Monument Peak Loop Trail is a multi-use 3.4 mile loop that is part of the larger Payson Area Trails System. The trail is located on the outskirts of Payson, Arizona and Star Valley, Arizona in the Tonto National Forest. The trail is well established and marked without much elevation gain making it a relatively easy stroll through the forest near the base of the Granite Dells. The trail has some sandy sections that can slow you up when mountain biking. If you are lucky you might see some local wildlife along the trail.
Monument Peak Loop Trailhead
The Monument Peak Loop Trailhead is located approximately 3.5 miles down Granite Dells Road from Payson, Arizona. Granite Dells becomes a dirt road that is maintained by the Forest Service. The road is rough in spots but passable with a 2 wheel drive vehicle. You will see a sign marking the trailhead on your left along with a cleared parking area that can accommodate a decent number of vehicles. If you reach the brown gate at the end of Granite Dells Road you have gone to far.
From the trailhead you can either head counter-clockwise by beginning near the trailhead sign, or head towards the wash at the west end of the parking lot to take the loop clockwise.
The Trail primarily weaves through the trees, but does feature some views of the Granite Dells to the south and the Rim to the north. The trail is relatively flat with a few hills making it a good choice for trail running. You will also cross over a few creeks that may or may not have running water and see some of the areas large granite boulders along the trail. At one point you pass near an open area just on the edge of Star Valley where you will see a large Star Valley Ranch.
There are many atv trails along the way that can lead you off the path, but continue to look for the Payson Area Trails Signs to help you stay on course. The trees shade much of the trail which helps on warmer summer days.
The Payson Area Trails System (PATS)
The Payson Area Trails System (PATS) is the beginnings of a world-class trail system established by the Town of Payson to offer enhanced recreational opportunities for Rim Country residents and visitors. It utilizes detached pathways, existing sidewalks, and bike lanes in Payson to form an interior trail network. This trail network mostly follows the perimeter of the town and connects to Forest Service roads and trails in the Tonto National Forest area on Payson’s periphery. The trails are open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Some trails are open to off-road vehicles. The completion of the entire trail system is still in process.