheads on top of the rim. It is not obvious how to get from one trailhead to another on top and you will want these routes loaded on your GPS or printed maps showing the routes.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2008-10-15 gpsjoe
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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 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
Horton Super Loop Plus
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Horton Promontory Rim Loop
Checked off a couple of all-time uniques.

292 is steep. A few spots of deadfall and one section in particular where there are many user/wildlife-created switchbacks that deviate from the tread.

3 small groups at the spring.

Highline was nice. I forgot how thick and lush some of the drainages down here are. It was farther to get across to 278 than I thought it would be.

278 was nicer than I had been told. Steep for sure, but it's over quickly. Some nice views along the way too.

76 has been closed to vehicles for a year or more. The FS has redone all the roads on the butte in preparation for 4FRI. Hopefully they can get through it next spring and get the road open again. Then again, it was pleasant walking out there knowing there was nobody else around.

The rain came before I got back to Crook. It didn't last too long, but I had to get all geared up. Actually turned out to be nice since it knocked down all the dust on the 300 which made much nicer conditions to complete the loop.
Horton Super Loop Plus
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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
Horton Super Loop Plus
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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.

Horton Super Loop Plus
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The Horton Super Loop is a cool hike, but the "Plus" in this hike was all about walking the rim along Promontory Butte. That was a joy. The pictures do not adequately capture the stunning views along the rim.

This hike was done in a CCW direction so I could finish on the Horton Creek trail :y: . The Derrick Trail was muddy in spots. The steep Promontory and Horton Springs trails were in reasonable shape considering all of the rain up here. The Horton Creek trail was perfect as always. While I saw quite a few campers on Promontory Butte, I didn't see another hiker until I reached Horton Springs.

My bones were creaking at the end, but it was nice to get out on an all day hike. The weather was perfect!
Horton Super Loop Plus
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Losing my GPS during this outing makes this a hike I'd rather forget but I thought I would post a triplog anyhow. Did the loop counter clockwise so hit Promontory Trail going up. We lost the trail about 3/4 up which made the uphill even tougher. Lots of traffic on the Rim Road so we eat a lot of dust. The extra miles were my trip back to the spring area searching for the AWOL GPS. Warm finish.
Horton Super Loop Plus
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Initially I wanted to do the Derrick-Horton loop but stumbled upon this route and decided to go for it. Early morning temps were nice and cool, although humid. Awesome hike overall.

Derrick Trail #33: Well maintained and easy to follow. Looked like any and all brush withing 10ft of either side of the trail was recently cut back. Not steep but a nice little warm-up before reaching Promontory. Cached a frozen Gatorade at the junction.

Promontory Trail #278: Steep but enjoyable. Enjoyed the morning cloud cover on my way up. Some deadfall to navigate but nothing too serious. Good views of Rim Country start to open up but I was more intrigued by the lush cliffs on that side of the butte. Lost the trail briefly and had to backtrack but picked up a little extra AEG in the process. Once atop Promontory Butte I took in the views for a moment and busted out a sandwich for my walk along the FRs heading toward Rim Road. I encountered several elk within the first mile, they were drinking from all the puddles in the road. Probably the most enjoyable road walk I've ever experienced.

See Canyon Trail #184: Typical See Canyon, lush and green with plenty of moss and fungi. The wild strawberries have burned out but there's been a burst in Wildflowers since last week and other berries are present. The humidity seemed to be trapped in the canyon and the bugs were pretty bad. Stopped at the creek to filter some water before departing the canyon and heading west on Highline.

Highline Trail #31: The segment of Highline between See Canyon and the Derrick junction is beautiful. Well maintained almost Sedona-like trail. Entirely different from See Canyon as the rocks and dirt turn red and the landscape becomes dominated by Juniper and Manzanitas. Amazing views of Rim Country and beyond to the left and a beautiful but rugged Promontory Butte looming over me to the right. The segment of Highline from the Derrick junction to Horton Spring was my least favorite. Exposure to afternoon sun and a surprising amount of uphill. Glad I started so early. All I could think about was the cold spring water awaiting me. I hadn't even stopped for a break yet either because I wanted to reward myself with an extended break at Horton Spring. Within about the last half mile, clouds crept in and thunder started booming through the canyon. The moment I reached the spring it started raining. I filled up a couple liters before leaving.

Horton Creek Trail #285: Beautiful creekside hike, as usual. It rained on me for the first couple of miles, a welcomed relief. Lots of campers and hikers. I could spend all day at Horton Creek. Reached the road and walked back to the Derrick TH which ended up putting me over 25 miles on the day.
Horton Super Loop Plus
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This was an act in how to throw a hike together in an afternoon. My plans changed, so I texted JJ. JJ signs up LP and Dave is looking for something to do by 8:30pm.

AJ-JJ (aka - The King of Tacos), the Turtle Wrangler, Scooter McGruder and myself, head north to get out of some of the heat and hit up some favorite spots. Dave is a Rim Virgin, so we were gentle.

We parked at the Horton Creek parking area and headed to the new Derrick #33 TH. I'd forgotten what a steady climb the Derrick was, but it's in great shape. We cached at the Derrick / Highline intersection and continued on to the Prom.

Promontory Trail #278 is still one of the steeper trails you'll climb to get to the Rim. There's still some downfall, but not that big of a deal. We had some discussion as to if this trail or the East Rim BSA Trail was harder and agreed that East Rim BSA is steeper. Comparing the two routes from the exhaustive HAZ database, while both trails are about .69 mile long, the East Rim is about 105' higher in AEG. We agreed the Prom is slipperier and East Rim has the Rock climbing.

OK.. now on top, the 3.5 mile walk across the Butte to get to the See Canyon Upper TH.

See Canyon #184 is a favorite of mine. Thick and Lush, it's definitely not JimH approved. We sample Strawberries and a few raspberries on the way down, whille JJ took in the Columbines.

We hadn't seen a single person on the trail, until we reached the See Spring Trail #185. There we ran into Blanco and Cupcake (Lee was there too) They got talked into joining us for the rest of our adventure.

We got on the Highline #31 at it's rerouted TH at the turnaround circle. Also many areas between See Canyon and the Derrick have been rerouted. The trail is in great shape. I like this section.

We picked up out cache and made our way to Horton Spring. I'd forgotten (as well as JJ) of the AEG between these two points.

After stepping over a large log jam on the trail that had recently been cleaned up, I was at the Horton Spring area.

The cool water felt good on my face. I drank a bunch, and we were off.

Another surprise was the rerouting of the Horton Creek Trail #285. It's been taken off that rocky road and put closer to the Creek itself in many places. We could hear the rumbling up on the Rim and we started to get sprinkled on. The sprinkle was a lot heavier by the time we all piled (5 wet guys and 2 wet dogs) into JJ's Ferrari SUV.

Del Taco's around, topped off with Cherry Dipped Cones at DQ..... Perfect Day!

Thanks all, a great day gentlemen!
Horton Super Loop Plus
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Derrick See Prom High Horton Loop
This area's been on my list for quite awhile.
I was looking for something to make the 2 hour drive North worthwhile.
This worked!

We made a last minute decision to make this a Counter Clockwise loop. Good call.

This loop is a steady climb, steep at times, all the way to Promontory Butte.

This hike starts out on the Derrick Trail and makes it's way over to the Highline trail. Both of these trails afforded some good views, but the best is yet to come.

We made our way into the See Canyon TH area, crossing Christopher Creek. The vegetation started getting thicker and greener. I was awe struck by the qty of Maples up there. This would make a great fall hike.

I made the 1.25 mile Round trip to check out See Spring. What a little slice of heaven back there. The forest canopy in spots, left the forest floor darker than I'm used to in Arizona. See Spring is more of an area. Water was flowing from the ground in multiple spots forming a quite sizable creek.

Continuing on towards the Rim, you stayed in dense forest most of the way. The climb up was steep and a bit loose in spots, but not that bad.

Once on top, the flat boring 3.5 mile walk on Promontory to the County High point, was a good way to rest my tired "Go Uppers". After stopping at the high point, we bushwhacked over to the Promontory TH for a little Lunch. On the way, in the middle of nowhere, we stumbled on a Mining claim placed under a small Cairn, in a glass jar from Oct 2006.

The lunch spot just west of the Promontory Butte TH, has moved into the top 10. We were perched on the edge of the rim with incredible 180 degree views out, and 1300' down to the trails we started on earlier in the day.

The drop off the rim at Promontory TH was defiantly a steep and loose one. At first glace it appeared that is was surprisingly well traveled, however, most of the previous travelers were Elk. We lost the trail in spots, but were never far from it.

It was a relief to be on the Highline trail on our way to Horton Spring. This trail was mostly in great shape. It appeared there had been an event recently on the trail.

I finally got to see Horton Spring. It's amazing how it just gushes out of the side of the mountain forming a creek/river.

This was a very enjoyable day. Joe even enlightened me on his interpretation of French Customs.

See Spring/Creek, Promontory Butte viewpoint, Horton Spring
Horton Super Loop Plus
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Derrick See Horton Butterfly Loop
Wow! - Bruce created a winning butterfly loop for those in search of hitting up all the nearby attractions.

We started off on the Derrick Trail #33 and a first for myself. It's better than what I envisioned. On the same token I can't really give it more than a 2 out of 5 with Horton and See Canyon in the neighborhood. Jagged over on the Highline Trail #31 to See Canyon Trail #184. It's been 12 years since I've enjoyed ol' See Canyon. Christopher Creek was flowing considerably more than my previous two journeys back in 2000.

Bruce took the side jaunt up to See Spring while I attempted to rest. Turns out See Spring was just going wild compared to what I recalled, wowzer. The hike up See Canyon was a fun one yet a mental struggle for my sleep deprived body. Onward to Promontory Butte 7,914. This was quite impressive with it's stunning rim views.

A late lunch was enjoyed just past the Promontory Trail #278 upper trailhead. A powerful current rising off the rim took away from much needed relaxation. The views on the other hand were definitely in my top 12 lunch spots ever.

Next we headed down #278. Holly smokes that is one steep trail. I was shocked to see it only cranked up 30% grade on TOPO! That's steeper than Squaw or Camelback but nothing near a Reverse Flatiron or Catalina Hwy down to Bear Canyon which are almost twice as steep. Looking back this is true too. #278 heads down a 56% grade, yet the trail diagonals.

Back on the Highline Trail #31 we rejoiced in glee. Transversing over to Horton chewed up several mini breaks but we whined it out like grown men.

Horton was just awesome as always. This was Bruce's first visit and he probably took one of the toughest approaches save starting in Pine! Heading back down to the trailhead we had the shade advantage of the ridge. We walked through a couple areas that smelled so incredibly beautiful I didn't want to leave.

Thanks for a great loop mr bruce! Counter clockwise is the ticket on this bad boy!
Horton Super Loop Plus
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It felt good heading for the hills again with our low land temps this Saturday starting to feel like summer again. This is a super Mogollon Rim area loop that GPSjoe has put together. A combination of interesting, scenic, & challenging trails with some not so active forest roads to enjoy as well (with exception of the vehicle active Rim Rd FR300 which you can cut-off a good .5mls of road by hiking the parallel General Crook TR).

Our TH start from the popular lower Horton Springs Tr285/Derrick Tr#33 parking lot started off with a nice sunny morning, blue sky, and early puffy white clouds which made for some nice photo shots. The hike description for this "super loop+" is published as a clockwise loop, but we decided to enjoy it as a counter-clockwise loop, first starting on the Derrick Tr#33 and ending back at the lower TH start for Horton Springs Tr#285. This was my first time on all these trails except for #285 to Horton Springs & back. After reading the hike description & warnings regarding the tough downhill(steep, loose-rocky, with some exposure areas) on the Promontory Butte Tr#278(-1150' in .75ml), we decided it best for us to do this one going uphill. This was a good choice for me, but later proved a challenge for me coming down the also very steep, rocky & this day wet Upper Horton Springs Tr#292. In hindsight, either way to start and finish this loop is a fun challenge both mentally & physically. The upper TH for the Promontory Butte Tr#278 is at 7850' and for the Upper Horton Springs Tr#292 at 7945' (the highpoint for the day).

If you are up for the miles, elevation gain/loss, and feel confident after reading the HAZ hike description, then you will enjoy this one!

Permit $$

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 gpsjoe on Oct 15 2008 9:53 am
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