Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Recommended supplies and information:

  • Bring at least 80 ounces (about 2 liter) of water
  • Water Purification System (water sources are available)
  • Electrolyte Energy Tablets
  • Trekking Pole
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • GPS
  • Camera

Approximate Trekking information:

Total Distance Hiking Round Trip: 3.38 Miles (5.4 km)

Elevation at base 7,320 ft to 7,612 ft: 292 ft Ascension Climb

Elevation at base Metrics: 2,231 meters to 2,320 meters: 89 meters Ascension Climb

Temperature for June 21, 2016: 77.9 F to 70.2 F / 25.5 C to 21.2 C


Babe Haught Trailhead from Rt. 300, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

A Natural Paradise

The name, “Babe Haught” is referring to an early pioneer of Arizona who blazed a trail while moving goods and supplies through the Mogollon Rim to Winslow, AZ.

Although I did not hike the entire trail, I chose to trek from the rim road Babe Haught Trailhead down to Knoll Lake. Earlier in the morning I was exploring other infrequently travelled off-shoot trails on my mountain bike. Once arriving at the trailhead, I hid my bike in the woods off trail and began to descent on foot to the lake.


Babe Haught Trail Tree Marker, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona


Babe Haught Trail Pine Trees, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

The trail is thickly forested and shaded as well as marked with large and viewable cairns along the way. I was impressed by the serene and very clean environment. The trail itself is mainly covered with pine needles and leaves (some smooth rocky areas), but the path is very visible most of the way (becomes a little confusing nearing the lake area).

Since the one way hike to the lake is fairly short (about 1.5 miles from Rim Road), I was surprised by all the variety of nature this trail had to offer. Starting off with thick shaded woods, glimpses of  narrow green grassy meadows, and pockets of wet shallow streams, Babe Haught Trail ended in grazing wetlands with great camping opportunities.


Babe Haught Trail Forest View, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

Fern Ground Coverage

Another beautiful aspect of Babe Haught Trail was the fern covered terrain surrounding the narrow path. Very green and expansive, the ferns transitioned the aromatic pine needle and pine cone forest into a lush, wet riparian sanctuary. The photo below will attest to the great contrasts in eye popping color.


Babe Haught Trail Fern View, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

Elk at Knoll Lake

Thoroughly delighted by the peacefulness and tranquility of the gradually descending trail down to Knoll Lake (a mere 292 ft / 89 meters), I was incredibly surprised to see an enormous elk grazing on the green wetland area adjacent to the lake. I wasn’t so surprised by seeing an elk, but basically in awe of the sheer mass, grace of movement and beauty of this creature in its natural habitat. A very inspiring sight!


Elk Spotted at Knoll Lake, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

Knoll Lake

After encountering the elk, I strolled through an opening of the trees and was greeted by a wonderful view from the southern most tip of Knoll lake. Further north the lake opens up into a significantly larger lake more popular for boating, fishing and canoeing. The southern tip of Knoll lake is quiet, giving it a more personal and secluded feel.

The lake was extremely clean with a few remnants of campsites in the surrounding area. There was no one at this part of the lake and it is definitely a location where lovers of nature and tranquility should photograph and further explore.


Knoll Lake Campsite View, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona


Knoll Lake Southern Tip View, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona


Grassy Embankment at Knoll Lake, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona

Final Thoughts

Absolutely, without a doubt, I will trek back onto the Babe Haught Trail and venture down deeper into Knoll Lake. The lake has so much to offer. Also, the trail is easy to hike and shaded making it tolerable to hike in the summer months of the Arizona heat.

I had the urge to venture further along the lake edge to exhibit more of the lakeside beauty. However, since I had already been mountain biking earlier in the day, I decided to wait and explore the area in its entirety in weeks to come. This has been one of my most inspiring treks in a long time. I am looking forward to seeing more of what Knoll Lake has to offer. Knoll Lake gives me the feeling of being my own personal and private sanctuary. Enjoy!

View all images of the trail:


View Complete Trekking Analysis One Way


View GPS Map and photo locations:


Babe Map

Trail Location, Mogollon Rim, Payson, Arizona


Traveling from Payson, AZ head east on Route 260. Pass through the town of Star Valley (beware of the radar cameras). Keep heading east on 260 for about 10 miles and take a left turn onto Route 300 (Rim Road). Continue on Route 300 for about 10 miles and the Babe Haught Trail sign will be on the right. Plenty of free parking in the area.