Explore the most popular birding trails near Payson with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Good short trail, open as of 7/14/18, but the water is very brown and muddy from rain. Not much flowing water yet.

This was a nice and easy hike. It would be nice for children because it’s relatively flat and not a lot of climbing. There weren’t any spectacular views but it was still fun.

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.

This trail has very little shade, no river and it was like walking through kitty litter the whole time. It would be great for dirt bikes but that’s it.

trail running
14 days 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.

This trail sucks dont water your time. The sand is the most annoying part of this hike honestly. Not a hike trail.

Payson trails closed due to drought...

Awesome hiking trail today!

Closed today

surfing
1 month ago

Good hike, did in and out in one day. It was somewhat challenging but nothing too strenuous. I’ve now done this as a day hike 5 times, I guess the reason I keep going back is that I rarely see anyone there. I don’t recommend this for anyone who is not physically fit, the sign at the beginning of the trailhead May sound ominous but it’s there for a reason, make sure you pay attention to it. If you don’t possess the physical ability then this isn’t the right trail for you. BTW- I’m not sure where the 16 mile description comes from but this is closer to 20 miles round trip.

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

Do you pay when you get there or do have to purchase a permit online? And 9 dollars per person or vehicle?

Great hike! Most of the trail is easy and easy to find, just follow the stream up. Took my dog and he did great as well! Several options for rock scrambling for more seasoned hiking and stunning views. Hopped in the water..... COLD as expected for May 1st! Will definitely make a return trip! P.S. Day fee of $9.00, bring cash, the PAY box is NOT well marked.

My dog and I set out on an adventure to find some creeks/water in Payson, but when we arrived at the trail we intended to hike, we were told everything north of Payson is closed.

This was a bummer, so I pulled out my AllTrails and stumbled upon this hike. Overall, I was pretty disappointed. This was more of an ATV/Jeep off-road trail than a hiking trail. The terrain is very desert like and I felt as if we were walking through the desert in PHX. We only got about .8 miles in and had to turn around, as the long stretches of un-shaded gravel/rocks were burning my pups' paws. We decided to find the bit of shade there was, and hammocked for a bit.

All in all, it was very hot, dry, and not shaded. There's no water anywhere to be found either, which was a big bummer for us. Pray for these fires to end and for the rain to come!

Forest area closed at Houston Mesa Rd.

Pleasant exercise, beautiful views, clean air. Bring a compass! Did not see any markers - Mile 5? The road back is not paved but very easy to navigate with a sedan.

Tried to go 6/4/18 - Closed as are nearly all trails along 260 due to extreme fire hazard.

a great view when you make it! Some shade. lots of rocks to climb over and slide down on.

Drought. No falls or water

I just got turned around, it’s closed. Most everything North of payson is closed. South of Payson is open.

Will update rating when I get the chance to go.

hiking
1 month ago

Very scenic hike. Not very intense, just very slippery rocks. Great park to hang out for an afternoon with a picnic.

hiking
1 month ago

Decent trail that probably deserves 3.5 stars. Not as nice or scenic as Barnhardt, but a good workout and some decent views especially on the last third.
We got off track in the beginning when we didn’t go through a gate and ended up having to do a bit of bushwhacking.

Great flat trail. Awesome for a short trail run. Not much water in the creek,but still beautiful.

This trail is not within the closure area according to www.FS.USDA.gov. Has anyone been there since the closures went in to effect on the 23rd. Thanks

Trail is closed until further notice (most likely until it rains).

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is great, the views along the hike are excellent and the reward when you get to the end is amazing. It does have some challenging parts but the trail is short enough that as long as you remember it isn't a race it really isn't too bad and then at the end of it you get to go for a nice refreshing swim in the cool deep pools. I can't recommend this trail enough if you are looking for an overnight trip.

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!!

Definitely not easy, as rated. It’s short but you are climbing up and down large rocks. Small waterfall at the end, refreshing water if you bring a swim suit. And yes parking cost $9, so bring exact cash.

1 month ago

We had a great hike. was short and was finished in 1 1/2 hours and we stopped a bunch of times. trail is difficult to find most the time, but what makes that ok is your walking along the river and you can blaze your own way. passed about 8 families along the way and a group fishing in a large area with about 6 fish on their stringer. it's may 20 and temp was good.(80 degrees)

hiking
1 month 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!

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