Explore Trails I want to hike! - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Trails I want to hike! Map
2 days ago

Great views and excellent directions, as provided in previous reviews. Decent flow of water considering the time of year. Water was still plenty cold, but slightly murky. Keep in mind when deciding to swim the rate of flow- just upstream is private property who keep cattle that have direct access to the stream...

Beautiful on the way down, strenuous hike on the way up. In actuality, it's a total of 10 miles round trip.
Here are some helpful tips:
- don't take your dog unless it's in good shape and you bring it booties for its paws. The trail is VERY rocky and tore up our little girls pads :( we also had to take a lot of breaks for her in the way up. If you do bring your dog, make sure you have a bowl, and plenty of water for cooling body temp and drinking.
-take enough water for the way down. I'd say 2 liters per person. When you get down to sign that says dam (right) springs (left) go right to the dam which will take you to the waterfall. On you're way out, go back toward the spring to fill up your water supply. YOU WILL NEED IT GOING UP. The water bubbles straight from the earth and is the best water I've tasted. It's not that far back... it's off to the right, you'll see it feeding into the springs from underground- very cool!
- start early! It'll take time coming up and you'll want to spend time swimming, etc. We hit the trail at 9am, got to the bottom around 1130 (we had dogs and kids), left at around 1pm and didn't reach the top until 4. But again, took several breaks to water our dogs, kids and selves.
- watch for Rattlesnakes! Stay to the middle of the trail when you can, and be aware. My friend almost got bit, but was able to jump outta the way. Beautiful 2 yr old rattler off to the side sunbathing, but could have been the end to a beautiful day.
- I cannot stress enough- water, water and more water, especially if bringing pets. They get thirsty and their body temps rise quickly. Ensure you keep you're pup alive if bringing. Our 5 yr old barely made it out. Might take her again, but with booties next time.
-kids do ok, they'll slow you down a bit, but as long as they have enough to drink they'll do great and absolutely LOVE swimming under the cave.
Water is cold, refreshing, and perfect in September. Best time of the year to go, in my opinion.
We'll be back!

Great trail, beautiful lake, great wildlife!

5 days ago

beautiful trail .nice picture's kinda Rocky but do able.

Very easy and extremely beautiful!! Highly recommend this trail

This is a beautiful trail with amazing views of the lake. This is a nice trail because there is very few people on the trail.

A very nice hike. Was a challenge for my aging body. My app set the distance at 7 miles without adding the short hike to the spring. It was straight up to the top of the rim. No spectacular views from the sperspective at the top. But beautiful coming up the canyon. In September the temperature was 90 by mid morning but it was a lot cooler up at the top. The trail is well marked with reflectors on the trees. The second half of the climb is steep and rocky. Coming down there were sections that felt like skiing down the scree.

10 days ago

Beautiful hike! You go down, down, down and more down to the waterfall which was hard on my hips. Also meant you will be going up, up, UP all the way back!! Like everyone else said bring LOTS of water and save most for the way out. I filled my hydro at the waterfall. The water is crystal clear, cold and moving quickly so its fine. I'm still alive after drinking! I wet a towel there and wrapped on my neck for the way back. That helped a lot. I wouldn't recommend kids or dogs going, but they could do it if in good condition. We left our kids and dog home and were very happy we did so. Its very very rocky so you have to be constantly looking down so you dont trip. The group I was with are all in very good shape. We gym several times a week and hike a lot and the next day we could hardly move! The way out seems like never ending and gets tough with all the rocks. Take your time. Get there early and bring lots of water and snacks. You won't regret it!
There is a ranger there checking permits, so make sure you have one and its for the correct lot.

This trail was recommended by a woman who lives in Payson so I had a feeling i would like this one. It was harder and longer than the rating on here but my friend and I hike often so we could handle it, just didn’t expect it. There was hardly anyone on the trail and many parts were grown over. This was great but also made it hard to find the trail so a few times we got lost then had to turn around and figure out how to get back RJ the trail.

The last 2ish miles are VERY steep so you need to watch your step (I didn’t and slipped down the side landing on my wrist) and bring poles if you’re prone to slipping or babe bad ankles or knees. I wear an ankle brace so that helped during my fall.

Overall, I loved this green, peaceful, unique trail. It reminded me so much of Minnesota in the summer. We heard tons of birds, saw a baby tarantula, saw many lizards, and the view at the top is beautiful. It took us 4 hours to complete 10 miles per Fitbit.

The lake was very busy since it was a Saturday and the weather was decent. Lot's of people on the trail, hiking/fishing. The whole loop took me just under an hour to finish, I stopped a few times to take some pics and enjoy the scenery. The water level was higher due to the wetter than normal monsoon season so you'll have to hike a bit further down on the North East side of the lake. The damn crossing has a alot of tree trunks and a light flow of water, just avoid the moss due to it being slippery and you'll be fine

Great trail, the reward of water at the end makes it totally worth it! Parked at the trailhead on Bear Canyon Rd which made it approximately 6.5 mi. My 8 & 12 yr old handled the distance just fine. Not a ton of water, but enough to get in and cool off. Would like to do again in the spring.

Absolutely beautiful. We did the 4.8 mile loop that included Over the Hill and Lakeshore (I believe that’s what it was called.) I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there. It was actually more difficult than I thought it would be, a majority of it was fairly easy but the rocky sections can be tricky and steep. I def. recommend boots and not sneakers if you are in in for the longer hike. The bird watching was also great!

very easy walk. the trail on the campground side of the lake is paved. the farside is dirt. the lake level is high right now, making crossing the creek at each end difficult. very crowded labor day weekend 2018

17 days ago

This hike was absolutely amazing. The reviews were a little daunting so I almost did not do this by myself, but I had no problems whatsoever. I'm in pretty good shape and did not find this difficult at all. BUT, that's completely relative to an individual's fitness. I would recommend getting there early (9am) because I had the whole waterfall/spring to myself for a few hours. Once it hit 12:30p.m. the crowd started showing up. I drank about 3L of water, but I stayed hydrated and ate well all week before coming. It's not just about the water you drink during the hike, it's also the prep the week before. Just be smart, come prepared, and enjoy yourself! This is definitely worth the 4-mile in and out.

Watson Lake offers lots to see and the terrain is very unique. We went in June and it can be warm with very few places to get in the shade. We started out early, like 7:30am so the sun ended up not being an issue, but I was glad to be finishing up around 11. As an FYI we had planned to hike and then kayak, but the rentals are open Fri-Sun, so we were a day early. It all worked out as we did not need to get more sun after the 2.5 hour hike, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise. As noted the trail is beautiful and unique for AZ, but the route finding can be very difficult. We lost the trail several times, but knew that it followed the lake so when we lost the dots on the rocks we kept close to the shore. Also be careful in the mud flat area on the south end. We tried to take a short cut and cross the cracked dirt where it appeared the lake had receded. It might look dry but it is wet and gushy underneath, I sunk a few feet and boots and shins were covered in a sticky slick mud. Thankfully a bathroom was near to rinse out my boats. Entire loop took us about 2.5 hours, but we were probably bush wacking 1/3 of the way. Think this would be a much better fall hike due to the exposure and it does have some difficult parts so might be too much for beginners.

Amazing views defiantly must go trolly was down so it was 8 miles instead of 4 but was well worth the trip we went during dry season and the water was 10 feet at one point I’m 12 and did this so it wasn’t to deficult

Beautiful views! You can feel the mileage, but it isn't miserable- pleasant burn. Food and water a must.

My husband (55) and I (39) hiked the loop yesterday morning. We parked in the upper parking lot right by the dells and started our hike to the left. We planned ahead and agreed to do the more difficult portion in the beginning. The white dots are very hard to follow at times and I was glad that we had our gps, which I highly recommend! Make sure to stop at the “waterfall” for some tranquil pictures. After you get out of the dells the hike becomes a lot easier and you can’t loose the path anymore. There are many amazing photo opportunities around every corner and believe me we took some great pictures. We finished the 5.3 mile loop in 2h 29m. Please remember to bring water and have $3.- cash ready when entering the parking lot. Also make sure to wear good shoes! Some areas are very slippery. Overall I would absolutely recommend this hike to anyone that is in good physical shape.

19 days ago

Extremely beautiful destination. Trail is very rocky, slippery, and steep in many places, but it’s all worth it!

Awesome hike! Top pools had nice water, waterfall was running but not vigorous. My GPS was 8.56 from parking out and back, FYI.

Great for us healthy seniors who like to keep the heart active.

on See Canyon Trail #184

23 days ago

Beautiful hike! Don’t expect anything at the top. It’s not one of those hikes. It just leads to a road at the very top. But the whole trail itself is beautiful! Plush grass, big trees, rivers and running water! Towards the top it gets a little steep. Take good shoes because there are a lot of loose rocks. But it’s a must see if you’re in payson! The trail is easy to find and the parking area is good!

25 days ago

As mentioned in other reviews, this trail is not 6.1 miles, its more like 8 miles round trip.
The trail should be rated hard in my opinion.
A lot of shade and tree cover throughout the hike.
You will have a couple of creeks crossings
Great trail

TAKE NOTE: Easy in, strenuous out! The waterfall and pools at the end of the trail are absolutely breathtaking and perfect for swimming! Save your water for the hike out, it is long and ALL uphill, with loose rocks for the majority of the path. When you get to the sign at the bottom that says Spring left and Dam right, go right! Much shorter trek to waterfall. Like many others have forewarned bring LOTS of water and bring sunscreen/sunglasses/hat— the trail is mostly in direct sunlight. 200 people are rescued on this trail every year, so be smart and wear appropriate hiking footwear. I wore my bathing suit underneath my clothes and brought water shoes for the falls. A ranger is also at the trailhead to check permits, so make sure you get one ahead of time online!

Awesome! Easy and beautiful views. Would go back for sure! Lots of creatures to see and find which my 3 year old loved! Water was chilly but my family loved it

Beautiful hike. Bring lots of water, a lunch and some energy chews. Definitely feels like 8 miles but well worth it when you get the the pools of water and the waterfalls! Bring a swim suit. And some sun screen ❤️ you will love it


love this trail. It's a nice area to step back into nature!

Amazing bike and hiking went out with my father and it was amazing love this and I will do this soon

Hike was far more difficult than anticipated. we should have stayed on the peavine trail for the majority of the trail, but unfortunately most of our hike was through the rugged rocky portion of the trail. it was far too hot and difficult for the hikers in our group. Got to be treacherous as we got overheated, worn out and low on water. Thankfully we all made it out, but took over 4 hours, was over 5 miles an we were pretty worn out. Be sure you know where you are on the trail... stay on peavine if your fitness level isn't up for this level of challenge.

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