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Backpacking trip in AZ
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Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Backpacking trip in AZ on 10/14/2013 12:04:05 MDT Print View

We had planned to do a small backpacking trip to introduce some kids to backpacking, but with the forest shutdowns, we need to have a back-up plan. We were originally planning on doing Horton's Creek, but I've heard they may have shut down the parking near the trailhead.

Any suggestions for a short 4-5 mile each way hike in Arizona that would have water?

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Backpacking trip in AZ on 10/14/2013 13:41:37 MDT Print View

I called the Payson Ranger's Office and a recording said that campgrounds are open so I am not sure that the parking lot for Horton Creek would be closed.

When are you planning your trip for? Some ideas for a short backpacking trip near water:

East Clear Creek: start at the Horse Crossing Trail or the Kinder Crossing Trail and explore the Canyon. Anywhere downstream of the Kinder Crossing Trail is excellent. There is no official trail for most of the way, but the hiking is pretty easy so long as you don't mind getting your feet occasionally wet. See here: for more info. I hiked this area just this last weeekend and the temps are starting to drop - lows were in the mid 30s. The trailhead (which can be hard to find/reach) is a 90-minute drive from Payson. PM me if you have any questions.

Parsons Trail: this is another great hike near water that is exactly 4 miles one-way. There are 4 or 5 river crossings and they are all ankle deep (except for the last one which is knee deep). Camping spots in the canyon are limited. See here:

East Baldy Trail: this is one of my favorite trails in AZ. It is a short and easy 4-mile hike beside the Little Colorado River to several excellent camping spots. This hike is in the White Mountains so the weather will be much cooler than near Payson. I would check the forecast in Greer for estimated temps.

Edit: someone posted a photo-set of Horton Creek from Oct 13th ( so the trail seems open. It is probably your best option if introducing kids to backpacking.

Edited by johnnyh88 on 10/14/2013 13:47:14 MDT.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Backpacking trip in AZ on 10/14/2013 18:08:20 MDT Print View

Maybe Chevelon Canyon -- perennial stream, very pretty, and near Payson...

Rebecca Canode
(bcanode) - F
Thanks for the suggestions on 10/14/2013 18:36:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm tempted to drive up there tomorrow to see what is open. When we call the Tonto Ranger Station the message said that everything was closed. Maybe the shutdown will end and we won't have to worry about it.