Horton Creek Trail

MODERATE 429 reviews
#43 of 119 trails in

Horton Creek Trail is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Payson, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. 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
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,431 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

Directions from Payson: Travel east on Hwy. 260 to Forest Road 289. The trail starts in the Upper Tonto Creek Campground. The trailhead is not easy to find from the parking lot if you don't know where to look-- it's actually on the opposite side of the dirt road and up the hill a ways past the campground.

backpacking
3 days 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
8 days 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!

hiking
8 days ago

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!

hiking
9 days 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.

backpacking
11 days 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)

16 days ago

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
16 days ago

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.

hiking
22 days 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.

27 days ago

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!!

hiking
28 days ago

This was a beautiful hike but not as easy as most reviews led me to believe. It was not an overly challenging hike, but it was not flat and wide after mile two. It was a steady uphill with very narrow areas and the trail is pretty rocky. My children all made it up and back fine, but their tired legs caused them to stumble quite a bit on the way down as the trail is very rocky. The falls were nice and the creek was nice too. Would go back for an easy backpacking trip.

29 days ago

Okay, so the reviews on here are where people are claiming the trail is easy and follows the spring do NOT correlate with the trail GPS map on AllTrails. All these nimrods are saying “oh I stopped at the spring” okay well that’s not what this trail goes to on AllTrails. The spring is easy to get to. But that’s not where the GPS ends. It takes you ALL the way up the rim, I’m talking steep inclines, no marked trail, climbing over 1,000 feet in under a mile. I wouldn’t let a kid under 13 do that part of the hike. It goes all the way up to rim road. And that’s where it ends. An anticlimactic, ugly road. Would I ever go past the springs again? Hell no- but the reviews are VERY misleading. Also kind of annoying people rating the “trail” as easy when they didn’t even complete it. That would be like taking the helicopter in and out of Havasupai and then calling the hike easy. Yeah, it’s easy if you only go a third of the way.

So, yeah the creek is pretty, but don’t follow the AllTrails guidance and if you do, don’t go past the spring unless you’re ready for a Flatiron-Esque climb. And ignore all these numnuts saying it’s easy- I hike every weekend, have hiked Humphrey’s, Flatiron, Havasupai, Grand Canyon Rim and I’m telling you the AllTrails GPS marked hike takes you up the damn rim. This is misleading and mis-rated. I’m all for a rough and tough hike but the misleading ranking of difficulty and reviews is annoying and borderline negligent.

1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful trail. So much green, so close to Phoenix, and about 20° cooler. The creek is gorgeous and refreshing. The trail runs right next to the creek most of the way. The trail is very easy, very wide, and mostly flat except for a few uphills as you get further in. The waterfall is small but pretty and a good place to relax. Past the waterfall is a more challenging trail that climbs right up the mountain to Promontory Butte, which offers an amazing scenic lookout. I've been to Horton Creek 3 times and enjoyed each time.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, not sure why this is rated as moderate. Once you get to the waterfall the real hike begins in one mile you will climb 1400+ feet up the face of the rim. The trail is pretty much non existent I had to follow stacks of rocks and build my own in some spots, as my phone had died and I was on my own. All trails, say this is a 4 mile 1900 ft elevation gain when I got to waterfall i was like there is now way I hiked 1900 ft. I pulled up all trails and seen I still had 1 mile to go. I did not want to miss out on anything and pressed on. Take lots of water and food as that last mile is ruff. If all you want to do is hike to the waterfall then I would say this hike is easy.

hiking
1 month ago

Perfect for someone from the Phoenix area because you'll get your fix of wildflowers and a woodland paradise, including waterfalls. It's a charming hike, and good for summer because it's shaded and has the cool water of the creek nearby.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved it, next time I’m starting earlier than 9 am though!

1 month ago

great place to be naked!!

hiking
1 month ago

Was an amazingly beautiful hike! Lots of small waterfalls along the creek! Also lots of bugs and mosquitos! Take some repellent with you. Weather was amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 7/29/18 with a friend and two dogs. Forgot how beautiful and lovely this trail is. Not too difficult, lots of water spots to stop at. Water is low right now but still worth it. Started early am Sunday, saw a couple people hiking out, and tons of people coming back, was getting pretty busy. Drive all the way until you cross the small bridge, park immediately in the lot to your left, cross back over the bridge on foot and up the little dirt road hill to start the trail.

1 month ago

Such a great trail! Easy little hike/trail, constant river close to trail at all times. Great for dogs and kids too!! There is a bathroom next to the parking spots as well. Lots of little spots to just hang out by the river the whole way up. Make sure to bring water and keep in mind the temperature of the ground if you have a dog (even at 85 degrees the dirt and sand gets up to 100-105 degrees, which is waaay too hot for any pup)

hiking
1 month ago

Note - this IS NOT closed. Very easy trail, not even moderate. Beautiful with water all along and a great water spot at the end. It is best for a quick simple 4 mile in and 4 mile back out or better yet as the last leg in the 10 mile Derrick - Highline - Horton loop. to read about that, check out the reviews under Derrick Trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hiking trail today!

3 months ago

attempted to hike this one on 6/2/2018. closed due to extreme fire restrictions.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice hike!!!Turn right out of the parking lot cross the bridge to the dirt road on the left go up the hill and the trail is on the left,right across from the small campground!Great walk dog loved it!!

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. An easy hike, the weather was beautiful, and the creak was running.

4 months ago

Love this trail!!! It was nice and cool all day

hiking
4 months ago

Nice day hike

4 months ago

water was cascading through

hiking
4 months ago

Outstanding love this hike

backpacking
4 months ago

Great peaceful hike. Camped overnight... Just beautiful nature.

4 months ago

4 Miles in and 4 miles out. The Creek was very pretty. Worth the drive!

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