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Highline National Recreation Trail

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Tonto National Forest

Highline National Recreation Trail is a 46.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Pine, Arizona that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 46.1 miles Elevation Gain: 8,900 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash




mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching




wild flowers

29 days ago

me and a couple of friends ran this and some more. 62 in all. all in one helping. 16 hours and 20 minutes. since the zane grey 100k was canceled. not sure why it has been taking some of you 3 or 4 days? to each their own. fun trail. tons of elevation. great views. super rocky. to quote a friend, "like a meat grinder for the feet." keep up.

horseback riding
1 month ago

NOT 46 miles; definitely 60 miles. Lots of running water which was nice (not enough to swim in enough to water horses or fill up a camelback).

horseback riding
over grown
washed out
1 month ago

Just finished doing this trail on horseback from 260 trailhead to Pine trailhead. Did 30.1 miles one day and 29.6 the next, total of 60 miles. So it is definitely longer than it says. There are many running creeks and springs-some with more water than others, AMAZING scenery of all kind from high desert, red rocks, to pine trees. Definitely recommend doing. There are sections that have been washed out and trail may be hard to follow but over all it was such a great experience.

no shade
off trail
over grown
private property
7 months ago

Very difficult trail with a ton of rocks and it's easy to get lost west of Tonto Creek in the Dude Fire burn area. The map on this app is off by about 7 miles. The mileage is closer to 55.

This is day 2 from previous post. (If anyone knows how to combine tracks, please let me know)

Non-stop scenery and no people. Great place to get away from it all. Occasional signal if things go bad. Great water sources and then many that are almost always bone dry. Take note of the burned out areas; it matters. The trail is nearly impossible to locate. First time for me, AllTrails is significantly off in mileage and in the southwest, that can be deadly, real fast. Use extreme caution when reading AllTrail’s mileage. My journey was a full 7 miles longer...that can be a full day’s hike for some. But, still love AllTrails and wouldn’t hike without it!

9 months ago

Gorgeous views and nice, steady incline. Was very muddy with a slight drizzle but was totally worth it! I started at FR 284. Love this hike and can't wait to return.

Sun May 05 2019

Rugged and challenging trail with stunning views and many shallow water crossings. Completed the entire thing via 14 different day hikes (all recordings are saved here if curious). Had to hike Forestry Road 144, Derrick Trail #33, Horton Creek Trail #285 and Red Rock Spring Trail to get at certain sections. Actual mileage is consistently longer than what’s listed on the AllTrails app, most likely due to the recent rerouting by Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona (great job btw). If my addition and subtraction is correct, I have the whole Highline as 57.2 miles. For those seeking Waldeinsamkeit, this is a trail for you. Many days I didn’t see anyone else out there.

Tue Apr 09 2019

the section from the fish hatchery to horton creek was maintained in many parts, grassy in others. easy to follow. water at the creek midway, then the falls at the spring for a reward. run it through a filter for a delicious cold treat. trail gets busier on the horton creek end, didn't see anyone on the hatchery side.

Thu Apr 04 2019

Great trail, completing it all! 2 sections left. Great views, water crossings, and challenging! To do it in managable sections for day hikes we had to have 4-wheel drive or hike forest roads to get to the trail several times. Longest day hike was 15 miles but it included Derrick Trail. Hard to follow in a few places but were able to see when back on trail with app & had GPS. We covered more mileage than listed in each section, sometimes several miles more, most likely due to rerouting! Do it!

Mon Apr 01 2019

Beautiful trail to train for the grand canyon! loved it!

Sun Nov 11 2018

Arizona has some of the most beautiful and diverse trails in the Nation. Highline trail is no exception. This was an amazing trail; probably the most beautiful and most difficult trail I've ever done. Some friends and I hiked from PineTH to the Fish Hatchery (about 36 miles in 3 days). This was not an easy hike. My friends and I are in moderate shape and this trail ended up kicking our butts. We averaged about 12 miles per day going at about 2-3mph. The trail goes along the ridges of the Mogollon rim so there are a lot of steep hikes up and down those ridges. Altogether I believe you'll do almost 9,000 feet of elevation gain. We were pretty exhausted by the end of the trip. As you go along the trail you see the topography change dramatically from forest to desert to prairies and back and forth. You'll also run into some areas that were hit by forest fires and it feels really eerie. There are quite a few clean water streams along the trail. I would highly recommend brining a water filter. (They sell water bottles that filter water). There are also tons of places to camp along the way, as well as plenty of places to rest. I would highly recommend bringing a GPS because there are parts where the trail is hard to find. Most of the trail we did have cell phone service and we ended up using the GPS on our phones when we got lost. (Google maps has the trail) We saw some deer, elk, wildcat and bear tracks along the way so make sure you bring some sort of protection from harmful wildlife (pepper spray). If you do this hike, make sure you are prepared for a tough hike. I would say you should plan for it to take 4-5 days if you do the whole trail. Only do this trail if you are in good physical shape because doing a hike this long you will need food for 4-5 days and all your gear which will end up being pretty heavy. My backpack weighed about 70LB and was not easy to carry 36 miles up and down those ridges. You also don't have to do the whole 50 mile hike because there are numerous campsites along the way where you can park a 2nd car to take you back to your 1st car. 10/10 would recommend to anyone up for this beast of a trail.

Fri Nov 02 2018

This is an beautiful and rugged trail. I did the whole trail from east to west in 3.5 days, and my GPS trace came out to 57.29 mi (according to Strava) --- which is substantially more than advertised. (Several reroutes increased the length, and the GPS trace above misses a lot of fine detail.) I packed light and am an experienced backpacker, and I found the trail challenging. The scenery and wildlife was beautiful. I got within spitting distance of a huge bull elk and saw several more from a distance. When I hiked (early November), water was plentiful and people were rare (both plusses for me). The western part of the trail, from the Pine to Washington Park trailheads, is concurrent with the Arizona Trail. This section is well maintained, but the eastern part is less well maintained (altho it was significantly improved by the hardworking Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona). In some places, the trail has been significantly rerouted, and many maps (including alltrails!) have not been updated with the new route. The trail can be overgrown (it gets little foot traffic in places) and hard to follow in places (especially when the trail is flat and tall grass grows), so it can take real skill to stay found. Many sources talk about how the trail between the Washington Park and Hatchery trail heads was burned by the Dude fire in 1990, but parts of the same stretch of trail where also burned by the Rim fire (2009) and (aptly named) Highline fire in 2017. For the Highline (and possibly Rim) fires, the trail was actually used as a fire break. So as you hike along, the land to the north of the trail is charred but the land to the south of the trail is untouched by fire (mostly --- it looks like the fire jumped the trail in a few places). The effect is striking, but the downside is that the trail was hastily widened to about 15’ to make the firebreak, and the result is ugly (all shrubs and trees were cut off at the base with chainsaws) and seems to have caused extra erosion. However, the trail easy to follow when widended. Still, I think the section between Washington Park and Hatchery trail heads was the most challenging.

Sun Oct 07 2018

Wed May 16 2018

East out of Pine TH along Highline Trail. Turned up the Donahue Trail - that was a tough climb. Some of Donahue were hard to see due to overgrowth.

Fri May 04 2018

260TH to Pine TH. In other words, the whole thing, which following the updated trail and reroute, was 54.5 miles according to my GPS. Takes 3-5 days depending on your ability and weather cooperation. Although there were many, many dry creek crossings along the length of the hike, water was still pretty reliable for most of it (first week of May 2018) although you'd be smart to carry a couple liters at all times. Saw almost no one in my 4 days... one other solo chick hiker (good for you girl) and a group doing the AZT. Weather sucked day 3 with rain, snow, hail and everything in between. Saw deer and scads of elk and one small black bear and some of my favorite birds. Anyhow, I'm done with getting my butt kicked by this trail for now, maybe again come fall! Hiked with my little dog, beware the paws on all that abrasive rock. Mine wore boots for about half of each day's hike but we were both pretty gimpy at the end. Otherwise very dog friendly if your dog is in shape for it.

Tue Apr 17 2018

Here to work on my section of the AZT the best section on the whole 800 miles⛰

Sat Mar 17 2018

I did the whole thing starting at 260 TH to Pine in about 3 and a half days. The trail was beautiful with many opportunities for water and camping. Certain parts are very poorly marked. It seemed like I'd have to search for the trail again everytime I crossed a wash. Luckily it had just rained and I was able to follow other's footprints.

Sun Feb 11 2018

Hiked this trail from Pine TH to Geronimo TH around 8 miles one-way and turned around. I’m not a huge fan of walking the same trail in and out, but I did not have the time or gear to go the full 51 miles.

Tue Oct 24 2017

Did 7 miles from Horton to Derrick. Spectacular Fall colors. Love this one!

Sun Sep 24 2017

Made a loop along the Derrick 2.1 trail to the Highline 2.6 to Horton Springs and back down the Horton Creek 3.3 trail to car. Easy hike and beautiful places to camp. Avoid the Springs on the weekends if you can it gets crowded.

Sun Jul 10 2016

I did the ranch loop, which includes part of the Highline trail that circles up and over the plateau near the Pine trailhead. It was a magnificent view. Only complaint is that some of the trail markers at the top of the plateau were vandalized/missing. Crummy people.

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