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Horton Springs

on the trail to Horton springs
Hikers at Horton springs
hiker headed towards Horton springs
Horton creek
Horton creek
Horton springs
map: Horton springs trail
elevation plot: Horton springs trail


How to Get There
This hike is located near Payson, AZ.

From the Phoenix area, take HWY 87 North towards Payson. Once in Payson, take HWY 260 east toward Kohl's Ranch, AZ. The left turn for the trailhead is a not so well marked road just after Kohl's Ranch (the sign is for the Tonto Creek Campground). Turn left here and take the road about 0.5 miles until you reach the Horton Picnic area. Park in the signed parking area if you can, otherwise park in one of the clearings along side the road. The trailhead starts at the camping area on the hill across the bridge from the parking area.
Mogollon Rim

Hike details

7.00 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
7.0 miles to the spring and back again.
3.25 [Hours]
It took us three hours and 15 minutes with a 15 minute stop for exploring and lunch.
Elevation Change
2,400 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Gain
1,200 Total Elevation Gain [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 1200 ft gradual climb.
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back
Special Features


Best Season
  • June
  • July
  • August
Worst Season
  • January
  • February
  • December
Season Details
fall, summer, spring
Date Hike completed
May 19, 2012


Solitude Details
You'll see a few people on this hike, as it's quite popular. Expect to meet 15-30 people on this hike during a weekend.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
30 yr old Recommendation: Forest, creek, climb, and a fresh mountain spring. This is a Moderate hike. The scenery here is great and the spring is worth the hike. Drink deeply, as the water is fantastic.

This is a well marked trail. Kid approved.


Be Aware of
grazing bulls in the area

Hike to Horton Springs on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona.

This is a great hike to escape the Phoenix heat in the summer. The trail runs through a pine forest and is easy to follow. To find the trailhead from the parking area, cross back across the small paved bridge and hike towards the campground. The signed trailhead will be on your left. For the first mile or so, the trail skirts a bubbling creek. There's a good climb toward the end of the hike, with a number of switchbacks that gains most of the hike's elevation. Eventually, you'll reach a signed trail that intersects with the Highline Trail. Turn right here (JCT 1R on the map) and hike the final few hundred yards to the spring. Fill up your water here and enjoy the day. Be sure to explore the spring area, as there's more than one spring. When ready, return the way you came.


Swap Start/End
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