2012 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2014 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL14 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLEThiking archive
Scenic Drives Archive Photo
A walking stick adds balance and support on the Military Sinkhole Trail 179, which follows the road originally built by General George Crook.

© Nick Berezenko


>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.

Additional Reading expand
Arizona Hiking Guide Book

Our newest book, Arizona Highways Hiking Guide, is now available and features 52 of Arizona's best day hikes for winter, spring, summer and fall.

To order, call 800-543-5432
or visit our online store.


Trailhead Two-Sixty
Summer is the best time to explore the Mogollon Rim, and this trail — a favorite of Zane Grey — will take you into the heart of the area.

By JoBeth Jamison

I've never claimed to be a genius. As I get older, I'm finding that's a good thing. In fact, not claiming to be a genius is the closest I've come to actually being one.

Case in point: I read about a trail on the Mogollon Rim, called "Two-Sixty," that I thought would make a great hike. There were different accounts of it, though. Some sources said it was a couple of miles; others said the trail formed a long loop from which you could hop on and off — basically choosing your own adventure.

Nongenius that I am, I decided to go without much more investigation, except how to get to the trailhead.

I followed directions to the trailhead, but instead of finding Trail Two-Sixty, I found what seemed more like 260 trail options. No wonder everyone I talked to had never heard of the trail. It didn't exist — at least not there.

The key to my confusion was the Highline Trail, which starts at Trailhead Two-Sixty and roams along the base of the Rim, 51 miles to the Pine Trailhead at State Route 87. The trail was developed in the 1800s as a route connecting ranches and homesteads under the Rim. Designated as a National Recreation Trail in 1979, the Highline now affords outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to hop off and on, depending on how far and how hard they want to hike. Its various side trails, such as Drew, See Canyon, Promontory and others, were frequented by Western novelist Zane Grey during the 1920s. Now, they rolled out like a red-dirt carpet for this not-so-brilliant writer who'd mistaken the trailhead for the trail.

Because I'd gone all that way and was fully prepared for any kind of hike, and because all of the trails on the posted map were new to me, I decided to make the most of my poorly plotted outing and pick a route. On the map, I noticed that only one trail seemed to surmount the massive escarpment to the north. It was marked "Two-Sixty Trailhead/Military Sinkhole Trail #179." Instead of heading straight along the Highline, I took a right and headed northeast, upward into the rocky Rim wilderness to catch the view from the top.

Navigating portions of slick, red rock and gray limestone, the single-track trail led me through densely timbered slopes, and up and over the toes to the steep ankles of the escarpment. A slight breeze riffled through the branches of baby oaks, sultry-red manzanitas, and towering ponderosa pines and alligator junipers that seemed to stand like characters in an enchanted-forest fairy tale, so much so that I began looking around for the Seven Dwarfs. With an elevation change of nearly 1,000 feet in less than 3 miles, I hoped they might come along and carry me. But fate kept me on my feet while the trail's steep rises, bulbous rock outcroppings and occasional latticework of felled snags kept me on my toes.

Cloaked by trees most of the way, the spotty views to the south of Tonto National Forest were breathtaking, but nothing like the top where the gamble of an un-known trail and the labor of a steep climb paid off in spades. The trail terminus is just south of Forest Service Road 300. Along the edge of the mammoth earthly uprising, I could look out over what seemed like the entire southern half of Arizona. What started out as a dumb mistake had turned into dumb luck.

Trail Guideclick to expand

Map of Area

Length:
Approximately 2.5 miles one way
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Payoff: Great views and petroglyphs
Getting There: Drive 27 miles east of Payson on State Route 260 past Christopher Creek. Just beyond the sign for Trailhead Two-Sixty, turn left from the highway into the trailhead parking lot.
Travel Advisory: Use extreme caution when turning off the highway into the trailhead parking lot. There is no turn lane, and traffic moves very fast in both directions. Signal your intention to turn as soon as you see the sign. Avoid this hike during winter months or in the event of heavy rain on the Rim. Take plenty of water, snacks and a good map with a GPS device if possible. Do not hike alone.
Information: Payson Ranger District, 928-474-7900 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto
 
Leave No Trace Ethics:
  • Plan ahead and be prepared.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly and pack out your trash.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • >> Back to Hiking Archive


    Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

    Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

    Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

     

    Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

    Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

    Best of AZ50 of our favorite things around the state, including photography, nature, dining, adventure, lodging... [more]


    site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

    Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

    © Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.