The Seductive Call Of A Cascade
"Being a waterway in Arizona is often a seasonal job. "Some creeks run as feisty as an over-caffeinated terrier during rainy times and lie around in sandy pajamas the rest of the year. Horton Creek is no part-timer. It goes non-stop, tumbling in a furious rush through a rich forest at the base of the Mogollon Rim. Needless to say, that combo makes for a spectacular day of hiking.
The trail starts at the Upper Tonto Creek Campground, following an old wagon road. It parallels the stream, yet is slightly removed from it. While this is a fine, shady ramble beneath Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and an understory of juniper, oak and maple, the water beckons. A trace trail hugs the creek bank with filament pathways connecting the two.
When a seductive cascade calls you down to the water, you can clamber along the creek-side path. When you want slightly easier travel — not winding among rocks and downed logs — return to the wagon trail. The wagon road and trace trail stay in pretty close contact until the last half-mile. The wagon road gets steeper, crossing a rock-strewn segment, then launches into a few sharp switchbacks to a junction with the Highline Trail. This is today's stopping point. But first follow the sign pointing to the right to check out Horton Spring, the source of this picturesque little creek. Water gushes from the hillside, spilling over moss-covered boulders.
This is a wonderfully refreshing summer hike, and a favorite in autumn as well when things get gaudy up in here." ~ Roger Naylor - "Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook For Hungry Hikers"