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The Best Hikes in Payson

10,413 Triplog Reviews in the Payson
Most recent of 3,176 deeper Triplog Reviews
10.76 mi • 4,013 ft aeg
Linda and I finally got our calendars to align. I'd mentioned that I had not done North Peak and it was on. Joe said last week he was not interested (Until Linda batted her eyes at him). The Gecko also joined.

As the others mentioned, the road to the TH is 10 miles of recently graded dirt. The only tricky spot is the final blind left hand turn to the TH.

The hike starts innocently in trickling Mineral Creek. When you turn out of the creek, the climb begins in earnest for the next 3 miles. The weather was perfect for the climb. At the 3 mile mark, we could see where we'd be rejoining our track on our way down/back.

We made it out to the Divide Trail where we'd turn around and go 2/3rds of a mile back to where we made our off trail assault to the peak. Wanting to preserve my legs for future modeling gigs, I wore long pants. Manzanita and other prickly items are present but can be mostly avoided.

The four of us and hundreds of ladybugs enjoyed the views at the top of the peak. It even got a tad chilly. Now for the steep loose descent. Foliage was more of the same also on the way down. No noises were heard in the brush, so Linda did not have to fire any warning shots.

Back on the trail, I could enjoy the views more going down (as opposed to watching my feet and huffing and puffing on the way up).

Glad I finally got this one done. It was one of the toughest short hikes to date.


Great hiking with Linda and Kelly again and of course... Joe as the Beaver.
10.42 mi • 3,982 ft aeg
linda invited me to skip work and join her, bruce and joe for an ascent of north peak
nice opportunity for a new peak and a new trail in the mazzies
we got going around nine or so from mineral creek trailhead
mid 50s, mostly cloudy - good weather for a big uphill
steep hike up to a more moderate grade along a little ridgeline
we hiked all of north peak trail to the mazatzal divide trail
backtracked to start our ascent from the west
steep off trail with loose rock, other hazards included agave, manzanita and brush
probably should have worn pants
eventually topped out to great views
took a snack break, then started down a ridgeline to the northwest
it wasn't horrible, but glad i had a hiking pole
the remaining three miles on trail were all downhill
enjoyable day with this crew
thanks for inviting me :)
*averaging stats from three tracks
10.5 mi • 3,980 ft aeg
The road in has recently been graded. It is highway smooth for stretches. I have changed the guide page from post-fire 4x4, to high clearance. On a guaranteed dry day, a beater car with an intelligent driver could make it. Sycamores in the creek bed we're putting on a little Autumn foliage show.

There is a hint of avoidable catclaw in the lower 0.75-mi Mineral Creek stretch. The creek is stagnant and hidden in the grass over the trail at one spot just before heading up and soon after running across the trail.

The trail up is well-clipped. Still steep. No washed-out areas as I recall from yesteryear.

Our hike to the peak included hiking out to the Divide Trail, gandering at The Park for five seconds from afar, then back and up to the peak.

We went up a rock slide. The first stretch of rock was very stable the second stretch was a little wobbly. I brought pants for this off-trail portion but it's not catclaw.

After a break at the peak, we headed on down. A stand of pines on the northeast side of the peak might be a better rest stop if it's hot outside. I think we were all happy to be back on the well-trimmed trail. It is steep but just within reasonable steep.

Synopsis
Perfect weather. The forecast in two days is a 70% chance of snow. Far from a favorite of mine but hands down the best hike of the month thus far. Kinna tough hike for the mileage... dare I say, tiring. Thanks to Linda for driving and to all for the great company!

Foliage
Notably sycamores. Oaks are hitting but most are medium to smaller size or scrub. Poison ivy is very obvious down at the creek. Hints of oregon grape off-trail up to the peak.

Wildflowers
One bloom was left on an Arizona thistle. Two or three instances of isolated penstemon. Some purple asteraceae.
10.01 mi • 3,953 ft aeg
Neither Bruce nor I will admit who planned or suggested this hike, but we both thought it was a good idea. When I asked Joe about joining us a couple of days ago, his response was basically “I don’t really like North Peak. What time should I meet you?” And then I invited Kelly to join us as well.

FS-414 is in good shape on the drive in, a few rocks here and there, and a few ruts a sedan might not like, but overall okay for any SUV.

Got started to pleasant temps and lightly overcast skies. Nice walking alongside the creekbed for a while, and then the steep uphill began. Up and up. I took a few stops to catch my breath.

Once on the ridge, the steepness backed off and it was pleasant hiking. The recent trailwork was obvious and it was nice to not have to push through manzanita. We hiked to the Divide trail to complete Trail 24, then turned around to head over to our offtrail portion up to the summit of North Peak.

Steep uphill, and we tried to stay at the edge of the manzanita, but the vegetation was generally not too bad. Although there was a lot of agave to dodge, some more successful than others. Some chunky rock to hike up through, and luckily it was mostly stable. We huffed and puffed our way uphill along the ridge and eventually reached the summit.

Took a nice break at the summit, then headed down the north-northwest side. A little more vegetation in places, and just as steep as the ascent. One short scramble to negotiate, then the rest of the way down was a matter of not falling on the slippery gravel, and pushing through manzanita.

Once back to the trail, the three mile descent back to the trailhead went by quickly. Steep, but felt like a breeze compared to the offtrail.

I took one good agave stab to the inside of my left foot, just above the arch. It hurt when it happened, then the pain quickly went away for the rest of the hike. By the time I got home though, it was killing me. I’m sure there will be a nice bruise tomorrow.

Excellent weather all day, with the clouds and nice breeze. Great company for the day, with almost constant fun banter. Traffic wasn’t too bad either. Happy to start off the month with a solid hike.
13.1 mi • 3,342 ft aeg
A great time of the year to hike this loop. The only negative was the lack of running water in South Fork.

Up Gold Ridge. With the exception of some loose gravel in the steeper areas the trail is in great condition. Some nice yellow and gold turning leaves up top made for some nice views along the way. Made good time.

The eye candy was on South Fork. Lots of red, yellow, and gold colors to be seen, most in the upper middle section. Trail conditions were a little overgrown but the trail tread was very easy to follow. Shed some blood and took one tumble but to be expected on a trail less traveled, and way better than wearing pants.

Other than forgetting my phone/camera, it was a perfect day.
6.94 mi • 1,168 ft aeg
Highline - See Spring Duo
I got Bruce and Joe to join me for a “Fall color” hike.
We got to the trailhead around 7:30am and it was a little chilly. We were dressed for it so it wasn’t bad.
We hiked the Highline part of the hike first and the trail is in great shape. Maple color change is hard to predict but there was a pretty good variety.
We finished off with the See Spring trail. More rocky and grassy in the middle but not to bad.
Most of the color was 3/4 up.
A nice Fall outing and really enjoyed getting a hike in with Bruce and Joe!! Like HAZ, they rock!!
6.94 mi • 1,168 ft aeg
Highline - See Spring Duo
Denny needed a color fix, Joe and I could not say no (with all his crying and sniveling)

We were the first car in the lot at a brisk 28 degrees. We got started early, probably too early, on the Highline headed east. Most of the trees were not yet lit up by the sun.

Denny had noted that about 2 miles in, there was a high concentration of maples. He was not wrong, it was filthy with maples. Another 30-45 minutes would have been perfect to light them up.

The See Spring Trail never disappoints. The center section had the highest concentration of color. By the springs many of the maples had not turned yet.

A short but fruitful hike. Always good to get the stooges back together again.
Thanks for driving Denny.
6.37 mi • 1,258 ft aeg
Highline - See Spring Duo
Denny planned this mini foliage gem. Brisk morning. He said there was a nice pocket of maples about two miles over on the Highline. He knows his maple pockets, a dandy display!

Then up to the spring. Run, don't walk, See Spring Trail is phenomenal now!

Fun morning, loaded with color and banter... I threw a rocket at Bruce, then immediately asked him for a favor. The reaction was priceless. Always good to babble and hike with the turtle too!

Foliage
Upper Buck Canyon hikers and Canadians will rate lower. Intense now with plenty of green maple leaves to keep the show rolling strong.
4.07 mi • 388 ft aeg
Went looking for fall colors. The colors weren't quite at their peak when we were here last week, so we returned to check it out. The rim was enclosed in a cloud when we arrived. The cloud eventually dispersed, but it remained overcast and windy, with the sun occasionally peeking through. It was chillier than expected. Rim Road was very muddy, and slippery in some parts. We saw 2 vehicles slide. Gentry Canyon was very pleasant, almost completely flat, wide trail, with a lot of pines, a lot of leafless trees, and intermittent clusters of yellow/orange foliage. The colors were past their peak, with a lot of leaves on the ground. One of us was one week postoperative so this was a perfect activity. We went out 2 miles, then returned the way we came. The pine and fallen leaves scent was amazing and refreshing. It was good to get away from all the paperwork to experience this.

Foliage
Scattered clusters of yellow and orange, past their peak.
3.4 mi • 892 ft aeg
Took advantage of the Sunday morning rain and headed to See to check on the fall colors. Was excited to see a nearly empty lot with only one other vehicle. Last year I came here second weekend of November and so I wanted to compare the two.

Still fairly early. Not peak for most of the trail. But also some great color early on in the trail and on the west side of the creek in certain spots. Still totally worth it to go. I think in a week it should be looking very nice.
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