Best Loop Hikes Arizona
by Bruce Grubbs (The Mountaineers Books)
© Bruce Grubbs/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Nice, but made the mistake of doing this on Labor Day weekend...big mistake!
Absolutely beautiful hike. Drive time, starting at 4 am (Country Club & Southern, Mesa), was approx 1 hr 35 min. Hike was completed in about 5 hrs 50 min. Probably would have made it in 5 but kept stopping for side trips, pictures, and of course, lots of resting. Temp at 6 am was predicted to be 57, hitting 83 by noon. Did learn the hard way that a clockwise direction is NOT the way to go. Go counter and get the more difficult Highline Tr over with - while you’re fresh, awake and ready to go. As a reward, heading back on the Horton Cr Tr you’ll have the sound of the creek accompanying you all the way. Heading out on Horton Cr Tr, it took us 2 hrs 5 min to reach the Highline junction. After hanging around here for a bit, we crossed the creek and continued on. The Highline got a bit murky and uncertain at times, so keep an eye out for metal diamond trail markers nailed to the trees. They were few & far between, however, so be careful and watchful. And beware the footing! 2 hrs 5 min after beginning the Highline portion, we came across a real marker. A wooden sign pointing uphill, marking a ¾ mi jaunt to Promontory Butte. We had enough climbing for the day and said “no thanks”, continuing southward, looking forward to a good hearty meal. 30 min later another wooden sign appeared noting Derrick Tr, Kohl’s Ranch & Highline. 45 min past that we reached yet another wooden sign, this one noting Derrick, Highline, and the Upper Tonto campground. Keep walking and 15 min later you’ll reach the junction for Derrick Tr. Turn right (west) and you’re minutes away from your car and a well-deserved breakfast or lunch – or both! The parking lot was full by the time we got back. Cars were lined up along the rd and one was parked cattywompous, preventing two other vehicles from being able to leave. I can’t wait to do this hike again, next time counterclockwise and maybe in the fall, to see the colors changing. Definitely a do-over.
This trail is fun and relativly easy to hike. I brought my 3 year old son along and carried all his gear for him. We also had my 5 year old son that was carrying a small backpack. Their little legs could only take them about 3 miles back but they had the times of their lives. The scenery is gorgeous surround by nature and a decent sized creek running along the trail. We ended up taking many detours to the creek and into the nerby woods just for fun. When we choose a site that had been used before we were close to the creek and surrounded by the woods. The only bad thing is I noticed alot of dead trees that have fallen and many trees dying from bark beetles so I was aware of where my kids were at all times to not play around dying trees they can tip or 100lb limbs can fall off and kill someone.
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