dogs on leash
off road driving
The Tonto National Forest, Arizona, embraces almost 3 million acres of rugged and spectacularly beautiful country, ranging from Saguaro cactus-studded desert to pine-forested mountains beneath the Mogollon Rim. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude (from 1,300 to 7,900 feet) offers outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it's lake beaches or cool pine forest. As the fifth largest forest in the United States, the Tonto National Forest is one of the most-visited “urban” forests in the U.S. (approximately 5.8 million visitors annually). Its boundaries are Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east.
First, don't be fooled by the rating of Easy. It's a beautiful trail. Like two recent reviewers mentioned; at some points the paths are overgrown, and the distance is incorrect. I paced it at 10 miles round trip. Thanks to Christofer Marohn for confirming I was not crazy...
Last, it shows a constant increasing slope to the end. I disagree. the last 1.5 miles is 20% inclines. Most of the people who come here don't finish the trail. They walk the first mile and turn back. If you are going to complete the whole thing, it not for the little ones. I would rate this as Moderate.
My wife and I hiked the loop portion of the Peach Orchard Trail. It's the only trail that's rated as "Difficult" in the Payson Area Trail System. It's mostly a Jeep trail that loops around a lopsided bowl. There are no level sections, but the only difficult part of the trail is a ridiculously steep and washed out section on the south end that connects the highest elevation on the west to the lowest elevation on the east. We played CSI when we found debris from an ATV rollover halfway down the slope. The views from the entire trail, including the highest elevation, are very ordinary. If you're looking for a gently sloping loop trail that includes a very steep section, this is the trail for you.
Great trail with wonderful views. We had some trouble finding the path at the end and just did a little exploring on our own. We were able to eventually find a nice quiet cove to swim. Will definitely come back with the dogs! FYI: Tonto day pass is a must if you don't want to get a ticket.
the sights on the trail were amazing. lots of trash though in the water. a little rocky & small trail near edge of water. could make a parent nervous with little ones. however, walking through the overgrown trees was awesome for the little ones. and a little cooler, since you are shaded. great place for older kids & adults to hike, perhaps a little too precarious for little ones.