Explore the most popular dog friendly trails in Tonto National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

My kids loved it. Out for a picnic and hike turned out perfect. Water is cold but worth it after the heat.

8.17.18 Payson trails are now open. Did this trail, I dont think I did the same route as other people because I didnt see very much running water, mostly stagnate. I might try it again after a few more days of rain.

Awesome experience. Challenging in so many ways, and the views from the summits are worth it.

So this hike I’ve been on several times growing up and definitely a hike to go on in the late winter or spring to see the waterfalls. Which in the past have seen up to three climaxing with the third in the canyon. I enjoy the difficulty especially because it keeps it relatively quiet of lazy hikers and people who leave trash behind. They seem to avoid harder trails which is great for the rest of us. Beautiful views and water keeps me coming back every year!

Fun and tough towards the top. Was worth the drive out.

off road driving
11 days ago

Well, it's not a groomed dirt road anymore, the summer monsoons have washed the switchbacks and quite a few of the washes out. We went with a group of 4X4 Toyotas and had a blast. Just the right amount of technical with awesome views. The switchbacks put the rigs under some stress as the temps were 105+ but we knew that was a possibility going into it. Lots of cool places to stop and enjoy the scenery, landscape changes galore as you go from low desert to pine. Overall an enjoyable drive and one that would be even better at lower temps. Also, a few places looked like they would be pretty great campsites, not too far from the trail but traffic didn't seem that heavy.

Beautiful views. Some up and down, but not extremely strenuous. I only made it about a quarter of the loop- the sun was too hot to do the whole loop.

An incredible hike for sure!
So much to see on your way up the Needle with plant of shady spots to take a mini break before continuing.
No Permit needed to go exploringout here, unless you're trying to squeeze in The Wave Cave, which you actually pass by on your way to The Peralta Trailhead.
Anyhow, bring some good sturdy shoes as the terrain can get quite rugged as you gain elevation.
The amazing needle view from Fremont Saddle is quite a reward after all that hiking!

As a senior, this trail was difficult because it was narrow in many places, rocky and not much shade. However the views are worth it especially when you reach the saddle and continue out to the overview of Weavers Needle. A bonus, the way back is mostly downhill. I have completed this trek about 5 times and now at 79, it's out of the question due to the lack of shade!!!

hiking
28 days ago

This is probably a nice hike in the spring, but in mid July it was hot, brown and dry. I enjoyed the 4-mile dirt road with cattle and huge jackrabbits. Approximately 1/3rd of the hike is rocky/gravely. I encountered 2 rattlesnakes on the trail. The “waterfall” at 2.5 miles still offered small pools of water (possibly from the monsoon storm the previous day) and barely a trickle down the rock formation, which is quite scenic. Follow the creek bed upward and off the trail, just around the corner, for some really scenic, shady respite. Back on the trail after this highlight is fairly flat and monotonous. I turned around at 3.9 miles because of the heat and unchanging, flat terrain. Elevation gain was 3670 ft. My hike started at 7:40 am after an easy 90 min drive from Phoenix and took 4 hrs 15 min including a couple short breaks. I drank 3 of the 4 liters I brought. Sunscreen is a must. Wish I had had some bug spray, too. Only saw 2 other hikers. The only thing “difficult” about the hike was the elements (heat, humidity, rattlesnakes). The incline and path is moderate at best. I was surprised that the temp was about 10 degrees hotter than that in Payson.

Amazing views throughout, but a bit of an anti-climatic view at the end unless you decide to continue on the Mazatzal trail. Saw 2 bobcats, a tarantula, and several hummingbirds. Also note: this trail is not 10.2 miles like it says. We clocked 13 miles round trip. So if you do this, plan for a longer trip. First 3.3 miles were most difficult, but then it levels out. I would rate the first half of the trip as hard but the second half after the waterfall as moderate. The waterfall was dried up when we got there. Gravely at some points where you want to be careful with your footing. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail. I recommend starting early in the day before it gets too hot.

trail running
1 month ago

This was a fun trail. A little daunting driving past the cattle (including bulls) and human-sized jackrabbits on the 4 mile dirt road on the way in, but fewer animals on the actual trail. We drove a sport sedan, so you don’t need an SUV. The beginning of the trail was a little rocky, but it cleared out and you could get a nice pace. The switchbacks have shade cover if you get an early enough start. We started 8 am. 2L water was sufficient for just over 11 miles. The backside was even nicer for running, but after 5.6 miles out I never saw the intersection with the AZ Trail. I assumed I would since this is marked as an Out and Back, but I may have misunderstood. No water on the waterfalls in Late June.

paddle sports
1 month ago

So much fun! Great for any skill level too. Renting a kayak is the easiest option— a bus will pick you up at your desired location and take you back to your car. Take a friend!

Done this 2x now as a backpacking practice run for the Grand Canyon.

Honestly, if you’re not backpacking and not doing it in the heat of the day - I’d imagine it would be pretty easy.

The river/rock crossings are kinda cool the first time you do them - but they get pretty old.

Essentially no sun protection.
Very little/super sketchy water holes.

But only a very few inclines.
You can go hours and hours without seeing anyone here.

A good practice run for folks who are trying to get their distances up. But, nothing to write home about.

fun trail, park off road and go past gate and have fun, if you hike far enough there is a spring, they added a parking lot may 23 2018 not open yet but looks like it we be for ohv use to ride around they have been fixing forest signs and all that, one of my favorite places to hunt and to just hike around

hiking
2 months ago

Wide, well-marked lasso trail. Never saw another person on the entire trail on a weekday, early afternoon hike. Lots of up and down but no scrambling.

hiking
2 months ago

Spectacular hike!
Started at 0630 with perfect weather on a day with high forecasts of 82F for Payson and 98F for Phoenix.
Fairly steep uphill for the first 3 miles, but the trail is quite good. Do not turn around at the waterfall at 3.3 miles as the next half mile or so is the most scenic of the whole hike. The rest of the hike is mostly flat and generally relaxing.
Amazing views, nice and green and plenty of flowers and wildlife even after a dry winter.
I clocked 12.7 miles for the round trip and it took me exactly 5 hours.
I will definitely be back!

hiking
3 months ago

Very nice hike, last quarter of the hike gets a little rougher otherwise a really nice hike to enjoy. I got on late start and it started heating up but I still enjoyed it. Dont forget your water.

Hiked up to Fremont Saddle with my wife to get the awesome view of Weavers Needle. Started out about 7:30 am to beat the heat and other hikers. Had the whole view up at the top to ourselves for about a half hr. Made our way back down about 9:30 and met the flood of other hikers making their way up. Very nice moderate hike. Path is wide open and easy to maneuver.

Solid hike. Fun way up, but trail was difficult to follow. But whatever, since there was really just one way up. Views at time were fantastic though. Could see Weaver's Needle, Flatiron, and Browns peak from the top.

Coming down was very dangerous. Lots of loose rock and trail meanders.

I prefer Flatiron to this one for sure!

Beautiful day spent in solitude. Went counterclockwise starting at 11am, and ran into 3 people coming the other way. Finished around 530. Stopped halfway for a 30 minute break.

Loved the changing scenery on this hike. Went from rolling hills, to a dry riverbed, up and over the trail to Peralta.

Hiked in late April, and thought I could get away with 2.5 to 3L of water. Ran out about 2 hours before the end of the trail, making it a real adventure! I would bring 4L for this hike in the future. That first taste of cold water from the gas station was refreshing to say the least.

Would absolutely come back to this location and try it clockwise next time.

Lovely trail, wasn't clearly marked, I was looking for the loop which you have to cross the wash, I ended up hiking up the small mountain. Nice views.

As mentioned below, I recommend taking the trail Clockwise starting on the Peralta side. (Trail 102 to 104 to 234 to 235) If you start early enough, you will have a great view of Weaver’s Needle at sunrise. The trail is pretty well defined and you will notice when you start getting of course and I just always looked for footprints to help me find my way. There’s quite a bit of loose rocks along the 234/235 trail which is another reason why I would recommend going clockwise because I would not want to be going down hill on that part of the trail. The rest of the trail however is dirt path and easy to hike. Like everyone else has said, bring lots of water and snacks! It is the desert and this hike is long- took me about 5 and half hours or so with minimal stops and keeping pace. It’s an awesome challenging trail though and highly recommend!

Outstanding...& hard. Left very late: 1600, which means I had to really hustle. Did lose my way a time or 2, both on the ascent & descent. Spent only 10 to 15mins on summit...

We hiked down from Strawberry. The views are amazing!!

My boyfriend and I were very excited for this hike! Thankfully someone had marked the trail with chalk and set up many carnies to help us out. If you don’t see one in like 10-20 steps, turn around cause you’re likely going the wrong way. He really enjoyed searching for them. The view was so pretty and the mailbox was very adorable. The only downside was really coming down. No joke about loose gravel! It’s almost half of the trail going down. Be VERY prepared with water, for this was our biggest downfall going down. Thankfully we made it and bonded more over that. Overall the hike took 6 hours round trip, which would have taken longer if not the markings, so plan for spending a day here with lots of water. Not much shade so enjoy it while you find it!

hiking
4 months ago

Right now creek is pretty dry. Minimal flowers blooming due to a dry winter. I like this trail because of the low traffic. I went in only 5 miles and turned around due to time.

Beautiful view, low-traffic and peaceful -- at least the parts over the first saddle (when run clockwise). The track is a bit difficult to follow, and quite challenging to run due to the loose gravel and steep grades. On the far side of the saddle, it feels a lot more remote and cell reception drops out in places. The "trail" out there is more like a combination of wildlife trail and drainage. You have to rely quite a bit on the presence of cairns to make the correct turns, including finding the branch for this trail from the Pass Mountain trail if you do it counterclockwise.

Be aware that you climb TWO saddles when completing this loop.

It was aight. The view was pretty but there’s so much lose rock which made it so annoying. The trail is also hard to follow there’s arrows and stacked rocks just make sure you’re paying attention! Be careful take your time especially going down

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