By: Dr. Chris Bonin
Horton Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona, USA. The trail is approximately 8.5 miles long and is considered to be of moderate difficulty, making it a great option for hikers of various skill levels. The trailhead is located just outside of Payson, Arizona, and begins at an elevation of around 5,200 feet. The trail follows Horton Creek, offering stunning views of the creek and surrounding wilderness area.
Hikers can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and various bird species, along the way.
The trail gradually gains elevation as it winds through a forest of ponderosa pines, aspens, and oak trees. At around the 3-mile mark, hikers will reach Horton Springs, a natural spring that serves as the source of the creek. This is a great spot to rest, refill water bottles, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Beyond Horton Springs, the trail becomes steeper as it climbs toward the Mogollon Rim. The final section of the trail is the most challenging, with a series of switchbacks leading to the top of the rim.
However, the reward for this effort is an incredible view of the surrounding area, including the distant Mazatzal Mountains.
Overall, the Horton Creek Trail is a beautiful and rewarding hike that showcases some of Arizona's stunning natural beauty. It is recommended that hikers bring plenty of water, wear appropriate footwear, and be prepared for changes in weather and temperature.
Check out the hike here!