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Horton Creek Trail

MODERATE 633 reviews
#2 of 125 trails in

Horton Creek Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily 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

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Payson: Travel east on Hwy. 260 to Forest Road 289. The trail starts in the Upper Tonto Creek Campground.

backpacking
7 days ago

The trail is roughly 4 miles one way and ends at the Horton Spring. The spring is a beautiful area where clear water rushes from the rocks. Several campsites are available near the spring and along the trail. The trail is a moderate hike but water is available most of the way. Dogs are allowed but should be leashed. Parking is challenging as the lot is very small. A pit toilet is available at the trailhead. Car camping is also available at the trailhead with reservation at the camp ground.

hiking
21 days ago

This trail was so fun! Really really busy during holidays as can be expected. Great camping area before the trailhead. The hike overall is perfect for dogs or kids! Easy and well maintained trail that seems endless!! Tons of cool little offshoots to take that run back to the main trail. Lots of shady areas and Horton creek runs right to your right so if you want to cool off or let your dogs or kids play in the shallow water it’s perfect! Lots of awesome spots by the river to hangout or have a snack! Will be doing this again for sure!

hiking
22 days ago

Took my dog out for a hike. Not an active hiker, but nice trails and streams. Lots of cows, which seemed weird. Took me 4 hours to go 8 miles.

hiking
22 days ago

Saturday 9/21/19 We loved this trail. We parked at Upper Tonto Creek Campground and hiked to springs. Sign says 4 miles each way. Only trail markers were at start of trail and when you reach springs, but trail is well defined and very easy to follow. Upward incline all the way to spring, but coming back was a breeze. Trail follows the creek most the way. Only negative we had was theres a few cows in area and they poop on trail so lots of land mines to watch for. lol.would recommend to anyone.

hiking
off trail
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike on a nice trail....until I tried to be a bad ass and go to the rim. There the trail virtually disappears, stacked rocks guided me up and back down, the grass is overgrown and tended to get tangled in my feet, the climb to the top gained in elevation and made me question my life decisions. Would not do the last mile solo again. Overall weather was good, gorgeous day, weekday hike made it less crowded.

hiking
27 days ago

beautiful hike. getting to the top can be confusing and perhaps a bit dangerous. you will find rock piles to help guide you a little. If our three legged dog can make it so can you! My only complaint would be that everyone seems to think its ok to leave dog waste bags on the trail.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

this hike is wonderful. lots of water and greens ( watch for poison ivy). came across a black rattlesnake. scared the crap out of us. we gave him plenty space.

hiking
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

My wife and I hike this trail all the way up to the rim. Up to the last mile, the trail was well marked and a fairly gradual grade. The last mile is very steep, over grown in places, and very difficult to stay on trail since there are many down trees along the path. My wife and I wound up off trail by accident at least a dozen times. We found a great spot near the top of the spring that had plenty of room and a fire pit that will be good when fires are allowed. Saw some cows near the top of the spring. Would have given 5 stars but the last mile was at times dangerous due to the steep climb and poor markings. There is little to be gained by going to the end of the trail, but you do get some good views about 0.5-0.25 mi short of the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Any trail with tall trees and water is a good one for me! Gradual climb pretty much the entirety of the hike, so you definitely feel like you’re working out (which I consider a plus!) We went around 8AM the Sunday before Labor Day, and I was expecting it to be crowded, it wasn’t bad. Most of the hikers we came across seemed to have dogs with them, and we encountered a few mountain bikers. If you ever find yourself in Payson, this is a must hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Good locations for overnight, but check with rangers on restrictions (fire etc.). If you climb up to the top of the rim, pay close attention to the trail as it's not heavily traveled and you can easily miss the trail markers

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike along Horton Creek to the fresh water spring. Started at 7:00am and we were at spring by ourselves. Passed quite a few hikers as we were leaving.

hiking
1 month ago

Went on a Monday in August and saw maybe 6 people the whole day. And a black bear! He stood up on his back legs and we didn't stick around long to admire how beautiful he was. The water is cold and feels amazing on a hot day. We loved the Springs and the cascading falls in a few spots along the river. Wore bug spray and sunscreen.

pretty easy incline, mostly shaded. didnt finish only went 2 miles in this time. will be doing it again though

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent easy summer hike with dogs and or kids, mostly in shade and the water is clean and plentiful, plenty of spots where the pups can get their feet wet and cool off. There are free roaming cattle in this area and also probably some snakes, so keep your dog leashed. Trail head is confusing and you will not have cell service when you get there, so download in advance. Trail head is on the opposite side of the bridge to the parking area (near the entrance to the campground).

hiking
1 month ago

Gradual climb along old road and footpaths. Went about 2 miles to waterfalls where dogs could swim a little. Shaded by pines mist of the time. Ricky in places;sandy in others. Pleasant and enjoyable as far as we went. Some cattle near lower part of path.

hiking
1 month ago

My most favorite trail just Did this today. Got to trailhead by 8 am. Beautiful flowers colD cold water in creek. Did not think it was difficult last mile to spring a little steeper but not much. I can’t wait to do this one again. Wear bug spray

hiking
2 months ago

Lush green trail ! Waterfalls. Perfect for hiking with kids and pets.

hiking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

I loved this trail. Lots of water, hiking alongside the creek most of the trail. If you download the map, and go the full way, be warned the last mile (when it separates from the water), is very steep, hard to navigate even with the map, and must wear leggings. Loose rocks and tons of walking through thorns and brush. Before that. This trail is well shaded and gorgeous! Wasn’t very busy, even on a Sunday.

hiking
2 months ago

awesome Trail, I will be back

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic trail, especially in summer! Lots of tree coverage so you aren’t in direct sun for most of trail. Very dog friendly and lots of places to put your feet / paws in the water. I would recommend starting by 9am, it still gets hot by mid-day. When we started at 8:45am it was 75 degrees- by 11:30 it was 93 degrees which can be hot for dogs... and people.

hiking
2 months ago

Great Hike, Friendly People and Cool water!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful peaceful trail. The water was cold which was nice. Sat under one of the small falls. Nice way to cool down.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Beautiful Hike here on 7-21-19 with GTAH,AZ. The creeks and falls were a plenty pretty much the entire hike. Well maintained trail, a few lizards, lots of butterflies and some cows....3 Elk spotted on the highway into the park. Gorgeous photo opps! Washroom at parking lot, No Fees. Enjoy :)

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! We got to the parking lot by 8a on a Saturday and there were only 3 parking spaces left. Very scenic and shaded by towering pine trees. The heavy winter rains have made the area lush (compared to 2 years ago). The water in the creek is also flowing and ice cold. The Springs were the highlight of the hike. Definitely plan on 3.5-4 hours for a round trip hike from the trail head to Horton Springs.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Busy trail so I would recommend to get there early. The ranger at the trailhead clocked in 89 people before 8:30am on a Saturday morning. Beautiful scenery, the streams were running and many, many small waterfalls and spots to sit and get your feet wet. Great trail for dogs - watch out for cattle grazing around the area. Would definitely recommend.

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