Trail Run Project Logo

Highline Trail #31 (NRT)



49.9 mile 80.2 kilometer point to point
89% Runnable


Ascent: 6,929' 2,112 m
Descent: -8,245' -2,513 m
High: 6,920' 2,109 m
Low: 5,363' 1,635 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 50% (27°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Steve Jackson

A National Recreation Trail that allows for visits in multiple canyons between 260 TH and Pine TH.

Steve Jackson

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife


The Highline National Recreation Trail includes scenic vistas of rim canyons, brush-filled hills and far-off mountains. Unusual rock formations and wonderful stands of Ponderosa pine line this epic trail. Take note, however, how fire has sculpted this environment. Fire proves an important aspect of this wild environment. The Dude Fire of 1990 burned portions of the forest along the Highline Trail; thus, this trail is an ideal place to observe how our forests renew themselves after a burn event.

The Highline Trail, established in 1870, was used to travel between homesteads and to attend school in Pine. Zane Grey (famous author) and Babe Haught (western pioneer) used the Highline Trail while hunting.

From See Canyon Trailhead, this trail ascends to the Mogollon Rim. If you start this trail from Horton Springs, make sure to fill up with water there as there are rarely other opportunities along the way. Luckily, the Horton Springs are amazing. You are in the dry southwest and the water starts right out of the rocks.

The area is quite popular and we ran into many visitors who were also enjoying the springs. I was told by a ranger that these springs are a result of water that comes from the top of the Mogollon Rim.

In contrast to the See Canyon Trail, this trail has a definite southwestern feel to it. On this portion of the trail, visitors will start in pine forest and then move into juniper and manzanita. During the second half of the trail, the earth and rocks become red and there are some cactus along the trail. This portion is relatively flat.

There were a few unmaintained trails we found that go to the top of the rim. A few of these are listed on old USGS topo maps, but it's best to stick to the main trail to avoid erosion and damage.

Flora & Fauna

Saw a hummingbird, not sure what species

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Runner Notes

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


Jun 2, 2019
Matt Ellsworth

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 4 votes


  4.0 from 4 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Arizona


45 Views Last Month
1,660 Since Feb 16, 2016



Yes, this is Arizona! My favorite section of the loop.
May 13, 2019 near Star Va…, AZ
A few miles to go. Weather can change quick on the Rim. Sunny to rain to hail to lighting, back to rain....
May 13, 2019 near Star Va…, AZ
The rim towers above you.
Feb 2, 2019 near Pine, AZ
Result of the 2017 Highline fire. You can see the burned area to the right and unburned area to the left. The trail was widened to make a fire break in this area, so you often walk right down the border of the burned and unburned areas.
Feb 2, 2019 near Star Va…, AZ
Horton Creek
Nov 20, 2017 near Star Va…, AZ
Feb 11, 2016 near Star Va…, AZ


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running