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Pretty easy going up to the spring, but past that it can be challenging to stay on the main trail due to overgrowth and limited use. Also, that last leg to Rim Road is rather steep and rocky. Nice views near the top though. Saw some elk to the side of the trail on the way out around dusk, then a deer as I drove from the trailhead out to the highway.

Well maintained trail with lots of great views of Saguaro Lake, as well as Four Peaks and even Flatiron in the distance.
Nice change from the typical Phoenix desert hike, and though the trail is fairly flat, there is just enough elevation change to keep things interesting and to improve the views.
I saw a couple of wild horses at the trailhead. Beside that I barely saw any trash on the trail. Someone must have come through and cleaned up after the party pig summer crew!

My favorite McDowell trail - rugged but beautiful and very doable!

This was pretty good exercise for a “city walk”. You cam hear traffic from most of the trail, but it is far enough away to not be too bothersome. Decent views from the peaks.

Great hike. Last night there was a big storm so the trail was somewhat washed out, loose rocks and pebbles, but on the other hand beautiful green ocotillos and a couple of water creeks. It worth it!

This was a beautiful and easy hike. Completed it with a group ages 8-42 and everyone did great. Ended up picking a day in July that was perfect. Cloudy with rolling thunder and a light sprinkle made this hike through the pines absolutely beautiful. Take some snacks or lunch and enjoy it while eating next to the creek.

hiking
12 days ago

pretty fun loop for pack training. tons of loose rock however on a good majority of the trail

hiking
16 days ago

It was way rockier than expected but was a fun workout. I ran out of water though (bring more than a bottle). Very scenic cacti❤️
I’ll be doing Tom’s Thumb next☹️

hiking
25 days ago

Loved this. I ended making it a loop (Gateway to Windgate to Tom’s Thumb to East End to Bell Pass to Gateway = ~15 miles); part of the reason I love this area is how customizable the trail options are. Started out early and most of the incline was in the shade, and hardly anyone was out and about. Highly recommend. Great views, interesting terrain, and very well-marked (with maps available too!).

Such an incredible workout, I alternate from ridge line Nd Beverly canyon to Pima wash to javelina, always exciting!

hiking
27 days ago

Stunning views, will def do it again. Wanted to see the wild pack of horses, no luck. Since this trail borders the lake, I'm sure it'll be less than serene on weekends, jet-skis, etc. When I went it was quiet, began around 7am on a Weds. Parking is $8, can get at a Circle k or QT on the way.

If curious about the name, https://www.google.com/search?q=Dr.+W.W.+Jones&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Interesting quote, from AZ Republic.... "Question: Who was Butcher Jones, and why is a trail named after him near Saguaro Lake?

Answer: The Arizona Republic's Scott Craven did some research, and here's what he found:

"Butcher Jones most likely is Dr. W.W. Jones, according to state historian Marshall Trimble. An online search showed Jones to be more than a medical professional. In the mid-19th century, he also owned mines in Arizona as well as a freighting business. He lived in Yuma, Prescott, Wickenburg, Phoenix and Tempe, and later in life became a rancher. He apparently was fairly influential in his day, and he was friends with Jacob Waltz of Lost Dutchman Mine fame. There also was a mention that Dr. Jones performed surgeries on his dining room table, which may have led to his nickname of Butcher (a Parks Department employee said of Butcher Jones – 'I am pretty sure he was a doctor, but apparently not a very good one.')."
https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/2014/04/30/who-was-butcher-jones/8538709/

backpacking
1 month ago

I hiked the Derrick Trail to Highline Trail and out on the Horton Creek Trail. This created a large loop with amazing rim views. The Highline portion was difficult but well worth the reward. It drops you right into Horton Spring. About a half mile down from the Spring is a great camping spot able to accommodate a larger group. The trail out had many stunning waterfalls and great camping spots as well. I’ll definitely be doing this one again.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this on 9.3.18. My husband and I went past the 4 mile area where people normally turn around and we kept going to the rim road. We were not prepared for how steep and unsafe that part of the trail is. We actually turned around after a few stumbles. It is very family friendly if you stay on first 4 miles but going past that to the rim road is not safe, especially with kids. My husband actually lost his glasses on the steep part, if you find a black pair of prescription glasses, please let us know. 651-399-3028! Thank you!

Went with my friend. she regularly hikes piestewa peak in Phoenix a few times a week and I walk my neighborhood regularly. Had a little confusion finding trail initially. Just park at the Horton creek hike lot, go back across the bridge and head up the dirt road. you will see a sign. we both loved the trail which had some challenging parts in the first four miles but then leveled off in spots with plenty of photo ops with creek and mini falls. We read lots of mixed reviews about the difficulty of the last mile (you will see a sign) and opted not to continue up, mainly for me and a few unruly guys on the trail. I was feeling it and knew we had 4 miles to get back to the car. I would highly recommend this trail. Bring water and enjoy!

on Horton Creek Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great family hike! Moderate hiking that follows the creek and has great shade the whole way. Lots of pit stops to cool down and relax.... bring your suit and water shoes.

trail running
1 month ago

One of the most beautiful and scenic trails in the McDowells. Includes a little bit of red rock, desert brush, granite rock, and washes with varying terrain. Get ready to greet a few deer and rattlesnakes on the way.

backpacking
1 month ago

I believe most of the reviews here stop at the waterfall so caution if you continue on.

It is very pretty if you go to the springs and stop at the waterfall but if you continue up the rest of the way onto the rim (the last mile or so) it gets VERY hairy. I did this as a part of a larger loop from See Canyon and when I passed the springs and continued the last mile it was heavy scrambling and the trail was very hard to keep track of - at one point I found myself very exposed where falls could have been deadly.

If you do this last part be sure to take it slow and follow the cairns carefully. Also I wouldn’t recommend any children or someone who isn’t familiar with class 3 scrambles like Siphon Draw. (This might be worse)

The uphill on Bell Pass is tough, but well worth it. Great run early in the morning before it gets too crowded.

Very nice hike! Two trails that I noticed, the low trail which hugs the creek and the high trail which is most traveled, but away from the creek. We did both, low going in, high coming out. For the grand finale, there are two springs, awesome!! People do camp along the trail, something I definitely plan on doing on our next trip.

hiking
1 month ago

LOVED this hike! Arrived around 6:30am on a Saturday and it was pretty empty, although when we were heading back around 8 both the trail and the lake were starting to fill up. Seriously beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains the whole way, with some outlets to walk down to the water. There was a rattlesnake and a family of javelinas when we were there, so keep an eye out for wildlife and stay aware. Heads up (and my reason for 4 stars)- the lake is popular for boating and jetskis. If you're looking for a relaxing, quiet hike either go really early or pick another trail.

Great hike! We hiked this with 7 and 8 year old. We only went to the end where the trails split to other trails and didn’t go the last mile after reading the reviews that it just leads to the 300 road and is steep and rocky. Fun hike and easy for 7 miles. kids made it no problem. Glad we made it to the top, however, I’m writing this to warn others with kids only interested in playing in the water that there were 2 other water falls that aren’t as far and are actually bigger and better for playing in. If and when we do this hike again with the kids we would only go to the 2nd falls with the flat top and had small trail from main trail leading you to it. The top is beautiful but we would have spent more time at the lower falls had we not expected something greater at the end. Took us about 2 hours up due to exploring, spent some time playing and enjoying the scenery at the top and only 1 down. But definitely a great place to spend the day. We got there about 10am and was down and back to car about 3:30. Parking was sparse but still not too big of an issue. The trailhead has arrows from where the parking/restroom is that points you back to the right over the bridge. It’s the immediate left and then left from campground. We didn’t have any issues finding or staying on the trail.

first time I've gone hiking in quite a long time so it was honestly to difficult for me after the first climb. had to turn around. but I would love to do it again when I'm in better shape. great views and beautiful sunrise.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite hikes to go on with my dog. It's absolutely gorgeous all year round. It's a good hike for pretty much all levels...for me, since I'm not as active all the time and I have a bad Achilles tendon...I get a good work out with occasional incline and plenty of beautiful areas down the creek with waterfalls to enjoy and relax. It's very peaceful really early in the mornings on the weekends. There is an outhouse restroom at the Horton Creek parking lot and a camp site as you start walking towards the trail.

Nice trail, Wild horses, lake views, easy access to the water. Very nice, will definitely do again!

fishing
1 month ago

It’s a nice trail with a little elevation change but definitely for hiking than going fishing. There is some good shoreline at the beginning of the trail but then it is up over and around before you back to where you can access the shore again. That’s ok! Have you mind set for hiking vs good fishing. Much better to be on the water. Kayaking or on a boat

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike that I do often. Not difficult though footing in places can be tricky . Gorgeous views of the water most of the way. Trash is becoming a problem so please please pick up after yourself!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. We were able to see a ton of wildlife from lizards, to chipmunk, and even a coral snake. Didn't see any of the wild horses, but the trail runs right next to Saguaro Lake and provides you with some amazing views. Not too difficult of a trail, but always pay attention where you are stepping.

This would be a 5 star trail if there was some trail maintenance done, especially in the first mile or so. There is a ton of trash all over, there are parts that are very overgrown, and areas not well marked. Needs a little TLC.

Absolutely gorgeous hike — however, I would not consider the second half of the hike “easy,” as it becomes steep with switchbacks up the rim, it’s not super difficult, but most people I passed on the trail on the way back seemed pretty exhausted near the end on hike up. Also it should be noted that this hike does not follow the creek, in fact the majority of the hike is not near the creek at all but does have intermittent waterfalls and springs throughout. Definitely worth it to the end! You can fill your water bottle in a hole in the rock at the top of the fresh spring — best water I’ve ever tasted!!

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