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Horton Creek Trail

MODERATE 468 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

trail running

walking

bird watching

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.

hiking
4 days 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
10 days ago

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

hiking
bugs
rocky
14 days ago

hiking
16 days 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
16 days ago

awesome Trail, I will be back

hiking
17 days 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
23 days ago

Great Hike, Friendly People and Cool water!

hiking
23 days 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
29 days 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
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

The trail to the springs was a lovely gradual incline with a lot of spots along the way to look at some of the falls. I would recommend skipping the last 1.5 miles up to the rim road. The “trail” wasn’t well marked, very steep and difficult to navigate. It had some pretty good views but not worth the struggle to get back down.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a stunning and serene place ...what a hike!! Fell in love with it ...this is my first hike/trail in AZ with tall trees, greenery and water flowing... A must visit for all the people in Phoenix(who are bored of cactus and desert) to avoid the heat and expose themselves to some forest sort of experience. A very good camping place also. Just loved it!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, recommend getting there early as it can be a busy trail. I started at 8:15 and finished at 11:15. Took my time and enjoyed the sights on the way. Nice and peaceful that time of morning. On the way down ran into lots of folks heading up. Had a chance to enjoy the sounds of the spring and nature alone. Beautiful hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful area. Headed up the other day to escape the heat advisory in Phoenix, and it was wonderful to be in relatively cool (mid-80s) air and among actual tall trees.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is stunning! Very well maintained and easy to follow. The parking lot is just across the bridge from the trailhead. Pretty much the whole hike you can see or hear the creek, and you are walking in the shade a good amount of the time. It’s a gradual uphill with a gorgeous ending at the spring- make sure you go check it out! Definitely my new favorite trail

hiking
2 months ago

The drive from Phoenix is beautiful and the parking is free. You may have to walk a little bit if you don't get to the trail head early enough. This is a great way to escape the summer heat for the day. There are plenty of places to turn off the main trail to see the creek to the right. I didn't realize that the trail continued after the spring up the rim and I wish I had hiked to the top. The spring was a little underwhelming in my opinion, but the hike itself was lovely. Lots of people on this trail and lots of cows grazing off to the side (watch out for cow pies).

2 months ago

The section to Horton spring is lovely; nice wide tail, easy footing. However, the section continuing to the rim is very steep and poorly marked, very difficult with a pack on. There is no water on the rim, and if you choose another way down than the way you came, be prepared for dry camping...I recommend hauling at least 3 liters out of Horton spring

2 months ago

This was an enjoyable hike. The trail isn't very steep so it's good for all ages and the spring was a great prize at the end of the trail. The flies were a little thick though so I may suggest some sort of bug spray applied before the hike. The parking for the trailhead is across the road, it wasn't well marked but obvious after the fact. Enjoy!

2 months ago

I went there with my 4 children and dog and we absolutely loved it. We didn't hike the entire trail, but took our time and stopped to play in the creek several times. Beautifully shaded and lots of wildflowers!

3 months ago

wonderful trail. When we went, it was hailing and snowing. Trail was super muddy afterwards but easy enough to navigate around the biggest mud puddles.

hiking
3 months ago

We did the Derrick trail to high line to Horton Creek. Beautiful trail. Mostly moderate with a few harder sections. The views are lovely, you are in pines and forest the entire way. The Derrick Trail have very little traffic but the HortonCreek Trail was much busier. The water fall and trail along the creek were beautiful and scenic.

hiking
3 months ago

Closed to camping until the end of August. Hiked it Fri-Sat. We camped. But had to go west out of the restricted area to camp. It was nice weather. Heavy foot traffic on Saturday.

hiking
3 months ago

If you go from the Horton creek trailhead and continue past the spring, you will go through a wilderness boundary and the hike goes from easy to moderate/difficult. It’s very steep to get up to the Ridgeline, but the views were gorgeous up there. This actual trail ends at the road (FR 300) but that hike is 12 miles not 8.5!!! It even says 6 miles on way on the sign at the TH, so if you only want an 8ish mile hike, turn around at Horton Spring. Started raining and hailing on us and the trail becomes very muddy and slippery quickly. Beautiful waterfalls all along the way.

hiking
3 months ago

Colleen and I met up with Lori (after getting lost) and did this beautiful green hike. Perfect weather with babbling brook in the back round! Ran into some BIG cows in both directions.

3 months ago

Was a really beautiful hike. The walk was uphill and took about 2 hours. Nice waterfall at the end. Highly recommended!!!

hiking
over grown
rocky
3 months ago

5-5-19. Beautiful Hike of amazing Pines and Birch Trees with the lush foliage and many waterfalls along the creek. Trail was well maintained to the last waterfall then gps was needed and the cairns were appreciated, thank you! Made it to the end of the trail (rim road) which was a challenging last mile ascent...high elevation had our ears popping and heart beats racing! Beautiful Hike in Payson!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Saw some people horse back riding. There are some gates, leave em how you found them. Dispersed camping off trail is allowed.

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