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mini location map2016-09-23
9 by photographer avatarMountainMatt
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Tonto CreekPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2016
Hiking10.58 Miles 1,595 AEG
Hiking10.58 Miles   7 Hrs   5 Mns   2.20 mph
1,595 ft AEG   2 Hrs   17 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
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I was finally able to leave town for cooler weather and a much needed getaway with my pups!
I'm working on a full descent of Tonto Creek since it's one of my absolute favorite creeks in this entire state so this trips intention was to check off the more easily accessible upper portion of it.
Started my day around 8:45 at the very first parking lot right by the highway and immediately dropped into the creek bed and began my march upstream.
Even though it was a Friday and this place has so many easy access points where you can literally just walk down to the creek from just about any part of the road I fortunately only came across 3 quiet fisherman throughout my whole day! :D

Perfect weather, cool crisp Autumn air and scattered patches of golden and amber leaves made this a very pleasant hike.
I did my research about this area and knew it had a few particular places of interest but Tonto definitely delivered and surprised me with a few more "honey-holes" that I was not expecting! " 8)
I made it an effort to stay along the creek the whole time to make sure I didn't miss anything except of course where it becomes private property in which I went around and tried out both east and west options to do so.
I really wanted to hit up the Highline Trail and use it to head to Horton Creek and create a nice loop back to my SUV.
But within the first 200 yards of it my dog was already at a heavy pant due to her horrible tolerance to heat and that section of Highlane really is a shadless tanning salon during mid-day sun. I remember reading that sections of the trail were fire damaged and it seems to still be an accurate up to date description for that area due to the lack of real trees around. I was fine to proceed but my dog is a boxer and that short snout and chunky butt of hers really does not do well when it gets warm so I opted to play it safe and just decided to descend back down Ol Tonto.
As much as it frustrated me at first since I planned that loop before arriving the descent ended up working out in my favors due to the fact I found one very sweet section of the creek that I somehow missed on the way up!

I had some very funny encounters with the many cattle that roam Tonto Creek and at many times there where some intense face-offs with my dog Payton and some of the bigger bulls of the bunch that have a unique DGAF attitude :sweat: If you don't know what that acronym stands for I'll post a photo that clearly shows the cattles behavior.
After I finished my hike I got into my SUV and drove closer to some of the places of interest along the creek I wanted to photograph that I had seen earlier in the day but was just waiting for the right light.
While doing so I actually ended up tacking on another 1.5 miles and couple hundred feet of AEG that I left out from the stats of this triplog, it's safe to say my dog was exhausted since this was her first real hike in months.
Payton is stubborn when it comes to laying down in unfamiliar places but she was literally passed out with her face mushed into the dirt when I looked over at her while I was snapping photos, made me smile to see a happy dog who really needed to get outside and explore. :D

My love for this creek has increased even more from this trip and im very eager to check off more sections of this fascinating Arizona water wonderland in the future!
Arizona Sycamore
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Scattered patches of fall colors right now, in about 2-3 weeks The Rim country will be juicy with Autumn foliage!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dick Williams Creek Light flow Light flow
Just a light but steady flow of water about 1/4 mile of from its confluence with Tonto Creek.
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