Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Pretty easy going up to the spring, but past that it can be challenging to stay on the main trail due to overgrowth and limited use. Also, that last leg to Rim Road is rather steep and rocky. Nice views near the top though. Saw some elk to the side of the trail on the way out around dusk, then a deer as I drove from the trailhead out to the highway.

Definitely had some damage from recent heavy rains however, it was a fun workout and the scenery was magnificent.

Really enjoyed this trail. The runoff from rains here recently added a lot of character to the trail. What is usually a dry wash was at times knee deep of fast moving water today.

Driving to it is a little rough even though through neighborhoods. In all honesty without the water features the recent rains provided this would probably be a 3-4 vs a 4-5.

This was a beautiful and easy hike. Completed it with a group ages 8-42 and everyone did great. Ended up picking a day in July that was perfect. Cloudy with rolling thunder and a light sprinkle made this hike through the pines absolutely beautiful. Take some snacks or lunch and enjoy it while eating next to the creek.

Trail was easy. Just rained so had to cross cross a lot of streams. Nice walk with amazing boulders and didn’t even make it to the end. (Too much water)

mountain biking
11 days ago

This trail has a lot of major ruts due to the heavy rains over the last couple of months. I was looking forward to a nice work out Mountain biking this trail, but I spent more time hiking my bike than riding!! If you hike it, take more water than you need and expect 1/2 day unless you are in exceptional shape! I would say this trail is perfect for motorcycle or ATV riding. I started at Houston Mesa TH and rode the Houston Loop then took Pine Dr back down to Hwy 260 because the trail was so not enjoyable.

Great trail, very scenic. I did the trail counter clockwise but would do it clockwise next time with fresh legs. Y Bar trail is rough and rocky and was a little overgrown when I went threw. Plenty of cairns to follow though. I logged 15.8 miles.

hiking
26 days ago

Safer to hike this clockwise and go up (rather than down) the steep portion in my opinion.

backpacking
1 month ago

I hiked the Derrick Trail to Highline Trail and out on the Horton Creek Trail. This created a large loop with amazing rim views. The Highline portion was difficult but well worth the reward. It drops you right into Horton Spring. About a half mile down from the Spring is a great camping spot able to accommodate a larger group. The trail out had many stunning waterfalls and great camping spots as well. I’ll definitely be doing this one again.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this on 9.3.18. My husband and I went past the 4 mile area where people normally turn around and we kept going to the rim road. We were not prepared for how steep and unsafe that part of the trail is. We actually turned around after a few stumbles. It is very family friendly if you stay on first 4 miles but going past that to the rim road is not safe, especially with kids. My husband actually lost his glasses on the steep part, if you find a black pair of prescription glasses, please let us know. 651-399-3028! Thank you!

Went with my friend. she regularly hikes piestewa peak in Phoenix a few times a week and I walk my neighborhood regularly. Had a little confusion finding trail initially. Just park at the Horton creek hike lot, go back across the bridge and head up the dirt road. you will see a sign. we both loved the trail which had some challenging parts in the first four miles but then leveled off in spots with plenty of photo ops with creek and mini falls. We read lots of mixed reviews about the difficulty of the last mile (you will see a sign) and opted not to continue up, mainly for me and a few unruly guys on the trail. I was feeling it and knew we had 4 miles to get back to the car. I would highly recommend this trail. Bring water and enjoy!

on Horton Creek Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great family hike! Moderate hiking that follows the creek and has great shade the whole way. Lots of pit stops to cool down and relax.... bring your suit and water shoes.

backpacking
1 month ago

I believe most of the reviews here stop at the waterfall so caution if you continue on.

It is very pretty if you go to the springs and stop at the waterfall but if you continue up the rest of the way onto the rim (the last mile or so) it gets VERY hairy. I did this as a part of a larger loop from See Canyon and when I passed the springs and continued the last mile it was heavy scrambling and the trail was very hard to keep track of - at one point I found myself very exposed where falls could have been deadly.

If you do this last part be sure to take it slow and follow the cairns carefully. Also I wouldn’t recommend any children or someone who isn’t familiar with class 3 scrambles like Siphon Draw. (This might be worse)

off road driving
1 month ago

I didn't see any of those wide open trails in the pictures. gate at the end of the road was closed so I went down the way the map shows. it was all ATV trails. far to narrow for my truck but I sent it anyway. was pretty challenging mainly due to the narrow nature of the trail. goodbye paint

Great trail for my entire family. Not to intense but enough to get the body moving. Hiked with ages ranging from 8-37.

Very nice hike! Two trails that I noticed, the low trail which hugs the creek and the high trail which is most traveled, but away from the creek. We did both, low going in, high coming out. For the grand finale, there are two springs, awesome!! People do camp along the trail, something I definitely plan on doing on our next trip.

Meh. At least we were out in nature and enjoying each other’s company. But the trail left us a bit underwhelmed today. Maybe if the river had been full and flowing it would have been a better vibe.

Great hike! We hiked this with 7 and 8 year old. We only went to the end where the trails split to other trails and didn’t go the last mile after reading the reviews that it just leads to the 300 road and is steep and rocky. Fun hike and easy for 7 miles. kids made it no problem. Glad we made it to the top, however, I’m writing this to warn others with kids only interested in playing in the water that there were 2 other water falls that aren’t as far and are actually bigger and better for playing in. If and when we do this hike again with the kids we would only go to the 2nd falls with the flat top and had small trail from main trail leading you to it. The top is beautiful but we would have spent more time at the lower falls had we not expected something greater at the end. Took us about 2 hours up due to exploring, spent some time playing and enjoying the scenery at the top and only 1 down. But definitely a great place to spend the day. We got there about 10am and was down and back to car about 3:30. Parking was sparse but still not too big of an issue. The trailhead has arrows from where the parking/restroom is that points you back to the right over the bridge. It’s the immediate left and then left from campground. We didn’t have any issues finding or staying on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite hikes to go on with my dog. It's absolutely gorgeous all year round. It's a good hike for pretty much all levels...for me, since I'm not as active all the time and I have a bad Achilles tendon...I get a good work out with occasional incline and plenty of beautiful areas down the creek with waterfalls to enjoy and relax. It's very peaceful really early in the mornings on the weekends. There is an outhouse restroom at the Horton Creek parking lot and a camp site as you start walking towards the trail.

More like 15.8 mi according to my GPS. The views were wonderful, lots of wildlife. We did it “backwards” trail is challenging to identify at times.

Nice loop stroll along a multi use trail. Wildflowers, some rainfall runoff made for added enjoyment.

Absolutely gorgeous hike — however, I would not consider the second half of the hike “easy,” as it becomes steep with switchbacks up the rim, it’s not super difficult, but most people I passed on the trail on the way back seemed pretty exhausted near the end on hike up. Also it should be noted that this hike does not follow the creek, in fact the majority of the hike is not near the creek at all but does have intermittent waterfalls and springs throughout. Definitely worth it to the end! You can fill your water bottle in a hole in the rock at the top of the fresh spring — best water I’ve ever tasted!!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful hike but not as easy as most reviews led me to believe. It was not an overly challenging hike, but it was not flat and wide after mile two. It was a steady uphill with very narrow areas and the trail is pretty rocky. My children all made it up and back fine, but their tired legs caused them to stumble quite a bit on the way down as the trail is very rocky. The falls were nice and the creek was nice too. Would go back for an easy backpacking trip.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Although this hike says moderate it is fairly easy. Fun for the whole family! We had our lunch inside the cave (pick up your trash) which was amazing. Beware the rocks are slippery!

Park ranger in the gift shop is RUDE! do not let him discourage you from this great hike.

good luck.

1 month ago

Although this hike is easy, take plenty of water. Beware rocks are slippery. So beautiful and calm.

Park ranger in the gift shop is rude but dont let him discourage you.

hiking
1 month ago

Started 6.30am in August from 87.

Cool start but heated up more than I thought.

Great hike! Only went 8M up as got hot and ran out of water.

Saw Deer and plenty of different birds. Some technical area's but overall, a very nice hike.

Recommend not doing in summer.

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
2 months 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.

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