This Forest Hike In Arizona Will Lead You To A Wonderland Of Waterfalls

Narnia in the desert.
Horton Creek In Arizona Is A Lush Green Landscape

If you're craving a woodland adventure, you can find one right inside the Grand Canyon state. Horton Creek in Arizona is a lush green landscape that leads you to wondrous waterfalls. You can spend the day exploring this nirvana and snap some epic photos.

Horton Creek outside of Payson, Arizona, features an easy 3.5-mile hike that follows a dreamy brook through towering trees.

As you wind deeper into the forest, you'll discover gorgeous waterfalls and mossy rocks that create a Neverland oasis.

A day pass costs $8 for the Tonto National Forest, and you can reach the trailhead at the Upper Tonto Creek Campground.

You can visit this desert oasis from April - October.

To reach the trailhead itself, you will take Highway 260 east from Payson for 17-miles. At mile marker 269, go north on Forest Road 289.

You can follow the trail north under massive pine trees and along the creek, which provides a relaxing soundtrack throughout your trek.

Along the way, you will pass a variety of tiny waterfalls tucked into the rocks of the flowing water.

You can stop off and spend a few minutes dipping your toes in the cool waters, or continue north to Highline Trail.

If you head to the right, you will eventually stumble across underground springs that cascade over the creek bed. The whole scene is nothing short of magical.

The hike is a little over 7 miles roundtrip, but the path is easy and only slightly steep.

You might even start to feel like you wandered into a modern-day Narnia filled with blooming wildflowers and ancient pine trees.

You'll want to save this spot in your maps to revisit time and again, even if it's just to prove it really exists.

Horton Creek

Price: $8

When: April - October

Address: Upper Tonto Campground, Payson, AZ

Why You Need To Go: You can explore lush mossy landscapes and babbling brooks topped off with stunning waterfalls.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.