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Horse Crossing - East Clear Creek

East Clear creek
elevation plot: Horse Crossing trail
map: Horse Crossing trail
Horse crossing - East clear creek
East Clear creek


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

To get to the trailhead: from the Phoenix area, take HWY-87 Northeast through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry towards Winslow, AZ. After passing Lake Mary Road (FH3), drive an additional 9.4 miles, turning right onto FR 95 (just before mile marker 300). Drive on well graded dirt road FR 95 for 4 miles, turning left onto FR 513B. Drive 2 more miles on the high clearance road FR513B until you see the small pullout and the trailhead sign (Horse Crossing Trail #20) on the right. FR 95 and FR 513B are not recommended after (or during) rain.
Mogollon Rim

Hike details

3.00 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
About 3.0 miles total hiking
2.00 [Hours]
It took us just over 2 hours to complete this hike. We ran out of time to swim, as the weather did not cooperate. It is recommended you reserve some time to swim here.
Elevation Change
1,000 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Gain
500 Total Elevation Gain [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 1000 ft total (500 ft climb on the north side of the canyon and 500 ft climb on the south side of the canyon).
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back


Best Season
  • June
  • July
  • August
Worst Season
  • January
  • February
  • December
Season Details
Date Hike completed
August 13, 2005


Solitude Details
Not too bad, we met two other families on this trail on a Saturday morning (about 8 people).


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
30 yr old Recommendation: Lovely place for a swim. Continuing along the East Clear Creek would make for an enjoyable creek side walk. The hike to horse crossing is a Moderate hike.


Be Aware of
route finding, snakes, swimming opportunities

Hike along the Horse Crossing trail across East Clear Creek in Arizona.

Starting from the trailhead, this well worn path descends through a pine forest down to the canyon bottom. After 0.75 miles, you reach the creek and a fork in the trail. To continue on the Horse Crossing trail, turn right here and follow along the creek. If you turn left here, there is a very nice swimming hole about 200 ft walk from this point. The swimming hole has a sandy beach and reasonably deep water. It's an excellent place to spend a few summer hours cooling off.

From the creek, continue right as the trail quickly disappears. You can either walk in the shallow creek itself, or stick to the right (North) side of the creek for about 0.1 miles where there is a place to cross without getting your feet wet. Once on the South side of the creek and after hiking 0.25 miles from where you first reached the creek, keep your eyes on the left (South) side of the canyon. You will see a side canyon start to open up. Six feet off the ground on one of the trees is a trail arrow sign (only about 6" x 6") showing the trail up the South side of the canyon. This is very easy to miss, so keep your eyes open.

The trail starts a steeper ascent of the South side of the canyon, eventually topping out after 0.5 miles of hiking to a forest road and the turn around point of this hike. When we did this hike, this point was unusually peaceful. This part of the trail looked to be sparsely traveled. There was significant evidence of animal activity here.

After enjoying the peaceful solitude, head back down the canyon to the creek. Watch your footing along the overgrown creek. When we did this hike, we interrupted a rattlesnake looking for his morning meal. He was polite enough to rattle and let us know we were too close so we could take a different route.

Backtrack to the pool, bring your swim suit (or not!) and enjoy the cool, refreshing dip. After you have thoroughly enjoyed yourself, head back up the North side of the canyon to your car.


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