Horton Creek Trail #285
Trailhead: Upper Tonto Creek Campground
Length: 7 miles roundtrip
Managing Agency: Tonto National Forest
Directions to Trailhead:
From Payson drive East on SR 260 for 16 miles. Just past Kohl's Ranch, turn left onto the road to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. 1 mile up this road park in the trailhead parking on the west side. The trail begins across the road in the campground.
From the trailhead parking area, cross the road and walk up the road to the Campground. At the top of the hill, you will find the signed start of the Horton Creek Trail.
The trail drops quickly down to Horton Creek. Cross the creek and follow the very wide path along the West side of the creek. At 1/4 mile you will come to a fence and a turnstile.
At .75 miles the trail forks. The left fork is the official trail. It climbs up a rocky path and then through a gate. The trail stays away from the creek, but the scenery is still nice. The right fork takes you along the creek and several small campsites there. Both arms of the fork rejoin about 1.0 mile from the trailhead.
The trail follows along the creek for the next two miles. Although rocky in some parts, the going is easy and the grade gentle. For the last half mile, the trail climbs steeply away from the creek. This part of the trail is very rocky. The trail ends at the Highline Trail #31. To reach the Spring, walk east on the Highline trail about 300 feet. The spring runs year around.
You can return the way you came or make a loop by continuing a ways on the Highline trail and taking the Derrick Trail #33 back to the trailhead.
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