Horton Creek Trail

State: Arizona
Location: Tonto National Forest
Length, One-Way: 4 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Best Season: Year-Round
Difficulty: Easy
Usage: Light

Trail Information

The Horton Creek Trail (#285) is probably the most popular trail on the Payson Ranger District. The trail starts from the Upper Tonto Creek Campground, and winds to Tonto Creek where there is plentiful fishing available. From the picnic parking area, cross the bridge over Tonto Creek, then cross to the north side of the road. Drop down to the creek and find a route across to the other side. From here, follow the trail along the stream and you will soon see a sign for Horton Springs, 4 miles.

For the first couple of miles, the trail remains close to the stream and you can hear the running water. The road that the trail has been following leaves the stream to the left and the trail begins to climb a bit more steeply. After another mile, you will notice trails entering from the right. On the way back you may wish to follow one of these down along the stream. Continue to follow the trail uphill.

At the 3.5 mile mark you will see some signs directing you to the right for Horton Springs. It is slightly downhill to the stream from here. Soon you will see the streambed and fenced area. To the left are the two springs that form the origin of this creek. Try to get as close to each of the springs as you can. The water pours out of rather large holes in the side of the hill.

Return the way you came, or take some of the side trails to follow closer to the stream. You really can’t get lost and if the going gets too difficult, just head away from the stream and uphill to return to the main trail.


From Payson:
Travel east on Highway 260 to Forest Road 289. The Horton Creek Trail starts at the Upper Tonto Creek Campground.

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