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13 triplogs
Nov 19 2020
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
North Peak Trail #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 19 2020
guyinthewoods
Hiking7.11 Miles 2,480 AEG
Hiking7.11 Miles   6 Hrs   47 Mns   1.42 mph
2,480 ft AEG   1 Hour   46 Mns Break16 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
My 66 year old dad has been wanting to hike up to the park for quite some time, so we took trail #24 up to see how far we could make it. Well it was tough going and we didn't reach the end of the trail... but we made it farther than i did 2 weeks ago on my recent solo hike up there, which was satisfying enough in its own right. After a couple consecutive experiences on this trail i can safely say it's one of the rockiest, roughest, and steepest trails I've hiked around here, with its 2000 feet of elevation gain in the first 2 miles or so. The ground is loose and tricky, and almost every step is an opportunity to slip and fall onto a cactus. Anyway, Mineral spring is still flowing very nicely, however the colorful leaves are all but gone for the year. While i was up there, i restacked several collapsed cairns to help out the next brave souls. It's a service i happily provide at absolutely no cost to anyone! At about the 3.25 mile mark the trail once again becomes hard to follow because of all the fallen trees, but if you stay along the same contour I don't see how one could get lost in this section. Beyond 3.5 miles up this trail is still a mystery to me, but we'll be back up there soon with grippier footwear and better cardio skills.
Culture
Culture
Cairn
Named place
Named place
Mineral Spring North Peak
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Last of the colors near the springs, most leaves fallen already

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mineral Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Improved flow vs. 2 weeks ago, nice clear water in drainage
_____________________
2 archives
Nov 12 2020
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Mazatzal Divide trail #23 to AZT junction, AZ 
Mazatzal Divide trail #23 to AZT junction, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2020
guyinthewoods
Hiking12.02 Miles 2,665 AEG
Hiking12.02 Miles   4 Hrs   55 Mns   2.62 mph
2,665 ft AEG      20 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
After a short drive from town, i parked at the spacious City creek TH and set off at a semi aggressive pace. In my 30 years of living and hiking in the payson area I'd only been on this trail one other time as a kid, so i figured it was worth another visit. As i made my way further from the parking lot i noticed that the trail was pretty rocky as one can expect around here, but it wasn't too bad. The knee height catclaw continuously snagged on my pants for the first couple miles, so I'd advise others to avoid wearing shorts on this one if possible. Thankfully a little after the 2.5 mile mark the rocky trail transitions to a pleasantly smooth dirt path, and it stays that way for the majority of the climb. There are a few chunky sections but overall this trail is easier to walk than just about any other I've been on in the eastern slope of the Mazatzals. From around mile 3 upward you're walking through the burn zone of the 2004 willow fire, so vegetation is scrubby and dense which doesn't provide many shady spots to stop and catch your breath. On a positive note, the short brush enables dramatic open views of North peak and beyond. Even the view downhill into city creek is worth admiring for sure. I continued upward (this trail has practically zero grade reversals until near "the park"), pausing for a quick break at the dry spring that the trail skirts around near 5300' elevation. It's marked merely as "Spr" on the USFS topo maps. There was a small smooth & flat spot right off the trail here, that seemed like it would be probably the only nice place to pitch a tent in between City creek trailhead and the park. This section of trail leading up to the AZT junction covers a lot of vertical, but it's easy to get up due to the easy grade and smart routing. When I got to the AZT junction, there were a couple inches of snow on the ground among a nice grove of ponderosas that are some of the few that escaped getting roasted in 2004. Feeling satisfied with my progress, I stopped for a snack, got a few photos, and headed back. This was my longest hike and most elevation gain in quite a while, but I know I could cover more miles if i hiked a greater portion of the day. My goal is to eventually be in condition for hiking 20 miles in one day in the same terrain.

Observations:
- If you're trying to get to the park, North peak trail is a lot shorter of a hike but steeper
- Wildlife spotted = Fast roadrunner, soaring hawk, talkative raven
- Route Scout does not disappoint!!
- The Junction with AZT #24 Red Hills trail is in a different spot than it appears on the map (trail was rerouted)
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Nice colorful trees in some of the ravines
_____________________
3 archives
Nov 05 2020
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
North Peak Trail #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2020
guyinthewoods
Hiking6.19 Miles 2,264 AEG
Hiking6.19 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   1.67 mph
2,264 ft AEG      31 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Had a late start and set out from the trailhead around 10:30am. This trail is rocky from the beginning and stays that way all the way up, but although there was loose footing i made good time over the first mile leading up to the springs. I wasn't expecting to see water at mineral spring but there turned out to be quite a bit. Despite the season, it was warm enough to make the climb up pretty strenuous, and the absence of shade adds to the difficulty of the ascent. North peak vistas improve as you go up, so the motivation is there to keep pushing. I didn't complete the entire length of the trail, instead my plan was just to scout the trail for a future overnight trip to "the park" that i've been pondering for a while. At about the 2 mile mark the trail enters thick brush and becomes hard to follow, but the path can be traced successfully by keeping an eye out for some of the world's crappiest cairns. I only lost the trail once but picked it up again after a moment of wandering. The routing of the trail follows pretty closely to where it appears on the USFS maps. My initial goal was to get at least a 1000' elevation gain, but the steepness made that checkpoint arrive too quickly, so i figured i would at least make it to the high point of the trail at 6200 elevation which is where i turned around. Thankfully this decision provided some good views to the west into the Mazatzals that are hidden behind the ridge when you look at the range from the payson area. Heading back down to Mineral creek trailhead is fast but slipping and falling is very easy due to the rough loose rocks (i fell 3 or 4 times). My arrival back at the car was about 2:45, not a very impressive pace but not bad given the grade of the trail. And by car i mean my 4runner, be advised that there are sections of the 414 road leading to the trailhead (from both the north and south approach) that could cause some oil pan damage to a sedan.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Lots of color at mineral spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mineral Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good flow of clear water in the ravine trickling downhill
_____________________
Oct 21 2020
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Stewart Ridge - PaysonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 21 2020
guyinthewoods
Hiking7.47 Miles 1,474 AEG
Hiking7.47 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   2.03 mph
1,474 ft AEG      14 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Started this hike at the small mud springs "trailhead" on gibson ct. I followed the well-defined trail easily until i got to the top of hill 5502, at which point the trail ends and following the ridge became a serious bushwhack (and not the fun kind). After zig-zagging back and forth across an old fenceline for a while, i reached a point that i thought would be good for descending the ridge. It turned out to be very steep and extremely dense with manzanita and oak brush, but i forced my way through and down the loose rocky hillside. Originally i intended to reach the boulders loop trail and follow it back towards where i parked, but as the hill leveled out i found the unmarked, unsigned mountain bike singletrack that follows the contours below stewart ridge. I was low on water and decided to take that path instead. I was glad i did, since it offers a higher vantage compared to the boulders trail. The views of stewart pocket from this unofficial trail are better than from the top of the ridge in my opinion. After a couple more miles the trail approached the phoenix street trailhead. In this area exists a very confusing network of intersecting light use trails which makes it hard to tell which way to go. Eventually after some wandering i reached the trailhead and completed the unpleasant gradual climb up the road to where i began the hike. The only wildlife i spotted was a fox on top of the ridge near hill 5502 and the standard assortment of cows.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
4 archives
Sep 16 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Donahue Trail #27Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 16 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking8.15 Miles 1,937 AEG
Hiking8.15 Miles   3 Hrs   20 Mns   2.57 mph
1,937 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I definitely broke a sweat on this one. This hike is great if you like punishing yourself with endless switchbacks and rocky ankle twisting brutality. All exaggeration aside, it's a nice challenging hike with enjoyable views of the Pine area... but overall pretty average when compared to other trails along the rim.

From the Pine trailhead I started up Pine Canyon trail, but took a quick right on the shortcut trail that leads over to the Highline. I passed through the creek bottom and turned right at the intersection of Pine View trail #28 and Highline trail #31. From there it was a quick half mile to the beginning of the Donahue trail. Everything up until here was pretty smooth walking, but it got pretty intense as I started heading up the side of Milk Ranch point.

The trail is very easy to follow, but extremely rocky and eroded along most of the uphill part. Luckily, there are a few scattered shady spots along the way up. The switchback section is long and exhausting, but cresting over that ridge rewards you with some great views. The scenery quickly disappears as the trail continues uphill and into taller pines, junipers, and oaks. Just when my legs had recovered from all the climbing and I was picking up the pace through the forest, FR218 came into view and I had reached the upper end of the trail.

I feel like this trail is merely okay by itself, but it would be better as part of a loop with the Pine Canyon trail or West Webber trail.
Flora
Flora
Alligator Juniper
Culture
Culture
Cairn
_____________________
Sep 02 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Phx St to Stewart Ridge - Payson, AZ 
Phx St to Stewart Ridge - Payson, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 02 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking2.73 Miles 771 AEG
Hiking2.73 Miles   3 Hrs   40 Mns   1.09 mph
771 ft AEG   1 Hour   10 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I had always known about the popular network of mountain bike trails just outside of town, but for some reason I'd never explored the area very much. I've climbed monument peak a couple times, but that's about it. On this particular "morning walk" I didn't make it very far toward the highest points along stewart ridge, but I at least got to the top of the ridge and was rewarded with a great new perspective of the town. It was so nice up there that I found a comfortable rock to lean up against and just enjoyed the views for a while. And there's a lot to look at from up there! I even saw a few tiny mountain bikers on the trails way down below. Not much elevation gain or distance covered on this one, but any hike is better than no hike at all.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Stewart Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A little water flowing with a few seeps crossing the trail
_____________________
Aug 27 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Babe Haught Trail - Hatchery to Knoll LakePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 27 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking3.51 Miles 1,364 AEG
Hiking3.51 Miles   2 Hrs   20 Mns   1.68 mph
1,364 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This trail begins by heading northwest from the north end of the parking area just below the fish hatchery. You have to watch your step at first, since the overgrown grasses make it hard to see where you're putting your feet. After a short section of that, you have to keep watching your step because the trail climbs out of the drainage and up the loose rocky hillside. For most of the way up the rim, the dominant vegetation is a mix of manzanita and scrub oak with quite a few burned trees scattered around. So there isn't much shade on the trail, but this means you get some great open views of the rim as you ascend.

In my opinion, you will definitely work up a sweat on this trail no matter how much of a seasoned vet you are. It's a rocky and steep climb that doesn't let up until you crest over the top of the rim, 1300 or so feet above the trailhead. The trail is pretty easy to follow all the way up, and at the top there are tons of big cairns that guide you through the trees toward FR300. I didn't make it to the end of the trail this time, I was just wanting to scope things out for a possible overnight trip to knoll lake.

Despite the relative difficulty of this trail, I think it's pretty fun. The views keep getting better the further you climb, which is great motivation to keep pushing upward. About 3/4 of the way to the top, a nice grove of young oak trees covers the trail and provides one of the only opportunities for a nice shady pit stop along the way up. As usual, I stopped for pictures every 100 feet on this trip. I swear I'd be a much faster hiker if I didn't bring any sort of camera with me.
_____________________
Aug 19 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Doll Baby TH to 4104, AZ 
Doll Baby TH to 4104, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 19 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking3.49 Miles 765 AEG
Hiking3.49 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   1.55 mph
765 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a short but fun, mostly jeep trail hike with my dad. He comes along on a lot of my hikes. It would have been a piece of cake in the winter months, but the heat turned the easy climb pretty into a pretty rough walk. There were a bunch of cows everywhere near the river, as you can generally expect to see when hiking in this area. But don't worry if you see them glaring at you with a crazy look in their eyes, they are usually benevolent.

We climbed up out of the river bottom without seeing any indication of Sedge spring or Surprise spring which are apparently not too far off the trail. The trail is actually just a washed out road that allows access to the Arizona trail from Doll Baby trailhead. After about 1 1/4 miles of not-shaded hiking we saw a foot path leading back south off the main trail up towards point 4104. It's marked with pink ribbons, and there is a tiny bit of boulder hopping involved to get to the top of the cliffs. Once we got up there, there were some great views of North peak and the surrounding area.

The views were nice but the old ruins up there were the best part. I have no idea which ancient culture constructed them but they have definitely been around for a while. It made for some interesting speculation as we sat down and ate lunch near the tall rock walls. There are a lot of old dwellings like this one in the Payson area, but this one is probably the biggest and best preserved that I've encountered. Well worth the short hike if you're into that sort of thing.
Named place
Named place
North Peak
_____________________
Aug 13 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
East Webber via GeronimoPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 13 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking9.56 Miles 1,544 AEG
Hiking9.56 Miles   5 Hrs   25 Mns   1.98 mph
1,544 ft AEG      35 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
When I hiked Turkey trail #217 a couple weeks ago, I had some great views from the top of Milk Ranch point all the way over to East Webber creek as I looked across to the canyon down below. I remember thinking that the area really looked like it was worth checking out, so fast forward to this morning and we hit the trail at a little past 8am after parking at Geronimo trailhead. The first couple miles on #240 were boring, as expected, but things started to get nicer once we got to the start of East Webber trail. It was a pretty warm & sunny day, so the numerous stream crossings provided lots of opportunities to splash some cold water on our faces.

The way up was mostly a gradual climb through the ferns and blackberries. Things started to get badly overgrown pretty quick, and the thorny berry bushes lining the trail were worse than any catclaw I've ever waded through. The vines were drooping across the trail at face height, which made for slow travel as the trail continued past the "swimming hole" into the denser undergrowth. At about the 4.75 mile mark we lost the trail completely, and decided to head back.

Just a bit after turning around, we chose to head up a pink-ribboned spur trail heading to the north that I noticed on the way up. I was glad we did, because it led right to a spring that was gushing cold water right from the bottom of a cool looking cliff. I'm not sure what this spring is called, I can't find it on any of the forest service maps that I have.

In the future I'd like to attempt the BSA Rim View loop over to Highline, but the fact that there seem to be 2 different junctions for the Rim View trail left me a bit confused about which is the correct trail. I use the term "trail" loosely here because at both intersections it didn't look like there was much of a path to follow at all.
Named place
Named place
Mogollon Rim
_____________________
Aug 05 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Bear Canyon hike, AZ 
Bear Canyon hike, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 05 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking11.03 Miles 2,189 AEG
Hiking11.03 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.23 mph
2,189 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Lots of rain made this one sort of miserable, but it was a worthwhile adventure nonetheless. I started and ended this hike at the See Canyon TH, but only made a GPS track of the part on top of the rim.

Anyway, I started at See Canyon TH with cloudy skies overhead. Got to the top of the rim and you could really tell a storm was brewing. Crossed over FR300 and headed as close to due north as possible to intersect with the top of Bear canyon. Found a decent entry point and headed down into the canyon. That's when the heavy rain started, and it kept going pretty steady all the way to the lake.

Got to the lake after a soggy log hurdling session, and I was happy when the rain stopped for a few minutes so I could take a few pictures. I had packed with the intention of making this an overnight trip to test out my new sleeping bag and bivy, so I was a bit tired from carrying more weight than usual. After about ten minutes of scouting for a camp spot, another wave of rain hit, this time it was a really intense downpour. I retreated under the cover of some small pines on the south end of the lake. After sitting there for a bit it dawned on me that there was no way i'd be able to set up my tarp and sleeping gear without spending a night as the coldest, wettest and most miserable person in Coconino county. So I aborted the mission and headed back for the car.

On the way back the rain kept coming. My boots had already been full of water for the previous hour or more, so I didn't really mind slogging up the creek bottom on the way back up the canyon. After a while I got tired of the slippery, muddy sidehill walking so I trudged straight up the west side of the canyon and made my way toward FR300. It was much easier hiking up top, and I emerged from the forest right at the turnoff for the road going out onto Promontory butte. Had to follow 300 for a little bit to get back to the See Canyon trail, and from there it was smooth sailing to the trailhead, with just a few light showers.

After this experience I'm stocking up on those cheapy clear plastic ponchos. It was the only rain gear I had, and it really saved my butt on this trip... especially since I was wearing just a cotton t-shirt and cargo pants all day. My legs were soaked but my upper body and backpack stayed relatively dry and warm.
Flora
Flora
Blackeyed Susan
Named place
Named place
Bear Canyon Lake
_____________________
Jul 29 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Turkey Trail via Geronimo, AZ 
Turkey Trail via Geronimo, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 29 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking8.78 Miles 2,087 AEG
Hiking8.78 Miles   5 Hrs      2.07 mph
2,087 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
My last few hikes have been somewhat leisurely, so this time I wanted to challenge myself a little more. I've never explored this area before, and figured that this hike would be pretty interesting, so I loaded up and arrived at Geronimo TH just before 8am. After crossing Webber creek, the Highline trail headed through some ferns and blackberries on the way to the junction of trail 240. This area seems to be very well signed, which I guess probably has something to do with the close proximity of the scout camp. Despite a few heavily eroded areas and side paths departing the main trail, I had no problems finding my way to the start of Geronimo trail after about 1/4 mile of walking along the Highline.

There isn't much to say about Geronimo trail that hasn't already been stated on this website many times over. It's a mostly non-noteworthy jeep trail that wanders past Camp Geronimo. I was distractedly walking along, thinking about how bland the past couple miles had been, when I approached the sign indicating the junction of a trail that headed uphill to the west. I had just started to read "BSA Milk Ranch trail" that was carved into the wood when I perceived a large brownish mass heading directly toward me from right behind the sign. It took me a second to comprehend what I was seeing, and I jumped back a few steps when I realized that a huge black bear was closing to within 15-20 feet of me. Of course, as soon as it saw me move and noticed I was there, it turned around and took off up the hill. It emerged back onto the trail about 100 feet away to stare me down for a few seconds, but I was too slow and couldn't get a picture before it strolled away into the trees.

So that close encounter definitely got the adrenaline flowing for the serious climb I was about to get down and dirty with. Another 1/8 mile past the BSA trail junction is where trail #217 begins. It starts out fairly gentle as you cross the trickle of water that originates just a bit uphill at Turkey spring. After passing the West Webber trail junction a couple hundred yards up, things started to get steeper and steeper. The ample shade of lower elevations gradually disappears as the trail switchbacks up into what looks to be an old burn area. Just when your legs really start to burn from the past 1000' of elevation gain, the massive rock outcropping appears off the side of the trail. It's a great place to stop for a drink of water and take a few pictures. If you decide to climb it, like I did, beware the vertigo-inducing nightmare that awaits you at the top.

Once you continue past the outcrop, assure yourself that most of the tough climbing is behind you as the trail levels out passing over the edge of the rim. The views are great from the top, but don't stop there. It's worth it to keep going to the end of the trail at Dickenson flat. I ate lunch while sitting on a stump at the edge of a picturesque grassy meadow, which was a nice surprise to see after a pretty brutal ascent. I have no idea how some of you guys on this site manage 20+ mile dayhikes in this area, you must have bionic legs. Anyway, the way back down to the lower trailhead was much quicker than going up. I used my favorite downhill technique that I'd describe as a "controlled stumble" which saved almost an hour off my return time. I arrived at the car a few minutes after 1pm to see another vehicle at the trailhead with a HAZ sticker on the back. Didn't see any other hikers on the trail all day, however.

I really liked this hike and I'm planning on returning in the fall, probably for a lasso route connecting to West Webber trail #228 or an out and back hike up East Webber trail. Turkey trail is pretty fun, and I'd recommend it to anybody who is willing to work up a sweat for some awesome views of the rim.
Named place
Named place
Dickenson Flat

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Turkey Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Trickling near the source but flowing better at stream crossing immediately before 240/217 junction.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Webber Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Murky brown water from recent rainfall
_____________________
Jul 23 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
Highline Trail Hatchery to Horton Spring, AZ 
Highline Trail Hatchery to Horton Spring, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking6.72 Miles 926 AEG
Hiking6.72 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.97 mph
926 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I wanted to take an unfamiliar approach to Horton spring, and I thought that this section of Highline trail would make a good quick day hike. The morning started out with clear skies, but i knew that storm clouds would be quickly accumulating over the edge of the rim as the day went on. Sure enough, the thunder started around lunchtime as the blue skies started turning gray. Luckily my hiking buddy and I got back to the trailhead before it started raining.

So, this was an out-and-back hike from the fish hatchery to the spring. The trail was mostly very easy to follow, even in the parts that were overgrown by tall grasses. However that's not to say that this is a smooth section of the Highline - there is quite a bit of up & down action and a lot of this trail has the same "loose rock path" surface that every AZ hiker is familiar with. Keep an eye out for the blackberries around Dick Williams creek.

This hike was relatively more challenging than the beaten path to Horton spring, trail #285. Arriving at the spring is a welcome reward for completing the 3.3 mile workout that gets you there. And if you're like me, you appreciate the solitude of a day on the trail without encountering any other people or even seeing their footprints on the ground. Combine that with some great panoramic views of the rim, and this hike is one that's worth repeating.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dick Williams Creek Light flow Light flow
Clear, cold water a few inches deep. Small cascades near the trail crossing.
_____________________
Jul 15 2013
guyinthewoods
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 199
 Triplogs 13

36 male
 Joined Jul 01 2013
 Payson, az
See Canyon Trail #184Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 15 2013
guyinthewoods
Hiking6.90 Miles 1,874 AEG
Hiking6.90 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.73 mph
1,874 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike has been on my to-do list for a while now, and I finally had a chance to get out there and see what it was all about. I've hiked Horton Creek trail #285 a couple times and really liked it; the most recent time I was even lucky enough to not encounter a single other hiker on the trail all day. Given the natural beauty of trail #285 I predicted that I might enjoy this trail leading up the opposite side of Promontory Butte, and I'm happy to say it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Despite not featuring any stunning cliffside views that you may expect when hiking up to the top of the rim, this trail certainly delivers in other ways. A good percentage of this trail is a smooth, easy-to-follow singletrack lined on both sides by grasses, ferns, and wild berries. They tasted like raspberries so I guess that's what they were. Lush green foliage is everywhere from start to finish, and there's no shortage of water along the trail. If you're sick of catclaw and scrub oak, this is a great trail for you.

In some areas the trail disappears into rocky drainages, however there are plenty of cairns that guide you in the right direction. The trail is mostly very easy to follow with only a couple small sections that I'd call confusing. Overall, the climb seemed pretty gradual, making the ~1800ft elevation gain mostly a breeze with minimal steep spots. However all the deadfall across the trail led to me jokingly describing the trail to my hiking buddy as "not wheelchair accessible"

We did this hike on a monday and there was nobody else at the trailhead or on the trail (just how i like it). The skies were cloudy with sporadic light rain, but luckily the forest canopy is so dense in this area that we hardly got wet at all. FR300 had some pretty moderate traffic as expected, so we kept our lunch break brief and headed back down the way we came. We opted to pass up the short side trip up See Spring trail #185, but I'm sure it's just as pleasant as the main trail... maybe next time. After this fun trip, a longer loop hike to the top of Promontory and back down the other side is definitely on the agenda.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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average hiking speed 1.82 mph

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.

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