504A Club Dr, Payson, AZ 85541


See Canyon Trail #184







Dennis Riccio at See Canyon Trail near Payson, Arizona
Dennis Riccio                                                

See Canyon Trail is a scenic out and back trail that follows beside a clear mountain stream through a lush green forest to the top of the Mogollon Rim.  The trail is best used from March through November as the area does get snow because of the elevation.  The trail can be accessed from Christopher Creek below or the #300 road on the Mogollon Rim above.  The trail is open for hiking and horses.  Mountain bikes are allowed but would have a tough time making the final ascent up the Rim.  There are also many downed trees along the path.  The nearby cell tower in Christopher Creek means that you will potentially have cell service for much of the hike depending on your carrier.  I get excellent cell signal with Verizon along this trail.  Dogs are able to use the trail provided they are on a leash.


See Canyon Trail

See Canyon Trail Highline Trail intersection near Payson, Arizona
See Canyon/Highline Trail Intersection

See Canyon Trail is 9 miles round trip include the side trip to See Springs.  It connects the Highline Trail below the Mogollon Rim with Forest Road 300 on top of the Rim.  The distance is 3.5 miles each way on the See Canyon Trail and 1 mile round trip to See Springs. The trail is a relatively easy hike but rated as difficult primarily because of the sharp elevation gain about 1/2 mile just below the Mogollon Rim.  Good shoes would be helpful for the loose rock on the steeper portions of the trail.  There is also a 1 mile round trip spur trail to See Springs if you choose to take it either on the way up or the way down.  The trail ends at the Mogollon Rim with a limited view.  The best scenery is the flowing creek through the think Ponderosa Pine forest covered with ferns along the way.  You will cross the creek several times during the hike.

See Canyon Trail along Christopher Creek near Payson, Arizona
Lush Shaded Forest along Christopher Creek.    

This is a beautiful hike through a thick forest setting.  You will need to cross the creek several times.  The forest floor is covered with bright green ferns and other foliage. The thick ponderosa pine forest and the canyon walls provide a fresh pine scent and continual shade.  The sound of the flowing creek completes the rain forest atmosphere.  The forest is going to be the most lush in the spring and has brilliant colors in the fall as the leaves change.

The mid to late summers bring afternoon monsoon storms, but also wild blackberries and raspberries if you are lucky enough to find them.



See Canyon Lower Trailhead near Payson, Arizona
Lower Trailheard near Christopher Creek

See Canyon Trailheads

There are trailheads located at both ends of the See Canyon Trail. 

The lower trailhead is accessed by a 2 mile dirt road outside of Christopher Creek.  This road is accessible for 2 wheel drive vehicles.  There is dispersed camping along the road and a parking lot with restroom facilities at the trailhead.  By starting at lower trailhead you will need to ascend the steep climb up the Mogollon Rim about half way through the hike.  

See Canyon Upper Trailhead near Payson, Arizona
See Canyon Upper Trailhead


The upper trailhead is located just off Forest Road 300 along the top of the Rim and is accessible by a dirt road which will accommodate a 2 wheel drive car.  By starting at the top you will need to complete the ascent up the Mogollon Rim at the end of the hike.  Because both trails are accessible by vehicles, hikers that only wanted to hike one way or avoid the steep climb up the Rim could do so by placing a second vehicle at the other trailhead and shuttling back.




See Springs near Payson, Arizona
Waterfalls at See Springs

See Springs

About 1 mile into the hike you will see a fork in the trail and a sign indicating 1/2 mile to See Springs.  This hike follows along the creek to the See Springs area.  See Springs is not a distinct landmark, but you will find some water coming out of a rock in the side of the mountain. If you hike just over the hill in the forest to the left you will see a series of many waterfalls and another creek that is a separate water source.


From Payson to the lower trailhead - head east on Highway 260 approximately 20 miles to the Christopher Creek turnoff.  Turn left and head into Christopher Creek to Forest Road 284.  Turn Left on Forest Road 284 and head 2 miles to the See Canyon Trailhead.  

From Payson to the upper trailhead - head east on Highway 260 approximately 27 miles and turn left on Rim Road/Forest Road 300 (Woods Canyon Lake Turnoff).  Follow Forest Road #300 until you see the signs for the See Canyon Trailhead.



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504A N. Club Dr., Payson, AZ 85541

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600 E. Hwy 260, Ste #11, Payson, AZ 85541

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