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Horton Creek Trail #285
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mini location map2021-06-22
11 by photographer avatarPhxRiles
photographer avatar
 
Horton Creek Trail #285Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking7.10 Miles 1,222 AEG
Hiking7.10 Miles   3 Hrs   25 Mns   2.08 mph
1,222 ft AEG5 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Needed to get out of town for a day hike in a cooler location. Prescott or Payson? I'd covered Prescott before, so Payson won out. I'd researched Horton Creek a little, and it sounded like what I needed. So I left the Valley at 4:35am and headed north to Kohls Ranch.

Smoke wasn't too bad until I got around Rye. Somewhat hazier from there on and I could definitely smell it. I noticed signs along SR87 saying it was closed, probably around Pine/Strawberry. Same with SR260 at milepost 291, probably around Heber. But I was OK getting to Horton Creek.

Got to the TH at 6:30am. Only one other pickup in the lot. The advantage of getting there early! Started at 6:40am and my car thermometer read 53 degrees. Perfect. And I'm in just a long-sleeve polyester shirt and gym shorts.

Pine-scented air (mixed with occasional smoke), a babbling brook, and solitude. A comfortable hike through the forest, with gentle uphill at the end leading to Horton Spring. Two logs fashioned into a small bridge to walk across the creek. Several different varieties of butterflies at the spring. I'd say the creek was running moderately (I supposed anything with water qualifies as "moderate" these days). Sighting of the day was a small horned toad at the Highline Trail junction. I almost stepped on him since he blended in so well.

Didn't run into anyone on the way up, but about a dozen on the way down. Most of that was in a single group of 8-9 guys.

Someone had previously recommended Crosswinds Restaurant in Payson for their pies, so I treated myself to lunch there and brought an apple pie home. Have to see how it rates. (Looking back, it was nighthiker that recommended Crosswinds' pie. Thanks for the recommendation!)

Also had to make a brief pit stop at Payson GC. I always remember the 2014 Tee Pee Open when another fellow and myself aced the 14th hole. Two holes-in-one in the same group on the same hole.
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