Explore the most popular camping 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.

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.

We went 5 miles up this trail in July with temperatures well over 100 degrees and almost no shade anywhere. This is not a good time of the year to hike this trail, and could be life-threatening. I drank over 4 liters of water in the 10 mile hike. Regardless, after going enough distance, the views were good and it was quite a work-out.

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
5 days 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.

The only reason I am giving 2 stars instead of 1 star is that it is a somewhat challenging hike. You are pretty much uphill from the beginning of “trail” to the top. Other than that, it was not someplace I would ever go back to. I wasn’t aware that I would have to deal with motorcycles every 20 minutes or so and the “trail” intersects FR 626 which people drive their cars on. So yes in addition to endless motorcycles, you also get to deal with cars and trucks driving by you. I don’t recommend this trail to anyone looking for any type of solitude or experience with nature. In my opinion I don’t think this should be listed as a hiking trail at all. It isn’t a hiking trail.

hiking
11 days 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.

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

on Horton Creek Trail

17 days ago

great place to be naked!!

hiking
19 days 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
21 days 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.

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)

off road driving
27 days ago

Traveled over this trail yesterday and it was more of a challenge than I expected! Beautiful scenery as stated in other reviews but I did spend a lot of time in low range on my 4x4. Pretty rough conditions in some areas I’m guessing due to the recent heavy rains, trail showed severe signs of wash-out creating fairly deep channels in the trail. I enjoyed the trail a great deal but am wondering if continued erosion from weather might make some areas impassable?

hiking
28 days 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
1 month ago

Awesome hiking trail today!

surfing
2 months 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.

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
2 months 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.

hiking
2 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!!

3 months 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
3 months ago

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

off road driving
3 months ago

Awesome trail! As stated in other reviews the first 9 miles is very easy and laid back. You can take just about anything down the first part. HOWEVER, if you choose to continue onto FR 209 which is right at the Y intersection make sure you have 4wd, decent clearance, and heavy duty tires. We took our Rubicon w.2.5 inch lift & Kevlar tires and had a blast! 209 is a jeep trail though for sure! If ya have a Chevy captiva, traverse etc don't attempt it.

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

backpacking
3 months ago

Phenomenal. I haven't backpacked in a while. My legs were definitely feeling the climb out! Every step of this hike is beautiful. From the pines at the top to the stunning desert to the riparian area at the bottom. There was definitely no water along the way. I brought a gallon in with me and back out. I didn't drink it all, but any less would have been foolish. It was very warm, in the 80s. I will be back to do it again!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice day hike

water was cascading through

hiking
3 months ago

Outstanding love this hike

backpacking
3 months ago

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

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

hiking
3 months ago

fantastic hike. Fantastic weather. Water was fresh and clean. Do it again in a heartbeat.

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