Horton Loop, Overnight at Horton Spring

Where are we going?

We're headed to Horton Creek and Spring, but not via the most traditional route. We'll take the "Horton Loop" which is quite a bit different than the main Horton Creek Trail, offering some great views, less traffic and we'll still end up at the spring. We'll hit the trail Saturday morning, camp at the spring, then hike out on Sunday. The camping area is situated among ponderosa, oak and maple trees.

This trip is open to new backpackers, old pros and everyone in between. Let's all get out of the city and have a fun weekend!

Special info or Prerequisites:

This is a fairly beginner-backpacking-friendly trip, but it is not for the beginner HIKER. The trail climbs fairly quickly over rocky terrain, so please know your limits. We'll take breaks along the way to enjoy the scenery and catch our breath.

Trip Description:

We will be hiking the Derrick Trail, which begins at the same parking area as the Horton Creek Trail, but heads in another direction and is described as a "more feisty" trail. It then intersects a particularly beautiful section of the Highline Trail, and we'll end up at Horton Spring for the night. Sunday we'll hike down Horton Creek trail which meanders along next to the creek. You can see a writeup of the trail we will follow here: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=879

Directions to the Trail Head:

For those coming from Phoenix, we can meet and carpool from the Fort McDowell Casino parking lot at 7:00AM. We'll leave at about 7:15AM For those who wish to meet at the trailhead, we should arrive there between 8:30 and 8:45am. I'd aim to be on the trail ASAP.

To the trailhead:
From Payson take 260 East for 16 miles to FR289 which is Tonto Creek Road. Turn left on to FR289 and follow a mile to the Upper Tonto Creek campgrounds. Hiker parking is before the campgrounds (left) across a bridge in a small lot.

Horton Creek Trailhead cross back over the bridge and follow the dirt road up towards the campgrounds for about 150 feet. The trailhead should now be apparent on the left.

Derrick Trailhead follow to Horton Trailhead, then continue on the dirt road another minute or two to the end.

Expected Trail Conditions and Gear Requirements:

The trails in the area were recently maintained and rerouted by maintenance crews. The trail in is quite rocky. Sturdy hiking boots are recommended. Highs this time of year average around 79 degrees, and lows around 50. I'll update the official forecast in the comments as the weekend approaches.

Costs/Fees if Applicable:

Participants should be paid members of ABC. If you are not a paid member, I would encourage you to make your membership payment through meetup.

Post you questions below, or contact Nick via Meetup email.

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  • Mike

    A short write-up of the trip if you guys are interested. http://www.writerinthewild.com/2013/09/horton-loop.html

    September 23, 2013

  • Santi H.

    Nick, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you ! It was Awesome. I would hike with you any day!

    1 · September 23, 2013

  • Nick

    Thank you everyone for coming! It was great to meet you all.

    1 · September 22, 2013

    • David D.

      Ya! Great hike and grest peeps. Couldn't ask fer more than that.

      1 · September 22, 2013

  • Jason W.

    If anyone wants to find me on Facebook, I post all my hiking photos and some of my hikes there: https://www.facebook.com/jewalsh2

    1 · September 22, 2013

  • Jason W.

    Thanks for leading Nick. Was a good hike. Got some awesome photos.

    1 · September 22, 2013

  • Jason W.

    At post Wolf C-2

    September 21, 2013

  • Jason W.

    We are pulling in. Look for white FJ Cruiser

    September 21, 2013

  • Mike

    I'm here. Where is everyone? Big parking lot.

    September 21, 2013

  • David D.

    Holycrap its really early! Omw!

    September 21, 2013

  • Jason W.

    Nick and I are headed to the casino. See everyone at the casino at 7

    September 21, 2013

  • Santi H.

    Do we need a high clearance vehicle....

    September 20, 2013

    • Jason W.

      No, you park in a paved parking lot for this hike.

      September 20, 2013

  • Santi H.

    I can take one more in my car....

    September 20, 2013

  • Mike

    Just a heads up, I do believe hunting season recently started so you might want to bring something bright since that area is a hot spot for Elk.

    September 20, 2013

  • Santi H.

    I should ask before I commit, how long is the hike?

    September 20, 2013

    • Nick

      About 5 miles on Saturday, and we'll finish the loop on Sunday, going about 4 more. Easy Peasy!

      September 20, 2013

    • David D.

      Ya, easy if you don't have 30lbs on your back lol

      September 20, 2013

  • Nick

    I'm assuming everyone is planning to meet at the casino Saturday morning. If that is not the case and you plan to meet us at the trail head, please comment here or message me.

    As for the casino, the parking lot should be relatively open so early on a Saturday morning. Turn on Ft. McDowell Rd., make your first left, then your first right. I plan to be in one of the first couple rows of parking. I'll be in a white Toyota FJ Cruiser. Assuming you aren't the first to arrive, just look for people milling around in the parking lot and that is likely to be us. :P

    September 19, 2013

    • David D.

      Sounds good. I will be there in a green Subaru Forester coming from arrowhead mall

      September 19, 2013

  • Mike

    Hi everyone. Hoping to catch a ride with someone from Fort McDowell Casino. I don't think my Jeep will make it all the way to the trailhead. It's on its last legs! I can pitch in for gas too.

    September 16, 2013

    • Nick

      I have room for one additional person in my FJ (already have me +2).

      September 16, 2013

    • Nick

      I actually have room for two additional people. My +1 dropped out.

      September 19, 2013

  • John s.

    It's a beautiful motorcycle ride up there, so I plan on riding. Have room for one passenger but no gear. ;)

    September 17, 2013

  • Denise L.

    I took my kids (the youngest is six) and my dog on a backpack trip here two weeks ago. It was wonderfully cool and we got a light rain to test out our rain gear. Great trip! Would be a fun "Bring a Kid Backpacking" adventure.

    2 · September 16, 2013

  • David D.

    Hello all. I just hiked this trail yesterday with the Hikers Hiking Club Phoenix and did see the csmpibg sites around the source if the stream. It looks to be a great spot to test out all my new camping gear. I'm excited to kick off my camping life.

    1 · September 15, 2013

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