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Christopher Creek - See Canyon

Christopher Creek along the See Canyon trail
Christopher Creek as seen from the See canyon trail
Crossing Christopher creek along the See Canyon trail
Christopher creek from the See Canyon trail
Crossing Christopher Creek on the See canyon trail
Hiking along the See Canyon trail
Wild Raspberries along the See canyon trail
Hiking the See Canyon trail
The See Canyon trail
Map: See Canyon Trail
Elevation Plot: See Canyon 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 the town of Christopher Creek, AZ (about 22 miles from Payson). The town is a little off the HWY-260, so follow the signs for the turn off. Once in the town of Christopher Creek, turn left on the signed FR 284. Take this dirt road (high clearance vehicle needed) about 1.5 miles to the well signed parking area. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead.
Christopher Creek
Mogollon Rim

Hike details

6.70 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
6.7 miles to the rim road and back again.
4.00 [Hours]
It took us about four hours with a 20 minute stop along the creek for lunch.
Elevation Change
4,200 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Gain
2,100 Total Elevation Gain [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 2100 ft gradual climb.
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back
Special Features


Best Season
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
Worst Season
  • January
  • February
  • December
Season Details
fall, summer, spring. Spring is nice because the creek is running very well from the snow melt. Fall would be nice to see the leaves changing color.
Date Hike completed
April 16, 2005


Solitude Details
Surprisingly, the parking lot had about 7 cars (plus a boy scout bus!) but we were the only ones on the trail.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
30 yr old Recommendation: Forest, running creek, and elevation all make for an enjoyable hike. This is a Moderate difficulty hike. It's always nice to hike next to a running stream.


Be Aware of
Some route finding, creek crossings, mosquitoes, sections of overgrown trail.

Hike along Christopher creek using the See Canyon trail on the Mogollon rim in Arizona.

This is a great hike to escape the Phoenix heat. The trailhead is well signed from the north side of the parking area. To get to See Canyon trail you will need to rock hop across the creek here to the East side of the creek. Right away, head left at the signed junction (JCT_1L) to stay on the See Canyon trail. The trail winds its way up See Canyon and stays close enough to Christopher Creek to entertain you with it's creek song. About 3/4 of a mile along the trail is a signed junction to See Canyon Spring trail branching to the right (JCT_2L). Stay left to stay on the See Canyon trail. This trail provides a good amount of shade due to the abundance of pine and oak trees. When we did this hike in the middle of April, it was after a very wet winter, so the creek was running very well. Several spontaneous springs were noted along the trail that emptied into the main creek. There was a good bit of deadfall blocking the trail in places, sometimes making it difficult to see where the trail is. When in doubt, check about 6 ft high on the trees for reflective markers that show the trail. We did this hike again in July and really enjoyed munching on the wild raspberries and strawberries along the trial.

As the trail gets closer to the Mogollon rim, the trail can become quite steep. Unfortunately, the forest hides most of the views during the hike up. Eventually, the hike flattens out again as it heads to the rim road (FR300) where it ends.

When we did this hike we had to deal with some mosquitoes as well as some overgrown sections of trail, so you should plan accordingly. Enjoy this spectacular hike!


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