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Horton Creek Fall Colors - Payson

  • Oct 20, 2012 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

3H has had good luck with the Fall colors about this time in years past, and the weather is supposed to be just right. So, let's give it a go, and enjoy the colors of nature!

Trailhead: Upper Tonto Creek Campground

Length: Approximately 7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate depending on ability (Elevation Gain: approx. 750 feet)

Trailhead facilities: Bathroom available

What to Bring: Hiking shoes, sunscreen, water, snacks/lunch, camera, maybe a jacket or other appropriate clothing for the elements (seasonally in the 60's to 70's at this time of year).

PLEASE NOTE: This will be a simple out and back hike to the Spring itself, and not the longer, more difficult loop hike. The idea here is to simply enjoy the colors as we traipse along the creek on the way down to our lunch spot near the Spring.

Trail Description: 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. From here, the trail drops quickly down to Horton Creek. Cross the creek and follow the very wide path along the creek. A short ways into the hike, take the left fork as it climbs up a rocky path and then through a gate. The trail pulls away from the creek, but the scenery is still very 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 to your right on the Highline Trail about 300 feet. The spring runs year around.

This is a beautiful hike along the creek, with plenty of opportunities to check out the creek itself, down the many side trails along the way. As this is an out and back trail, we invite everyone to bring these notes, their cameras, their sense of adventure, and enjoy the route at your leisure. Although the ultimate goal is to reach the Spring itself, there are so many spots along the way to relax and soak in the vistas. Be assured, we will pick you up along the return trip if you don't make it to the turn around point!

Carpooling Location: Please meet up at 8:00 AM in the parking lot of the Target Center on the south side of Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills, about a mile west of Highway 87 (Beeline). For those leaving their vehicles behind, please park up against the north curb away from Target. You should leave this area by 8:10 AM in order to make it to the trailhead on time. Please indicate your intentions of meeting at the carpool location or trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead: From Payson, drive East on SR 260 for about 16 miles. Between mile markers 268 and 269 (directly across from Kohl's Ranch), turn left onto Tonto Creek Rd. towards the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. Approximately 1 mile up this road, look for the trailhead sign pictured above, and turn left there, and left, again, into the parking area. The trail begins across the road in the campground. Parking is limited, and this is a popular Fall colors destination. If the lot is full, please backtrack down the road, and park along Tonto Creek Rd.

As with all Saturday hikes, there will be a voluntary $1 donation to the club collected at the start of the hike.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you David and LetLet for leading this beautiful hike! You made me feel so welcome on my first hike with the group. Fun group of hikers!

    October 27, 2012

  • luke e.

    Nice hike and good to see some familiar faces. Dave and Letlet thanks for hosting.

    October 21, 2012

  • David & L.

    Hey, what a wonderful bunch of folks today! Wonderful weather mixed with some splashes of color throughout the hike. Thanks for your bright smiles out there today.

    October 20, 2012

  • Rose

    Wonderful day. Very nice group of people. Thanks Davit & Letlet for leading this trip.

    October 20, 2012

  • Nina

    Great hike and day...thanks! Bella is passed out!

    1 · October 20, 2012

    • Del & Laura H.

      My Tommie Girl sniffed me from one end all over, especially where Bella slept next to me. She was not too happy!! LOL

      October 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great hike! Thanks to our leaders for making sure everyone was taken care of. I will be doing this one again.

    October 20, 2012

  • Steve

    A very nice hike with a great group of people.

    October 20, 2012

  • luke e.

    At the trailhead... All is peaceful out here!

    October 20, 2012

  • luke e.

    I ll be at the trailhead.

    October 20, 2012

  • Agnes

    Will meet at the carpool location and need a ride. My guest is not coming so it's just me.

    October 19, 2012

  • Henry

    I'll be carpooling.

    October 19, 2012

  • Nina

    Are dogs ok

    October 19, 2012

  • luke e.

    I ll be at car pool area!

    October 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would like to get a ride if possible. Meet at carpool location.

    October 19, 2012

  • David & L.

    As noted, hike begins at 10 AM. Must leave carpool by 8:10 AM to safely be there in time.

    October 19, 2012

  • Juhaynah

    I plan to meet at Target..about what time to you anticipate being at the Trailhead just in case???

    October 19, 2012

  • Steve

    will be at the carpool location.

    October 19, 2012

  • David & L.

    As always, and it bears repeating, don't forget to compensate your drivers for their carpool efforts. Let's hike!

    October 19, 2012

  • kenny w.

    thank you for the fire updates. Do we need a permit for parking @ the trail head? Thanks

    October 18, 2012

    • David & L.

      No, there is no permit required at the trailhead.

      October 19, 2012

  • Del & Laura H.

    I definitely need to carpool with someone. I hope to catch a ride!

    October 19, 2012

  • Deirdre

    I knew you'd be on top of the fire situation, David! I hiked in the Pine/Strawberry area today and it was mentioned, although it seems like the fire is about four miles from the Horton Springs area.

    October 18, 2012

    • David & L.

      Thank you for that, Deirdre. Yeah, so far so good. Looking at every update, and it's still looking good for Saturday. Let's hike! Excited to see everyone.

      October 18, 2012

  • David & L.

    And we hope so, too, Becky!

    October 17, 2012

  • David & L.

    We are monitoring a forest fire occurring approximately 2 miles west of the trailhead for Saturday's hike. There are currently no closures in the area, but we will keep an eye on this as it develops, and report back if things change. Here is a link to the information: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/article_133e6762-16c2-11e2-bb15-001a4bcf887a.html

    October 15, 2012

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