Tough Stuff Up Front
The Babe Haught Trail crosses the Tonto/Coconino border, therefore it is common to see it listed much shorter than its full length. The most interesting span runs from the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery up the Mogollon Rim and down to Knoll Lake. The trail offers a variety of landscapes and climates and due to its low usage provides ample opportunity to see wildlife.
This trail was built by pioneer "Babe" Haught to pack supplies over the Rim from Winslow.
The trailhead starts from the parking lot just below the Fish Hatchery and is easy to miss even with a sign. The first 2 miles offer relatively little shade, as it is a steep climb up a promontory of the Mogollon Rim. Due to fire damage about a decade old, all the vegetation is low and consists mostly of 5' trees and tall grasses. Depending upon the time of year this section can be very warm, especially because it is almost entirely on the exposed south face of the promontory. After a tough climb, there are rewarding views over the green valley 1200 feet below.
As the terrain levels-out, way-finding becomes difficult among brambles and loose boulders; luckily there are many cairns to guide the way. There is still relatively little shade until the trail wanders into the tall pines after another mile.
Once in the pines, the terrain levels and the pace quickens; immediately after crossing the FR300 the trail becomes well marked. As it descends down to the creek, the vegetation becomes dense and lush, and after a few stream crossings the trail emerges upon a small valley with the outlet from Knoll Lake. This area is full of game trails and large groups of elk are commonly sighted here. The outlet provides a quiet haven from the typically crowded campground another 1/4 mile away. When camping in this area, be sure to watch for wildlife watering around dusk and listen for the coyote howl that usually heralds the sunrise.
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.