Explore the most popular dog friendly 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.

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.

trail running
18 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.

Payson trails closed due to drought...

1 month ago

Wide, well-marked lasso trail. Never saw another person on the entire trail on a weekday, early afternoon hike. Lots of up and down but no scrambling.

1 month ago

We loved this hike. trail was tough only because it's up hill, but coming back was a breeze. took the half mile detour to (See Canyon Spring). spring was definitely cool to see with water coming out the side of mountain. the senery was beautiful with lots of shaded areas. it's May 20 weather was great (80 degrees). there's a couple signs along the way with arrows and distance on them. great touch to trail. this was one of our favorites in Payson

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!

2 months ago

Pretty OK hike. First half is more ‘difficult’ than ‘moderate’. I mean, it is 4.2 miles uphill, in parts with a lot of loose shale and dirt, and large rocks, etc. As others have posted, it is NOT 6.1 miles like the description says. By my watch, it was exactly 4.2 miles from parkins lot up to Rim Road 300, so 8.4 round trip. This matches the FS Trailhead sign you can see in my photos, which says Rim Road 300 4 miles. It is not a very scenic hike, lots of blowdown debris, definitely a flash flood area. But, it is very peaceful, quiet, except for the wind, just some lizards and squirrels, and lots of birds chirping. Took me 4 hours, only saw one person, in the last 100 yards, who was just going in to the water to fish.

3 months ago

Right now creek is pretty dry. Minimal flowers blooming due to a dry winter. I like this trail because of the low traffic. I went in only 5 miles and turned around due to time.

Nice trail. We were pretty much the only ones on the trail past the first half-mile. After getting to the top of the Mogollon Rim, there weren't many great views. Had no trouble going up the trail, but on the way back, we somehow got lost. Had to follow the stream until it intersected with the trail. got back on the path with just a little bit of light left. Overall, it was a fun hike!

4 months ago

Very nice trail. Saw a little snow later on in the hike. Had no problem making it to the top of the trail, but on the way down, we somehow lost the trail. Ended up having to find the stream and follow it until we found one of the points where it intersects with the path. Made it back to the trail with just a little bit of light left and followed it back to the parking lot. Fun hike!

4 months ago

Better known as Arizona Trail Section 23, this trail is a real treasure. Bear Spring around mile 9 has water, as well as Horse Camp Seep near the halfway point. Be prepared for elevation gain and weather changes, as the trail takes you from 2k to near 7k feet. Great for thru-hike training. Also, the last 9 miles is a steady downhill that exits the AZT and takes you to a good pick-up point on Doll Baby Ranch Road (4WD suggested).

Challenging and beautiful

4 months ago

I did not like camping here. It’s too close to the road and you can hear cars all night. I prefer more secluded.
The trail is easy and short

5 months ago

Great hike. Waterfall area is in 3.2 miles. No water running when we were there. Constant uphill from the trailhead. Most is easy and gradual, little steeper through the switchbacks. 2 more miles and you're at the end. First 3.2 miles is a 1,700ft elevation gain. Last 2 miles is only another 400ft. Total 10.2 out and back.

A beautiful trail even for the winter! Not much snow until we reach the top! The trail is poorly marked at a point around 2 miles in... watch for the ribbons and the piles of rocks! On the top we thought there was a tower but we never found it!
On the way down we lost the trail again a few hundred yards after we started. We used GPS, the alltrails map and compass to find it.
Overall an amazing hike that is so much different than the typical AZ scenery!

really pleasant gradual uphill next to stream, beautiful country. keep your eyes open for the plentiful and wellbuilt cairns that lead back and forth across the stream.

6 months ago

Went this am left the parking lot approximately 9am and got to the saddle area around 12:00pm after stopping a few times. Coming back down we left at 12:09pm and got back at 1:21pm. Overall I felt the hike was pretty easy and most in our group of 12 enjoyed the hike as well.

Such a peaceful trail! So glad I used the map on this app- there are two parts where you have to walk across the water to continue the trail. pretty pink leaves and great for dogs!

7 months ago

This is one of my favorite hiking trails in Arizona; we do it every year. It's wonderful in fall and spring (chance of running water or even icicles!) but we turned back once in summer from the heat. A steady, beautiful climb up into the mountains. A couple of times we've gone a bit past the waterfall just for some more elevation, but scenery is not as interesting after this point.

8 months ago

This is one of the best hiking experiences I’ve had while living in Arizona. I don’t know why it’s listed here as difficult. My experience is that there is a gradual incline that takes you up, up to a Mesa from which you can look back into an astonishing vista, perhaps over one hundred miles. I would estimate it’s three miles in and three miles back, though I’ve met people on the trail who have hiked much further, some back packers and even a deer hunter. One time we encountered a couple who were walking their alpacas, and we got to pet them. The Mesa is a place where you can sit or lie down and just relax and enjoy your accomplishment of such a simple activity as walking and note how beautiful the world can be. The one thing you should be aware of is that the road in can be rough, so you should be extra careful driving in, especially if your car is low to the ground. While on that way you may see some cattle grazing around cactus, another treat for the eyes.

I would not consider this a moderate hike, but more on the difficult side as it gets fairly steep. Also, the mileage out and back is not 6.3 miles maybe closer to 8. We turned around at the 3.5 mile mark and still had at least 1/2 mile to the end of the trail. We enjoyed this hike and would recommend it.

Beautiful trail. I brought my 2 year old Dobie with me and we both had a blast! Not many people there on Friday. Stunning fall colors, plenty of shade, we crossed the creek 3 times so my puppy got water and cooled down. The 2 mile dirt road might be rough in a few places for a sedan but doable. Highly recommended!

8 months ago

What a beautiful hike. Very rocky and you need to watch your footing at all times. Loved the solitude, challenge, gorgeous views and great workout!

Hiked mid October and beautiful fall colors about 2 miles into the trail. Very lightly trafficked on a Friday. We saw 3 small groups of people the first mile and that was about it. Lots of people setting up campsites when finishing the hike near the trailhead. I would definitely recommend this hike and hope to do it again soon. Happy hiking :)

Beautiful hike, the leaves are changing makes for great views close to the top end of the trail. It is rocky as you make your way up. On way down took the See Spring trail and enjoyed sitting by the water relaxing. Went on a Saturday and only saw 3 groups of hikers.

9 months ago

Nice hike but a few items of note.

People tend to camp at the TH and along the first 1/2 mile stretch. Just something to be cognizant of as you're possibly walking right by (or through) someone's campsite.

The second thing of note starts about 3/5th of the way in and that is the climb. Just look for the point on the topo map where the contour lines get really close.

Some great views along the way, the first section is an easy jaunt where it changes to an easy/moderate climb.

Lightly traveled, our 7 y.o. JRT trail dog did not join us on this hike, however likely would have been fine.

9 months ago

9/17/17 ~ 57 M hiker - Drove up from the valley with GF and pooch for this day hike. Easy access to the trail-head via the well maintained FR. Half dozen cars or so at the trail-head and a number of campers spread out in the same area. We had company up the first leg till the turn off for the spring, from that point on we had the trail to ourselves. Beautiful day and gorgeous shady hiking, a nice change from hiking in and around the valley. The trail rises slowly and continually and then hits a couple of steep climbs that will get your attention. The trail end is anticlimactic as there is no vista for picture taking, just the convergence with the General Crook Trail and Rim Road. But the journey is still worth it. Was more challenging for me than I thought it should have been after reading other reviews.

5.5 hours out and back with a 1/2 hour lunch and rests.

10 months ago

Very challenging, but rewarding with the views and wet areas.

11 months ago

Hiked from the top at FR300 and down. Very rocky in places and steep at times. Caught in monsoon storm the last mile or so which was a treat! Soaking wet but well worth it! Hiking poles were very helpful in some spots and was excited to find wild raspberries which were delicious. Beautiful scenery and lush.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A pretty hard trail if you go the whole way and no waterfall in the summer :( at least not went we went in July. It's a beaut. Take sunscreen, duh. (We didn't and burned pretty bad. Will have these tan lines for the rest of our lives pretty sure.) You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere because the trail goes pretty far into the mountains. If you're into that and pretty views, this trail is for you. Kinda rocky in some places. I tripped regularly.

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