Saving the best for last... This is the most popular hike of the area. The hike follows along Horton Creek as it climbs toward Horton Spring through a lush forest with a variety of deciduous trees (elder, maple, ash, and oak) and Alligator Juniper and Ponderosa Pine. Along the way, there will be Manzanita and meadows and several optional creek crossing opportunities. Along the creek there are ample roses, ferns, grapes, strawberries, and other water loving plants.
The Creek and Springs are named after cattle rancher L. J. Horton who settled there in the 1880’s.
Here are photos from our hike 5/26/12:
Here are photos from our hike 5/30/11:
Our hikes are generally at a pace conducive to social banter of interest to heathens, and allowing for time for photography of the local scenery and wildlife. However, since this is an out-n-back trail route, hikers may choose their own pace and distance. We will all turn around and return at an agreed upon or predetermined time or when the lead group does. Expect this hike to last 3-4 hours.
There is an optional 9-mile round trip loop available for the hardiest among us.
After we finish, I will have reference books to identify or learn more about any unusual plants or animals we encounter.
Distance: 3-9 miles -- TBD
Time: 3-4 hrs. TBD
Difficulty: easy-moderate according to elevation, elevation change, and distance.
Trail: packed dirt forest floor, stream paths, and old logging road
Elevation: 5360 ft.
change: up to 1240 ft. ... TBD
Parking: gravel lot with pit toilet and parking ticket dispenser (?).
Tailhead GPS: 34°[masked], 111°[masked]’
Entry fees: $8 per car . .. but maybe none!
Dogs: OK on leash
Always carry and drink plenty of water!
Sunscreen and insect repellent is advised.
Supportive footwear is also advisable.
Water shoes can be helpful around rocks and water.
SAFETY FIRST… we have no medical provisions.
Hike at your own risk.
TO GET THERE… From Payson, drive east on AZ 260 about 17 miles. Then turn left (north) onto FR 289 (Tonto Creek Rd.). This turnoff is between mile markers[masked] (across from Kohl’s Ranch Rd.) Travel nearly mile on this paved road to the trailhead parking area on the left side of the road (just after crossing the bridge, just past the Campground) ..WE’LL MEET AT THE PARKING LOT, then we’ll walk across the road to the campground and get to the trail head as a group.
ALLOW AT LEAST 30 MINUTES DRIVE TIME FROM PAYSON (from AZ 87/AZ 260). And watch out for radar photo speed traps on both sides of Star Valley. Star Valley runs about 3-5 miles from the AZ 87/AZ 260 intersection.
Google says trail head is about 1 hr. 40 min. from the intersection of the 202 and 87.
Google says trail head is about 1 hr. 55 min. from Fiesta Mall
Google says trail head is about 1 hr. 55 min. from the intersection of the 101 and Shea
Google says trail head is about 2 hr. 11 min. from the intersection of the 101 and I-17 ---via Shea (from 101).... 107 miles
MESSAGE FOR CARPOOLERS:
Carpooling can save gas but also enhance the social experience. If you’d like to carpool, you must contact others for arrangements. You could email members or post comments on this announcement page.
NOTE: If you are carpooling, please take mercy on your driver.
The following could be used as guidelines if no other arrangements are made:
An SUV when loaded with passengers and gear likely gets less than 20 mpg. But at 20 mpg, if gas price is $3.40/ gallon, the gas costs 17¢/mile. … At $3.60/gal., it’s 18¢/mi … etc.
Round trip mileage to the Parking lot from the 101 & 17 is 214 miles before any side trips . .…. That’s .175 x 214 = $37.45 just for gas (not entry fees, nor wear and tear on the car).
… That’s about $12.50 each for 3 passengers. . ..$9.50 for 4.