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Horse Crossing Trail #20 - East Access, AZ

no permit
40 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.6 of 5 by 5
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,903 feet
Elevation Gain -478 feet
Accumulated Gain 667 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.97
Interest Ruins, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
8  2019-08-02 MountainMatt
22  2014-08-09
Kinder Horse Loop
10  2010-06-17
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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   Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Sun  6:07am - 6:33pm
2 Alternative

Likely In-Season!
NOTE: For the more popular west trailhead for Horse Crossing Trail #20 please see this page. The east access described here is much more difficult to get to and leads to the same destination, just from the other side of East Clear Creek canyon.

The east trailhead begins at the junction of Forest Road 137 and Forest Road 9726S (now closed to vehicle traffic). It follows 9726S for .15 miles to FR 9032M (also closed to vehicles) where it heads north for .10 miles to the original start of the single-track trail before the roads were closed under the new Motor Vehicle Use Maps released in 2013. All of the intersections are signed and easy to find and follow. The single-track heads steeply down to East Clear Creek in less than 1/2 mile dropping 500 feet in elevation. At the bottom, the trail turns to the right and follows the east bank of the creek for .20 miles to the marked crossing. The trail continues on the west side of the canyon another .15 miles to several established camp sites at the bottom of the western half of the trail as described in the official description for Horse Crossing Trail #20.

Stats are for the full trail #20 from East to West. The one-way hike from the TH to the creek is .8 miles. To the start of the western climb is 1.1 miles. The creek is 512 feet below the trailhead.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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 Triplog Reviews
    Horse Crossing Trail #20 - East Access
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Kinder Horse Loop
    Nice day spent in the high country. Our original plan was to follow East Clear Creek to the north and return via the Horse Crossing Trail. We started hiking up the creek and found the vegetation very thick and difficult. On top of the that the creek was flowing high and fast. We decided to change our plan and make a loop using forest roads. This turned out to be a great option. This loop involved Kinder Crossing and Horse Crossing. We had to cross the creek twice and the water came up to our thighs. It was very cold, my legs were numb by the time I reached the other side. Besides that everything was straightforward. The trails leading to and from both crossings are in good shape and easy to follow. They're steep though. Nice day in the cooler temps!
    Horse Crossing Trail #20 - East Access
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Kinder Horse Loop
    Planned on doing a loop utilizing the Kinder and Horse Crossing trails across East Clear Creek. From what I had read, I didn't expect to find a route at all on the two eastern trails, but was pleasantly surprised to find both trailheads signed and both trails well-marked, well-traveled, and well-maintained.

    I didn't remember there being so much water, but didn't realize how much higher it was until getting home and looking at photos from previous trips. I'm not sure where the water is coming from--it hasn't rained up there in several days, so it wasn't recent storm runoff, and the reservoir is nearly empty and is not feeding the creek. Whereas previous trips you could cross the creek by rock-hopping, this time required wading in water over waist deep and fighting a surprisingly strong current. The strong current resulted in a dangerous mishap to one of us, but I'll let him explain it in his own triplog.

    The roads used to make the loop connections to the two trails are pretty boring but go by fairly quickly. We missed where the trail crosses the creek at Horse Crossing, but managed to get across just about where it starts heading up the east side. I went back to find where we were supposed to cross and found the spot, but there is no way I would have tried to cross there. The depth and current made it unsafe. Where we crossed was a bit wider and just shallow enough to keep the boys dry. Which was important as the water was Colorado River cold. 9L and I both had numb legs and feet after crossing -- after just 15-20 seconds in the water. I know it was not over 55, and may have been in the upper 40s. That was very surprising to me for mid-summer up there!

    All in all a great day though. Better than the other hike alternative proposed for this weekend!
    Horse Crossing Trail #20 - East Access
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Last minute decision was to loop hike the Horse Crossing Trail #20 Clockwise with the Kinder Crossing Trail #19.

    Now that I get back and see I'm not the first to "attempt" this loop, I don't feel so bad in not completing it.... Yes I do.

    No troubles with the Horse Crossing Trail getting down to the Creek. Crossing and climbing out, I found some faint trails to follow. Going up the east side was steep and loose in places, but no big whoop.

    Now off to the Kinder Crossing Trail to complete the loop. I followed the FS roads around to where the Topo map showed the "Trail", and decided that was not it. Maps on the GPS were not any help either. Decided to walk the road a bit farther, but turned around when I though I was way to far north to catch the trail down for Kinder Crossing. (I just needed to go another .18 miles) I went back and checked out a road marked as closed for the possible trail on the Topo map. No luck. So I went back the way I came. What should have been an 8 mile loop, was a 9.7 mile out and back.

    On the bright side, the hike in the canyon next to East Clear Creek was spectacular!!! Pretty water and great views.

    **** 2 mile drive on Forest Road off 95 to the western TH, IS High Clearance. ****

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    Begin at FR95 near milepost 300 of AZ-87, approximately 10 miles north of Clints Well. Travel on FR95 6.3 miles to the bridge crossing East Clear Creek. Veer left onto FR96 and travel 4.5 miles. Turn left onto FR137 and travel 4.0 miles. Park here and begin hiking on FR9726S as described above.
    page created by chumley on Aug 11 2014 7:57 pm
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