HIKE: Hunter Creek Trail, Gordon Creek Falls

Al is out of town this weekend, so I've taken up the gauntlet to find a hike. With a little help from my friends, I've chosen the Gordon Creek / Hunter Creek Trails just east of Payson.

This looks to be an easy hike that ends at a 25-foot waterfall and swimming hole. According to most sites, it is also pretty secluded. Although it may be a bit chilly for a jump in the water, feel free to bring a suit or water shoes, both for the end and for creek jumping along the way.

There are two options here: five miles for Hunter Creek or three miles for Gordon Creek. I'm guessing most of us will choose the first, but if you'd rather be more leisurely, the second will be for you.

Hunter Creek begins in a sun-dappled meadow with fruit trees abandoned by early settlers. The main attractions of this quiet destination include a terraced waterfall, several easy creek crossings, a spring that spills silky sheets of cool water down a 30-foot-tall cliff, and a shallow cave at trail’s end. Gordon Creek, a more rugged route, starts on old dirt roads leading to the creek.

Once at the water, the trail uses the creek bed and informal footpaths on the banks to bring hikers to a rocky flume, where the going gets more difficult. Walls of jumbled stone converge on the waterway, creating a half-mile scramble among boulders and debris to reach a pine-ringed chasm, where a 25-foot-tall waterfall puts on its best show after monsoon rains.

Length: 5 miles round trip (Hunter Creek) or 3 miles round trip (Gordon Creek)

Rating: easy-moderate

Elevation: 6,100-6,160 feet (Hunter Creek) or 6,020-6,260 feet (Gordon Creek)

Dogs: Yes, on leash

Kids: Yes, maybe on leash

Distance from Phoenix: 125 miles one way (2 hours)

Facilities: None

Directions: Hunter Creek: Take the Beeline Hwy (SR 87) to Payson. From the SR 87/260 intersection in Payson, go 25 miles east (right) on Highway 260 to Colcord Road (Forest Road 291) near milepost 277. Turn right on Colcord, continue 0.3 miles and park on an unmarked, primitive dirt road on the right where there’s a barbed-wire gate visible roughly 40 yards farther up the road.

Gordon Creek: From the Hunter Creek parking area, drive 1 mile farther down Colcord Road and park in a turnout near a green gate on the right just south of some power lines. To get to the falls, hike down the road a few yards to a road that’s (sometimes) blocked with a “road closed” sign. Shimmy under the fence (it’s legal) and hike down the dirt road. Pass through a gate and go left at the crossroads. At the second fork, go right. Turn left at the third junction and continue to the creek. From here, go right and follow the creek to the falls.

Following the hike, we will reconvene at Macky's Grill for post-hike refreshments. It is located at 201 W Main St, Payson, in the Sawmill Theatre Shopping Center. It is dog friendly and has a large menu.

Join or login to comment.

  • Jim

    April 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks to everyone who uploaded photos--they are awesome! And thanks to Amanda for planning and hosting.

    1 · April 22, 2013

  • Cathy

    What a perfect day!!!!

    April 22, 2013

  • Jim

    Great time w/ great people and awesome dogs.

    April 22, 2013

  • Wendy Angela H.

    It was a truly excellent day. The forest smelled wonderful, the creek was refreshing and the conversations were fun. Thanks to all for a perfect hike:)

    1 · April 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Beautiful weather, awesome waterfalls, great people and a pack of cute dogs! What more could you want from a Sunday??

    2 · April 21, 2013

  • Jude

    Outstanding!

    1 · April 21, 2013

  • Scott R.

    Very nice hike today. The water fall was great and very relaxing. Thank you Amanda for hosting, good job!!

    1 · April 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like it might be a great place to camp when it gets really hot.

    2 · April 21, 2013

  • Amanda C.

    Getting to the trailhead was a bit of a pain, but the falls and creek were well worth it!

    April 21, 2013

  • Ryan

    Not feeling like an overnight trip...

    April 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Assuming I'm not still coughing up one of my lungs by then, I'd like to go. And even if I am, I will have had this thing for 2 1/2 weeks by then, so I'm way, way, way past the point of being contagious. Does anyone want to meet up at the Fry's at Bell and I-17 again to carpool? I'll be happy to ride or drive.

    April 17, 2013

    • Conan K.

      (!@#$ Pushed the enter button by accident!!!)

      1 · April 20, 2013

    • Conan K.

      I got a ride with Tammy...see you guys up there.

      April 20, 2013

  • Jude

    There's a Wendy's-Arby's-Taco Bell at Shea & the Beeline that's a good place to meet for carpooling. I'll be there around 7:30.

    April 20, 2013

    • Tammy

      Jude, I will pick you up there at 8:00. 7:30 is too early. It will take 90 minutes to get to the hike from there.

      April 20, 2013

    • Jude

      OK, thanks!

      April 20, 2013

  • Conan K.

    If I can find a ride (see comments)

    April 16, 2013

    • Tammy

      Conan, if you decide to go, you can ride in my van. We will be leaving from the park-n-ride at Bell and I-17 at 7:30.

      April 20, 2013

    • Conan K.

      Tammy, I decided I'm gonna go. If there is still room, I'd love to catch a ride with you. I'll plan on being @ park-n-ride before 7:30. Call/text if possible to confirm: (six oh too) fore 9 to - 3 two won 6

      April 20, 2013

  • Scott R.

    I have seats available in my van.

    April 20, 2013

  • Wendy Angela H.

    Tried to reply to Brian. I would love to car pool from the frys on Bell, is that still an option?

    April 20, 2013

    • Tammy

      Hi Wendy, Brian's car is full. I am going to take my van since there are a few people that still need a ride. We are going to meet at the park-n-ride at Bell and I-17 and leave there by 7:30. I have a silver Honda Odyssey Van and will be to the right when you first enter the park-n-ride.

      April 20, 2013

  • Bill

    Have yard work that has gotten out of hand. Bill

    April 17, 2013

    • Bill

      I don't have grass. I have 30 tons of gravel to get off my drive, trees and bushes that need to be trimmed, and weeds everywhere. If I let it go it will be too hot to do it soon. I can only work for about two to three hours before I'm exhausted. I have an acre of land with 1/2 an acre a wild life habitat and botanical garden to take care of. unfortunately my responsibilities have always controlled my social life.

      April 17, 2013

    • Amanda C.

      I suggest hiring someone for this task.

      April 18, 2013

  • Conan K.

    "sun-dappled meadow" and "silky sheets of cool water"!!! Grammar Dr (good thing I googled it so I didn't write "grammer"!!!), maybe we should have you write the descriptions from now on. Al's never paints a picture like that.

    9:45 am + 2 hour drive...leave Phx @ 7:45?

    I'd be interested in going if I can find someone to carpool with (7th st & Union Hills). I've never taken me motorcycle on a trip that long before. I'm pretty sure it will make it, but me ass will never forgive me (I need to brake down & by a comfortable seat). If anyone in my neck of the woods has an open seat in their car, send me a msg or call & leave a msg: (six oh too) 4 nine to - 3 two won 6

    April 16, 2013

  • Jodi

    I'm a maybe. Scott....are you driving and is there room for me and Ace?

    April 17, 2013

  • Cathy

    Thanks, Amanda, for putting a wonderful hike together! I'm looking forward to it.

    1 · April 16, 2013

    • Al T.

      yes, good job and thanks

      1 · April 17, 2013

  • Jim

    Posted to the Prescott Freethinker's Site:

    http://www.meetup.com/Prescott-Freethinkers/events/114804022/

    April 17, 2013

17 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create your own Meetup Group

Get started Learn more
Bill

I started the group because there wasn't any other type of group like this. I've met some great folks in the group who have become close friends and have also met some amazing business owners.

Bill, started New York City Gay Craft Beer Lovers

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy