Alan Miller, the Pied Piper of the Payson Area Trails System, stood in the parking lot at the end of Granite Dells Road Feb. 15, patiently passing around a sign-in sheet.

“Got to make sure we know who to look for,” he quipped in his English accent. I wondered what type of hike I was getting myself into. The town website described it as an easy 3.25-mile loop around the base of Monument Peak.

Alan Miller head shot

Alan Miller leads monthly hikes on the PATS trail system.

Frost covered Monument Peak Loop trail

The frost on the ground reminded everyone it's still winter. Temperatures warmed up by the time the hike ended.

Brooke under tree on Monument Peak Loop trail

The hike offered plenty of time to sit under a tree since Alan Miller took plenty of breaks to make sure the group stayed together.

Gullied uneven Monument Peak Loop Trail

Water and ATV damage have taken their toll on the Monument Peak Loop Trail.

House on hill overlooking Monument Peak Loop Trail

It's just about impossible to get lost for long on any of the trails in the Granite Dells area as houses surround every side. A lack of signs and many offshoot trails have confused some hikers.

Hikers on Monument Peak Loop trail vertical

The group enjoyed meeting new people. Some had just moved to Rim Country, but feared going into the forest without a guide. Alan Miller solves that problem.

MP sign on the Monument Peak Loop trail

Unless Alan Miller explains the purpose of this sign, not many understood why it was there.

Tree sign Monument Peak Trail

The other type of signs to find on the Monument Peak Loop Trail - if a hiker hasn't taken an offshoot trail by mistake.

Vista on Monument Peak Loop Trail

Vista on the Monument Peak Loop Trail.

Waterfall on Monument Peak Loop Trail

Hikers can see wonderful natural scenes such as this spring fed waterfall.

Odin and Mireille on Monument Peak Loop Trail

Odin, the four month old Standard Schnauzer. His owner, Mireille Green loved showing off the forest to her furry friend.

Parking lot Monument Peak Loop Trail

Unlike many trails in Rim Country, the Monument Peak Loop Trail has plenty of space for cars. Once on the trail, however, the crowds disappear.

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