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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.

Horse Crossing Trail #20, AZ

no permit
254 23 1
Guide 23 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.6 of 5 by 7
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,942 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.17
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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31  2019-09-02 johnny88
21  2019-05-26 jamminaz
9  2016-08-31
Kinder Horse Loop
25  2016-07-16
ECC-Horse Crossing-Blue Ridge Loop
14  2016-07-16
ECC Blue Ridge to Horse Crossing Loop
5  2015-09-12
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
39  2015-05-29
Kinder Crossing Trail #19 - East Access
22  2014-08-09
Kinder Horse Loop
Page 1,  2
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
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:09am - 6:29pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby

Likely In-Season!
East Clear Creek is what gets crossed in this case. It's a perennial stream that flows through a picturesque canyon and eventually ends up in the Little Colorado River. The trail that leads to the crossing drops down a gradual slope through an open forest of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak.

East Clear Creek is small, but great for wading and splashing around. A few of the deeper pools are big enough for swimming and fishing. All of them make great reflecting pools for the rock bluffs that form the canyon walls, so bring your camera.

Just above the creek you'll find the remains of an old cabin set on a rocky bench. It's hard not to imagine how enjoyable it must have been to live in such a beautiful place, with peace and quiet as big as the landscape. If that's the way you feel, you might want to give it a try, at least for a while. There are a number of backpacking campsites in the trees near the crossing.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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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 Triplog Reviews
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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Kinder Horse Loop
Had to be in Pine this a.m. so I decided to drive a little further north and hike this quick loop with the pooch. Conditions were perfect and in the 60s upon arrival. The road to the Kinder TH (95T I believe) was a little muddy but in good shape for this time of year. The trail is in good shape as well. We had a few bushwacking sections as we made our way along ECC, nothing to obstructive though. Lots of water present and the creek is lined with various wildflowers. Had a few wet crossings along the way. Rosie was in heaven chasing bugs and splashing around. Some intimidating looking clouds scooted by us but stayed far enough to keep us dry as we exited the canyon. The road walk back to the vehicle was enjoyable. Didn't see a single camper, hiker or even vehicle all day. Nice to have a busy place all to ourselves. FR513B was in bad shape being rutted out and full of big puddles. Cows everywhere too. Made it back to the vehicle as the skies really started to get dark. Got to the 87 in time for a downpour that lasted almost until Strawberry. Well timed and a gorgeous day along ECC.
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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ECC-Horse Crossing-Blue Ridge Loop
I threw out a bunch of options this week and this was the one that stuck. The 6.5 mile drive on FR95 is more like the I-95 "expressway". You could probably drive a sports car on it right now.

Tall Pines and water were the theme for the day. We were the first vehicle in the 17 space paved parking. We were in the creek almost immediately. For the first 6.8 miles, we were able to cross or bypass water, never getting deeper than our knees. The Canyons and views are real sweet here. At about the 4 mile mark, you hit the western section of the Kinder Crossing Trail #19. surprisingly, we never saw anyone here.

At Horse Crossing Trail #20, Chums topped off his water and we made the short lived .8 mile 500+ ft climb to FR513B above.

Next it's off to the Moqui Lookout tower. We had a discussion with Forest Service Law enforcement as to why the road/gate was closed to the tower. We determined that no "Suspicious Package" under the lookout tower was going to stop us. The Suspicious Package ended up being someones lunch.

The views from this tower were especially good. Some of the best I've seen from this Keeps 132' tall, 14' x 14' perch.

The potentially tricky part of the day was next. We had to scrabble off the top of the Rim and get down to the CC Cragin Reservoir. Chums overlaid the Property map on my GPS track and we were able to skirt the Private Property and find an old unmarked "use road", I'd seen on the Satellite Views. It worked out better than expected.

We stopped and checked out the Blue Ridge Dam for a bit and made our final push down ECC back to the vehicle. On this stretch, we had out deepest crossing of the day, up to our waist. The 2.5 miles clicked off pretty quickly.

Temps on the Garmin recorded 70 for a low, to the mid 90's a few times on the day. When in the wind, shade and/or water, it was very comfortable.
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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ECC Blue Ridge to Horse Crossing Loop
Two hours of breaks. That was the theme today. ;)

I agree with Joel's description: the section of ECC from 95 to Kinder is probably the most scenic. We were able to bypass the swimmer on the cliffs on the left. Surprisingly there was nobody at Kinder. Or Horse. Though we spotted two people down that way later after we had climbed out of the canyon and were taking another break.

We hit the Pokéstop at Moqui and enjoyed some suspicious lunch from Joe's duffel but were disappointed to find somebody had molested the disc at the old Blue Ridge tower site. Skirted private property down to the lake. It looked super busy, but it appeared most people didn't venture past the boat ramp, with only 5-6 watercraft between there and the dam.

Speaking of the dam. Damn! Hadn't ever been down below it before and it's impressive. The flow in ECC downstream is the result of a single 3" pipe. Probably a required output as part of the SRP agreement. Luckily ECC has numerous seeps and springs along the way that slowly add more flow. The first half mile from the dam is an unpleasant bouldery mess. It gets better/typical after that.

Nice to cover a 10-mile stretch in the creek today. Thanks to Eagle for drawing it up and driving, and to Joe for sitting in back. :)
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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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
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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
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Drove up to the rim Friday afternoon. Very peaceful, almost no traffic. Got to Horse Crossing with no trouble, only had about an hour before dark, so I headed down the horse crossing trail and a short distance down ECC before finding a nice place to camp out and read a book.

Night was pleasantly warm. The next day I felt the humidity and it rained twice for about 40 minutes in total. I found a nice overhang to wait out the longer shower. There was a bit of bushwhacking to get to Mack's crossing and a bit more that final push to get to Leonard. ECC sure looked good @ Leonard, I wished my plans were to continue down as it kept getting better and better.

Headed up Leonard, camping options and water options were slim. Leonard was a bit more painful, but I made it to Victorine Crossing which was a pleasant surprise and headed up on the rim and road-walked back to the car. Due to the 2+ inches of rain on Sunday I was soaked through and through but it was very nice as it wasn't cold. Unfortunately the roads were terrible on the way out to the highway. Made it back home in time for a late dinner.

Best wildlife sighting trip in quite awhile - deer, elk, turkey, herons, mallards, and of course birds, lizards, snakes, crawfish, trout, etc.
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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Started at the Blue Ridge Reservoir dam and followed East Clear Creek downstream to Horse Crossing, about 8 creek miles. Exited at Horse and followed the roads back past Moqui lookout tower (nice views up there) then west along the mesa until able to drop back down to the dam road, about 6 miles, with some moderate bushwhack on the final descent.

With numerous access points this stretch of ECC gets pretty heavy use, there is a fisherman's trail most of the way, generally easy walking and only one mandatory short swim. Nothing nearly as spectacular as its clear creek cousin to the west (few places are), but a very pleasant creek hike nonetheless, with plenty of cool swim holes.
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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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. ****
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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I actually dropped into East Clear Creek via Kinder Crossing, but I hiked downstream and camped near Horse Crossing Saturday evening and spent most of Sunday hiking a few hours further downstream (north) of that. I had just my car with me, so I parked just off of FR95 on the 95T turnoff for Kinder and hiked the gnarly road a quarter mile or so to the TH and then quickly dropped down into ECC. A few other people were camping at the bottom of that trail, but my camping destination was a few miles downstream somewhere near the Horse Crossing trail. The creek is only about ankle to knee deep most of the way with an occasional small pool to take a dip in and is much easier to navigate than say WCC. So I'd wade the creek a bit and when I got tired of that I'd just hop up on one of the gravel/sand bars and bushwhack a bit more before getting a little hot and jump back in the creek for a light dip. And unlike WCC there's no main water features to hike to: no falls, large swimmers, interesting side canyons or springs that I've come across. It's just a pleasant, peaceful and fairly scenic creek to stroll along. :D A noisy afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and sprinkled a few times :scared: , but thankfully left the area soon after sunset. After camping just downstream of Horse Crossing, I spend most of Sunday morning hiking another few hours downstream before stopping for lunch and returning back upstream as some noisy thunderstorms rolled in to the north. My legs were getting a bit tired from all the creek hiking, so I hiked out on Horse Crossing trail for my first time to check it out and then road walked another 2 miles back to FR95 and over a bit to where my car was parked. The trail is in great shape, but that road to Horse Crossing TH has a few tricky spots that'd require some high clearance for sure. :o
Horse Crossing Trail #20
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I parked at the turnoff for the TH from FR95 because I came in my car and didn't want to risk it on 95T. It only adds 0.6 miles each way for the hike. I hiked down to the creek, enjoyed the pools and small waterfall some, before hiking the 3 miles downstream to Horse Crossing. What a sweet, enjoyable trip that was. Ate lunch before turning around and enjoying it all over again. Cooled off in the pools again before hiking out and running into hikeAZ on the way out. What a pleasant secluded creek with many creekside camping spots for a future backpacking trip. :)

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
Location: 70 miles (about 2 hours) south of Flagstaff in the cool pinesof Mogollon Rim country.

Access: Drive about 55 Miles south of Flagstaff on Forest Highway 3. Drive north 9 miles on AZ 87 to FR 95. Turn south (right) 4 miles to FR 513B. Turn left on 513B about 2 miles to the trailhead.FH 3 and AZ 87 are paved. All other roads are graveled and suitable for passenger vehicles except FR 513B which can be muddy. FR 95 is closed every winter.
128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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