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

Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake, AZ

no permit
940 109 7
Guide 109 Triplogs  7 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Payson N
3.7 of 5 by 29
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 3.84 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,100 feet
Elevation Gain 1,438 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,498 feet
Avg Time One Way 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.83
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
29  2019-07-17 RowdyandMe
13  2019-06-22 azlaurie
2  2019-05-19
Highline Trail #31
8  2019-02-08
Snowbabe AZ
15  2019-01-19
Less Snowbabe
15  2019-01-13
15  2019-01-06
14  2019-01-06
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 9
Author benedvie
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 51
Trips 7 map ( 79 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:09am - 6:28pm
Official Route
17 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Tough Stuff Up Front
by benedvie

Likely In-Season!
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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2006-09-07 benedvie

    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 of 43 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Fish Hatchery to Knoll Lake and Myrtle Point
    Since I had never been to the Tonto Fish Hatchery, Knoll Lake, or Myrtle Point, and had never hiked on the Babe Haught Trail, I decided to kill 4 birds with one stone and knock off all 4 on one hike. Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, and I began the hike at the Fish Hatchery and took Babe Haught Trail #143 up to Rim Road 300. From there we crossed the Rim Road and took Babe Haught Trail #88 to Knoll Lake, and we reversed course by taking Trail #88 back to the Rim Road. Then we made about a 3.25 mile death march down Rim Road 300 to Trail #300C, which after about 3/4 of a mile took us to Myrtle Point. Lastly, we took Trail #300C back to the Rim Road; marched down the Rim Road for 3.25 miles back to Babe Haught Trail #143; and then took Trail #143 back to the Fish Hatchery.

    I thought that Babe Haught Trail #143 was a nice one -- in my eyes it is not as nice as the See Canyon Trail as far as getting up to the Rim, but it is far, far better than going to the Rim on either the Horton Spring Trail or the Promontory Trail. Babe Haught Trail #143 had a good bit of sun exposure for the first two miles(note to self: next time, if it is a warm sunny day don't wear a long sleeve black shirt), but it was in pretty good shape and mostly easy to follow. Once we got up closer to the Rim, there were lots of big trees that provided some filtered shade.

    Babe Haught Trail #88 was a delightful trail -- there were lots of big pine trees along the trail and there were numerous LARGE cairns that made the trail easy to follow. Whoever made the cairns must have gone to graduate school in cairn making.

    Knoll Lake was really low in water, which made it a bit of a disappointment. At first I thought that the lake was completely dry, but we went a bit farther and found some water.

    Myrtle Point had some really nice views, and I enjoyed being there. To get to the logbook, don't follow Road 300C all the way to its end; instead, once you get close to the edge of the rim, veer off to the right of the road a bit. I know that HAZ gives credit to Promontory Butte for being the high point in Gila County, but some sources say that Myrtle Point shares the county high point with Promontory Butte. I do not know, but my GPS recorded them both at about 7,940 feet, so they seem pretty close to me. I cannot say for sure which is higher, but since I have been to both I guess that I can say that I have been to the Gila County high point.

    We saw 4 deer (on Babe Haught Trail #143 as we got within 1/4 mile or so of the Rim Road) and one coyote (on Road 300C not far from the edge of the rim).

    Note that the route that I posted does not include about the first 3/4 mile of the hike. Somehow, the GPS did not reset when I started the hike, and I did not notice it until after we had gone 3/4 of a mile. At that point, I reset the track and started recording from there.

    If you wanted to skip hiking to Knoll Lake and just go to Myrtle Point, the hike would be about 13.5 miles with an AEG of a bit over 2,000'.

    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    It took 15 minutes longer to do the ridgeline yesterday, but this one hurt a little more. Even though it was 3 miles shorter.

    But it was a good hurt. I love this one so much when the weather provides.

    The lower part has been cleared, so no more manzanita mystery when weighted down by snow. It's easy to follow the trail now. I was a little slow, but the temps were perfect in the mid 20s and clouds were providing great views. About 6" of fresh snow at the bottom so I just hiked in boots. I switched to snowshoes up top where this storm had dropped 8"-10" and the remnants of the last storm had the depth at about 18". It could have been done in boots alone, but the shoes helped break a nice trail for the next person. Hopefully a little more snow next week will allow a few others to make this trip over the next month or two. It's a winner.
    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Highline-Horton-Turkey-Babe Loop
    We started this loop from the Hatchery TH and headed East on Highline. A brisk mid-40's in the shade, but warmed up quickly on the sunny Highline. We were passed by a dog with a tracking collar going East, as well. Then 2 more going West. One of them followed us to Horton Spring. We took a snack break and continued up Horton Springs #292, the pooch followed. She was friendly until this point. About halfway up, we heard yelling from below followed by a series of shocks sent through the dogs collar. The distressed & exhausted dog turned on us and bit Linda's thigh. More of a warning bite, but broke skin. The dog then lunged at Linda with force and I intercepted with a trekking pole into it's mouth, and held it back while Linda got away. It's bite was forceful enough that it lost a tooth on my trekking pole. I stayed in between them and attempted to get some separation. With the dog still pursuing us, I fired a warning shot to scare it away, and hopefully let the onwers know they need to come up the trail and get their dog. This is not the trail to have a tussle with a damn dog on. It's steep with sections of loose tread. Bleeding from the mouth and paw, the dog gave up and layed down in some shade. We continued up and into the peace and quiet of the Turkey Beaver Wildlife Area. Almost immediately we encountered a dozen elk. We wandered a bit and did some leaf peepin'. Exited onto some FR's and then down into Gentry Canyon after a lunch break. We watched a Pronghorn leap through the pines. Followed by a healthy looking coyote. The reds and oranges got better as we traveled West. We took FR115 South a bit before meeting Gen Crook. We attempted to follow it to Babe Haught, and did fairly well. It's mostly gone, with one nice stretch and a few blazed trees. We hit the Babe Haight junction and cruised on down to the TH. Enjoying the view of Rim Country fall along the way down. Irresponsible dog owners aside, it turned out to be a great day, overall. We enjoyed the sights of fall on the rim and a perefect day of weather. Plenty of off-trail and a crunchy carpet of mutli-colored leaves always makes for good tread.

    Moderate to substantial, depending on location. Aspens were popping. Great leaf litter.
    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Started from a surprisingly empty See Cyn TH. Walked west on Highline through the sandstone Wonderland. Made a pit stop at Horton Spring to grab some water and have a snack. Had the place all to myself, which I found unusual for a weekend. All of the dead fall we saw east of Horton, in March, is now gone. Made my way over to D. Williams Creek, sampling from a few raspberry bushes along the way. Raspberries are prime right now below the rim. Had a chat in the shade along the creek with a couple of backpackers before heading back into the sun. Skies over Rim Country are as clear as they've been in quite a while, so the sun felt very crisp. After reaching the Hatchery TH, I opted for a 1.5 mile (each way) out & back on Babe Haught. Basically just hiked to the edge of the Rim, enjoyed some shade for a few, then went back down. Met 3 more backpackers coming back from Knoll Lake. Once I reached the TH again, I found myself a spot on Tonto Creek and cooled off for a few. Nice little walk in Rim Country.
    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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 Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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 Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Knoll Lake in winter does not disappoint! :y:

    It snowed all day. From start to finish. Winds were pretty placid. We got to the top of the rim without any traction help. The newly fallen snow was an ideal depth for the climb, ranging from about 6" at the start to 10" near the rim. Once up top, we strapped into our snowshoes and continued toward the lake.

    We passed a couple of backpackers who had hiked up on Saturday and spent the snowy night at Knoll Lake. :o
    Their tracks from hiking out made the route finding easy for us, though we could see from numerous postholes that it had probably been an ardouos hike out for them. They were, nonetheless, in seemingly good spirits!

    There's water running everywhere and the lake is overflowing. There were a couple of creek crossings that were more challenging to cross than last year and I think we all ended up with wet feet. Wet was a theme today. The nonstop snow ultimately soaked through most of my layers, and on the way back, the lowest few hundred feet was a mushy mess and all the trees across the trail were soaked. When we arrived back at the trailhead, the snow was just changing over to rain. It was by far the wettest day snowshoeing I've ever been on.

    The storm was warm enough that even up on the rim the snow was a little bit wet and heavy. It's more pleasant to snowshoe through lighter snow. But today was still a damn nice Arizona winter day! :)
    Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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 Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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 Trail - Hatchery to Knoll Lake
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix, take 87 North towards Payson.
    From Payson, take 260 East.
    Turn North (Left) on 290, the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery Turnoff.
    Follow approx. 6 miles to Fish Hatchery and park in lot just before entering Hatchery.
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
    help comment issue

    end of page marker