“A National Recreation Trail that allows for visits to multiple canyons between 260 TH and Pine TH.
— Tom Robson
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.