Explore payson - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
2 days ago

I look my wife, 4 kids and small dog for this fun little hike. Everyone gave it a 5 star review! The water was warm enough to play in (even in Mid April) and the trail was was well established. Water crossings are a must if you really want to enjoy the trail and stay cool so I wouldn't bring your boots if I were you. The trail was a little more technical than I thought my 4 year old son could handle, but nobody fell or got scared so I guess it wasn't too bad after all.

Great directions lovely hike

**Read this if you want to take your dog...**
I hiked this amazing trail two weeks ago with my 50 lb 8 year old trail seasoned blue weimaraner who hikes mountain trails 4-7 times a week. The trail was fine, easy even, until we had to climb over the large boulder. We did it but there is a ledge about a foot wide on the other side of the boulder with a 20 foot drop below. My dog was not a fan! Two of us handled her by harness to get her over and pass her down. (I was told by a friend you can go around that boulder-Just like you can go around the 12ft wall on Flat Iron) After this point the trail increases significantly in vertical climb up to the peak. Up is never the issue-as you know down is harder. We got about 3/4 of the way on this part of the trail to the top of the peak before we tapped out! We probably could have climbed it, but the decent would have been dangerous and irresponsible for both me and my dog to attempt together. This dog has hiked Flat Iron in the Sups, Humphreys and hikes Black Mountain in Cave Creek 3-6 times a week-all labeled as difficult hikes. Take your dog if you don't mind NOT climbing to the peak. The entire hike round trip took 2 hours for very seasoned hikers with stops. I would recommend bringing gloves.
We will return this weekend without my dog.

***Road driving caution. I drive a Jeep Trailhawk -I drove this 18 mile forest road fast and rough. It was a lot of fun but it loosened 2 heat shields and broke 3 motor mounts--I can't entirely blame the road for the motor mounts, they may have been close to needing to be replaced. But drive fast and fun knowing the risks...

nature trips
8 days ago

An easy and beautiful hike with Creek access!

Great Sunday morning hike. Great 360 degree views. Started out around 9:30am and finished up around noon. Would recommend an earlier start from now through the hot months as it was approaching 85 when we finished up. There is no shade on the trail. Bring plenty of water & sunscreen. Wear hiking footwear as it’s very rocky on the trail, especially, the first half. Great hike!!

Nice hike, pretty easy for me. Camped overnight, beautiful and quiet.

hiking
10 days ago

Incredible hike with shade from the pines and sounds from the creek. Didn't want to leave.

This was such an amazing day! We went with a group who had kiddos so they left us around mile 2 but we ventured on. AllTrails says it’s 6.7 miles but we clocked in 8 miles with a gain of 1,245 feet & so worth it. Although there were a ton of cars in the lot the trail was pretty quiet with just the sound of the water flowing down the creek in the background. There were at least half a dozen little waterfalls along the way & we did stop a couple times for a snack and just for a moment of relaxation; with a nice, crisp breeze to keep you cool. We’d definitely do this one again!

What a great trail! Fantastic views along the way and of course at the top. The hike is fairly easy until you get to the chute. Take your time going up and you should be fine, only a few questionable spots.

hiking
16 days ago

My dog loved this place! It was beautiful and very well maintained ❤️ I didn’t prepare well so next time I’ll do the whole thing but my dog basically just wanted to swim so I let him play

Don’t forget your cash because it’s no longer $6. It’s now $9/car and we didn’t bring enough cash so we were turned away; opted for the Peach Orchard. Hopefully we’ll get back there soon!

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Amazing hike! Its very short and its kind of steep but with decent gym shoes you'll be fine. The rocks are slippery at the bottom but it's so worth it! I'd go back again. There's also a $7 fee.

So amazing and beautiful! Would definitely hike again!

Very popular = over crowded on weekends. Lots of family fun!

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike! Took the kids and they had a blast playing in the water. Hike is easy as it slowly increases in elevation. Lots of places to stop along the creek and have lunch, wade in the water. Highly recommend this hike.

Living in Carefree I have logged 5000 miles on my dirt bike on every motor vehicle trail up here and hiked quite a bit. This hike is better from the parking lot under the power lines just before Sears Kay Ruins. You can hike many of the horse trails on the hills or the blue wash trail. I prefer the up and down single track trails better than the sandy washes. If you do come from Camp Creek Wash on Bartlett Dam road you need to stay right once you get towards the end. Another poster made the easy to follow left that took them to the green water coming out of the ground area which is West of Camp Creek. You know your going the wrong way when you see the green rusty poles and foundations used to keep jeeps out of the trail. Plus its very sandy, the camp creek wash has more rocks. The waterfall flows pretty much year round and you can climb past it and hike along the creek if you want. But at some point you need to turn back or you will hit Sears Kay Ranch which is private property.

One of the few hikes close to phoenix that has running creek and water.

beautiful hike

hiking
24 days ago

Seems like an ideal place for picnics. Wouldn't recommend bringing dogs.

Horton creek is dry right now. Was hoping for more water. Park in the lot and then walk up the dirt road (by Tonto Creek) and the trail is 50 feet up the dirt road on the left side. You will see the trail head sign on the dirt road.

What an epic hike/scramble/climb. Not too crazy as far as route finding, but makes up for it with the difficulty of the scree chute. Not sure how/why Alltrails considers this dog friendly.

hiking
25 days ago

A friend and I did tackled this hike a couple days ago. We are both physically fit, very experienced, and hike trails described as "difficult/strenuous" on a regular basis. We read many reviews about this trail and decided we were ready. Despite all our experience and preparations, this trail really kicked our butts.
A significant portion of the trail is along the left side of the very steep canyon and was covered in slippery fallen oak leaves. Later in the year, this may not be an issue. There are several areas where you need to cross incredibly narrow (barely 12 inches wide) path that drops down into the creek bed and the rocks. Would not be a pleasant fall. When you reach the point where you cross to the right side and begin your vertical ascent to the actual ruins, the ground is covered in scree, which makes every step hazardous. Keep low to the ground, go slowly, make sure your each foot is secure before taking another step. If you start to slide, you could end up sliding right off the trail and down the canyon. Trekking poles and gloves would be helpful. There is a rope previous hikers have tied to help in one portion.
The ruins, of course, are fabulous. Too bad thoughtless dimwits have lit campires inside, but we spent about an hour taking pictures, admiring the ruins and the views before the trek back down. The journey down is a nightmare, fighting gravity on the narrow, ridiculously steep trail where you cannot get your footing. In many parts, we ended up squatting on our hiking boots, and going for a controlled slide, relying on our trekking poles to steer/stop us before sliding over the edge.
Our bodies were aching, and we questioned our sanity, but we were glad to have checked this amazing hike off our list. We both agreed a significant amount of time would need to pass so we could forget how dangerous some parts were before we ever came back.
**ONLY for the very fit, advanced hiker! No joke. The risks are very real. No cell or gps, and not a single person the entire 20 mile drive (on dirt road, which took a good hour) to the trailhead or on the trail. If you are injured... you are really on your own. And being carried out, depending on where you are hurt, may not be possible.
TIPS: Bring trekking poles, gloves, GOOD HIKING BOOTS, and dress in layers. Do not attempt if you see any signs of snow or ice, or if water levels along cherry creek road are high or strong. Enjoy and appreciate the beauty, but also be smart and be safe!

Beautiful! definitely be doing this hike again!

hiking
28 days ago

Beautiful Scenery!

Really worth the work! About an 1-1/2 drive out to the trailhead and then a nice trail. Once you hit the saddle it’s a bit more elevation. Few sketchy spots near the top - we just went slow and watched our footing. Exhilarating view at the top with thousands of lady bugs. And we could see mount Humphrey’s.

Great trail for the whole family ! My 3 year old LOVED it! Get wet and go out and explore !

Extremely challenging hike. Dead cow still there 19 days later. Haha. Gloves completely recommended. Good shoes a must. Well worth the challenge. I had a very slow pace. We did 8 miles out and back. Took 5 1/2 hours. Three hours up. 1 1/2 down. Trail unmarked and hard to follow at times.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike and under the bridge is an amazing open cavelike feel with water spraying down from above. The wet rocks under the bridge are slippery but we’ll worth the effort.

OMG there was snow! This was our second time up Browns Peak but we didn't expect snow in March. As Canadians, we aren't afraid of a little snow and decided to go for it anyway and see what we could do. As usual, the views going up are gorgeous and the trail was in good shape. Scree Chute is intimidating enough without ice and snow, but with it...wow! Other people were coming down so we decided to go for it. With hiking boots and gloves we made our way to the top and back down again. It was super sketchy though. I'm glad I can say I've done it in the snow, but I don't think I'd attempt it again. Free climbing in those conditions is unpredictable and I'm just not sure it's worth the stress. Browns Peak is still a favourite and absolutely beautiful up-top. I will definitely do this one again, sans snow!

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing place and a pretty good hike.

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