Southeast of Camp Verde and north of Payson in the Tonto National Forest, the Highline National Recreation Trail is a 51 mile route located just south of the Mogollon Rim. The Highline Trail (#31) traverses steep, rocky rugged country that was once roamed by Geronimo and the site of many a skirmish between the Apaches and the U.S. Army.
Along the Highline National Recreation Trail, there are several trailheads to provide for short day trips or extended multi-day trips. But, before heading out on a multi-day adventure, keep in mind that water is very limited along the route especially in warmer months.
The westernmost trailhead is located just east of the town of Pine on SR87/SR260. The easternmost trailhead is located on SR260. As mentioned, there are several other trailheads along the way and also several spur trails heading up the Mogollon Rim, which as especially rocky and steep. One of the more popular spur trails is the Pine Canyon Trail #26 that starts right from the westernmost Pine Trailhead.
To reach the Pine Trailhead for the Highline National Recreation Trail from Payson, head north on US87 for 15 miles to FS297. Turn right heading north on FS297. The trailhead is well marked.
To reach the Two-Sixty Trailhead from Payson, head north on US87 to SR260. Head east on SR260. The trailhead is a total of 27 miles from Payson. The trailhead is well marked.
Overall, Highline National Recreation Trail is the 5th most popular hiking trail of all 49 hikes in Arizona.