Take A Hike


A lot of hikes in the Rim Country are not on official trails. They follow old jeep roads and cattle routes. They don't appear in any guidebook and they are nearly impossible to describe unless you are familiar with the area.

Which is why the few actual trails in the area that are marked, maintained and mapped in guidebooks tend to be popular.

And so it is with the Horton Springs Trail.

On Easter weekend, the Horton Springs Trail was the place to be. The parking lot was full and every shaded spot by the creek was buzzing with hikers eating sandwiches and trail mix.

But even at its most crowded, the Horton Springs Trail is a jewel of the Mogollon Rim.

The trail is approximately 4 miles each way -- steadily uphill on the way in.

The "destination" is Horton Springs and a lush, green oasis that surrounds it. But there are wonderful swimming holes and places to stop along the way.

To get there, take Highway 260 toward Christopher Creek from Payson. Immediately past the Tonto Village turnoff, take a left onto Forest Road 300. Follow the dirt road until you cross a bridge. The large parking area is immediately on your left. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow.

It is actually one of the steepest, roughest trails on the Rim and is not recommended for casual use, but can be used as part of long circuit trips that can include the Babe Haught Trail and Highline Trail to the west, or the See Canyon Trail and Highline Trail to the east.

This trail switchbacks up a ridge and offers fine views, but also has lots of exposure. Experts advise staying off the trail in bad weather.

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