504A Club Dr, Payson, AZ 85541


Houston Mesa Trail - Payson Area Trails System (PATS)

View of the Granite Dells from the Houston Mesa Trail in Payson, AZ
Granite Dells View Houston Mesa Trail                 


The Houston Mesa Trail or Houston Trail is a 4.2 mile one way hike from the Houston Mesa Trailhead to the Chaparral Ranch Trailhead.  The trail follows the northern edge of the Town of Payson and is part of the Payson Areas Trail System.  The trail also intersects with the Houston Loop Trail which is a 5.1 mile loop that begins near the Chaparral Ranch Trailhead.  The trail is not open to motorized vehicles from the Houston Mesa Trailhead, but motorized vehicles do access the east end of the trail via the Houston Loop Trail. 



Wildlife Grazing Gate on Houston Mesa Trail in Payson, AZ
Wildlife Grazing Gate                                              

The Hike

The trail itself weaves through a juniper pine forest providing occasional views.  The forest floor is covered by manzanita.  You will encounter a couple of wildlife gates near the Houston Mesa Trailhead erected to benefit animal grazing habitat.   The trail is open to hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding.  The Houston Mesa Trail is primarily soft dirt making it a good option for trailrunners.



Houston Mesa Trailhead in Payson, AZ
Houston Mesa Trailhead                        

Houston Mesa Trailhead

The Houston Mesa Trailhead is .8 miles east of Highway 87 on Houston Mesa Road.  This trailhead has a large parking area making it a good choice for groups or those with horse trailers. Motorized vehicle access to the Houston Mesa Trail is prohibited from this trailhead.



Chaparral Ranch Trailhead Houston Mesa Trail in Payson, AZ
Chaparral Ranch Trailhead                    

Chaparral Ranch Trailhead

The Chaparral Ranch Trailhead is located at the end of Chaparral Pines Drive off of Highway 260.  This trailhead is in a residential cul-de-sac giving it limited parking. The Chaparral Ranch Trailhead is also a main trailhead for the Houston Loop Trail.



Houston Mesa Trail in Payson, AZ
Payson Area Trails System (PATS)         

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.


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Where to find us

Chaparral Pines Office
504A N. Club Dr., Payson, AZ 85541

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

Rim Club Office
2101 E. Rim Club Dr., Payson, AZ 85541

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