Groom Creek Loop Trail #307

Groom Creek Loop Trail #307

Groom Creek Loop Trail #307 passes through idyllic stands of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak as it climbs to the top of Spruce Mountain. There are Douglas fir and a number of other cone-bearing species that thrive in the cool mountain conditions. There is a picnic area, restroom, and a lookout tower located at the top of the trail.

The first 3 1/2 miles are a very steady climb to the summit, which will end up to be about a 50/50 split, 50% running / %50 power hiking. Once reaching the top of Spruce Mountain #307 continues past the radio towers to begin the long gradual descent along Spruce Ridge. Most of the trail above 6,500 feet is very technical with large loose rocks, as well as lots of exposed tree routes. With a consistent pace (~14 min/mi) the 9 mile loop can be completed in about two hours.

Elevation: 6,329’ ft (low) – 7,693’ ft (high)
Length: 9 miles
Skill Level: Advanced

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
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Happy Trail Running
peace50h

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Forest Road #9401J

Forest Road #9401J

Forest Road (FR) #9401J is a steep rocky trail that climbs up out of Ponderosa pines exposing amazing views of Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain. FR #9401J is an inner trail that can be accessed from #327, #391, or #366.

The easiest route is to start at Cold Springs Trail #393 which connects to Potts Creek Trail #327. Potts Creek has lots of ups-and-downs, staying close to the stream at first, but soon dives into the woodlands through shady canyons, sun-washed meadows and a short burnt
section. #327 connects to a three-way junction for 327-391-9401J which allows access to a myriad trails near Thumb Butte. FR #9401J trail is to the left (west) which climbs quickly uphill toward the Sierra Prieta Overlook on the connecting #366. Forest Road #9401J is also one of the tougher race routes of the Whiskey Off Road.

#393 and #327 are very runnable, but once hitting the trail head of #9401J there is a very steady climb until reaching #366 toward the top of the Sierra Prieta ridge.

Elevation: 6,211’ (low) – 7,000′ (high)
Length: 11 miles (#393 -> #327 -> #9401J -> #366) (round trip)
Skill Level: Moderate

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
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Happy Trail Running
peace50h

Watershed Trail #299

Watershed Trail #299

Watershed Trail #299 travels upward through beautiful pinyon pine and juniper. The trail hits a junction with the Seven-Mile Gulch Trail #9854 to a mixed forest of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. On clear days amazing views of Bill Williams Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks can be seen to the north as well as Maverick Mountain and Mount Tritle to the south.

This trail hits you very hard, very fast. Your running pace will be reduced to fast power hike for the first quarter of a mile. The trail begins at Senator Highway and climbs several hundred feet over an open scrub oak covered hillside to Deer Lick Spring. Trail #299 turns south, rising sharply to Spruce Ridge. At nearly 6,900 feet this is the highest point along the trail and as one might expect, the views are spectacular. The first part of the trail is very technical with large boulders and granite rocks along the trail. As you reach the peak of the ridge the trail smooths out a bit, but is stays fairly technical to the end.

Elevation: 6,1874’ ft (low) – 6,874’ ft (high)
Length: 6.2 miles (roundtrip)
Skill Level: Advanced

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
Watershedtrail_directions

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Happy Trail Running
peace50h

Circle Trail #332

Circle Trail #332

Circle Trail #332 rises and falls over the hilly terrain of Arizona’s central highlands. Exposed slopes of chaparral and pinyon-juniper woodland are interspersed with shady groves of ponderosa pine where a variety of bird calls can be heard ringing out from among the trees. Great views of both Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain. This trail is another segment of the larger Prescott Circle Trail.

This trail is a lot fun to run with a nice set of switchbacks over ridges and around river beds. Since the elevation is fairly consistent throughout the entire trail, you can pretty much run the entire trail with very little hiking required. Some parts of the trail are more technical with the standard Prescott trails boulders and granite rocks on the trail, but overall a nice smooth trail.

Elevation: 5,787’ ft (low) – 6,082’ ft (high)
Length: 7.2 miles (roundtrip)
Skill Level: Intermediate

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
Circle Trail 332

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Happy Trail Running :-)

Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326 Loop

Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326 Loop

Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326 is part of a network of trails serving the Thumb Butte area. This trail begins in well-shaded pine forest and briefly meanders along the southern bank of Miller Creek before turning sharply and continuing uphill. As this trail climbs into higher country it enters more open terrain and there are some lovely views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

Several different trail routes can be created with the network of trails to make for a variety of very exciting trail runs. One very popular loop route is to start at the Thumb Butte Bypass trail #326 to climb the lower western ridge of Thumb Butte to connect to Garden Grove Trail #392. This trail quickly descents back down the ridge connecting to Miller Creek Trail #367. From #367 complete the loop by reconnecting back to the lower portion of Trail #326.

Elevation: 5,870’ ft (low) – 6,355’ ft (high)
Length: ~ 4 miles
Skill Level: Intermediate

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
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Happy Trail Running :-)

Goldwater Lake Trail #396

Goldwater Lake Trail #396

The Goldwater Lake trail #396 is a forested trail shaded by dense stands of ponderosa pine that occasionally give way to alligator juniper and chaparral-type vegetation. The trail has amazing views of Goldwater Lakes and the Bradshaw and Sierra Prieta ranges. Trail #396 climbs hills and ridges through a series of switchbacks over valleys green with Gambel oak.

Most of the trail is fairly smooth soft forest soil, but parts of the trail are more technical with boulders and beautiful white granite. The trail starts with a stead accent before reaching the top of the first ridge then drops down into Bannon Creek. Most of the trail is shaded by the dense ponderosa which provides great relief on hotter days.

Elevation: 5,658’ ft (low) – 6,160’ ft (high)
Length: 8.5 miles (round trip)
Skill Level: Intermediate
Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
Direction to Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415

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Happy Trail Running :-)

Granite Mountain Trail #261

Granite Mountain Trail #261

Granite Mountain Trail #261 is part of a network of trails serving the Granite Mountain Wilderness. This area is sanctuary for a diversity of wildlife, such as javelina, deer, foxes, as well as snakes, lizards, and a variety of Southwestern birds. The trail travels upward through open chaparral and boulders before climbing steeply into pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine forest. There are a number of remarkable vistas that offer breathtaking views of the city of Prescott, Thumb Butte, Mount Francis, Sierra Prieta, and Watson Lake. This trail goes past peregrine falcon nesting sites on the south flank of Granite Mountain.

The first 2 miles of the trail allow for a fairly quick paced run as you travel westward from the trailhead into the Granite Mountain Wilderness area. Once you reach Blair Pass the very steep rocky series of switchbacks slows your run to a slow trot or fast paced hike as you climb to the summit of Granite Mountain. The westside of Granite Mountain is showing some signs of recovery from the destructive Doce Fire last June, but it will take several more seasons for the full beauty of the granite forest to be restored.

Elevation: 5,596’ (low) – 7,220′ (high)
Length: 8 miles (round trip)
Skill Level: Advanced

Directions: Google Maps Driving Directions
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Happy Trail Running :-)

Mount Francis

Mount Francis

Mount Francis is a 7,110 feet (2,167 m) mountain which is part of the Sierra Prieta mountain range. The Sierra Prieta’s are a 14-mi (23 km), long mountain range in central-northwest Arizona. Mount Francis is the highest peak in the south which borders the Bradshaw Mountains.

To run to the summit of Mount Francis start at the Aspen creek Trail #48. After 2.7 miles turn right on to the East Copper Trail #260. Follow trail 260 until reaching the Mount Francis access road which will lead to the radio towers at the top.

The accent to the summit covers 4 miles of very steep technical trail. In the winter large portions of the shade cover sections of Aspen Creek trail are covered in snow. The trail climbs up over several smaller ridges as you move from the northern trail head around the eastern side to access the service road on the southwest side of Mount Francis.

Mount Francis provides amazing panoramic views of Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott, Granite Dells, San Francisco Peaks, Granite Mountain, and Skull Valley.

Elevation: 6,409’ (low) – 7,110′ (high)
Length: 8 miles (round trip)
Skill Level: Advanced

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Happy Trail Running :-)

Cold Springs Trail #393

Cold Springs Trail #393

Cold Springs Trail #393 in the Prescott National Forest climbs steeply from its trailhead on Copper Basin Road to a ridge toward Thumb Butte and the Sierra Prieta Overlook. On this run the trail still had a large amount of snow, but the warm high altitude sun of the day has started to melt most of the snow. The melting snow made the trail much more technical due to the ice and mud, but a lot of fun!

Elevation: 6,223’ (low) – 6,507′ (high)
Length: 3 miles (round trip)
Skill Level: Moderate

Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
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Happy Trail Running :-)

Season of the trail

Season of the trail

One of amazing things of living in a small mountain community filled with endless trails is with the change of each season a new trail is born. Now that winter is here the rocky very technical trails of the summer are reborn into amazingly fast trails that feel more like skiing than trail running. One such trail is the Centennial Trail.

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Happy Trail Running :-)

Aspen Creek Trail

Aspen Creek Trail

Now that I have ran the majority of the Mile High Trail System trails I have been having fun combining the trails to make more interesting runs. One of my frequent trail runs combines Aspen Creek Trail and Butte Creek Trail.

Aspen Creek Trail is a very technical one mile trail that follows a portion of Aspen Creek while paralleling the Hassayampa golf course. Like the Butte Creek Trail this trail is a very technical trail run with large boulders and sharp rocks to navigate as you make your accent up toward Hassayampa Village Ln. Once you reach the road you make a short decent toward Stricklin Park to connect to the Butte Creek Trail.

Elevation: 5500’ (low) – 5600’ (high)
Length: 2 miles (round trip)
Skill Level: Advanced

I live in west Prescott (1 mile from Aspen Creek Trail) so overall from my home these two trails are a nice 7 mile round trip run.

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Happy Trail Running :)

Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415

Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415

The Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415 is part of the Prescott Circle Trail and connects the Goldwater Lake Trail (#396) with the Aspen Creek Trail (#48). It is a mostly single track through pine forest and low scrub which gradually climbs by White Spar and Wolverton Mountain.

Running the single track part of the trail is mostly smooth switchbacks with a few rocks, but once you reach the service road up White Spar and Wolverton mountain it gets very technical with large sharp granite rocks over a very steep climb.

Elevation: 5,643’ ft (low) – 6,670’ ft (high)
Length: 11 mi (round trip)
Skill Level: Advanced
Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
Direction to Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415

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Happy Trail Running :)

Granite Gardens Trails

Granite Gardens Trails

Granite Gardens Trails is a network of trails with steep ups and downs. It mixes trail running, hiking, and bouldering with amazing views of the Granite Dells.

Elevation: 5,046’ ft (low) – 5,175’ ft (high)
Length: 1.5 mi
Skill Level: Advanced
Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
Directions

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Happy Trail Running / Bouldering :)

Iron King Trail

Iron King Trail

The Iron King starts in Prescott Valley and follows an old railroad bed from Glassford Hill Road into Granite Dells. The trail is 4 miles (one way) which connects with the Peavine Trail of Prescott.

The Iron King trail is a wide smooth trail that makes a slow accent from Prescott Valley to Prescott. During the heavy monsoon season the lower elevation parts of the trail can be muddy or washed out as the water collects toward the river bead near Glassford Hill Road. As you start the run you will be greeted by grazing antelope and cows as the trail cuts though open grasslands.

Elevation: 4997’ (low) – 5202’ (high)
Length: 8 miles round trip
Skill Level: Intermediate
Directions: Google Map Driving Directions
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Iron King

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Happy Trail Running :)

Jan Alfano to Willow Lake Trails

Jan Alfano to Willow Lake Trails

The Jan Alfano Trail is a part of a network of trails in northwest Prescott. The Jan Alfano Trail is a short switchback single track trail that connects to part of the larger Prescott Circle Trail. This trail is a large double track that runs along a narrow mesa. The Prescott Circle Trail connects to the Embry Riddle Trail which is another switchback track trail that drops down off the mesa under Willow Lake Road to connect to the Willow Lake Trails.

The network of trails provide amazing views of Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte, Granite Dells, and Willow Lake.

Elevation: 5120’ (low) – 5260’ (high)
Length: 4.5 miles round trip
Skill Level: Intermediate
Directions: Google Map Driving Directions

Directions

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Happy Trail Running :)

Vista Park Trails

Vista Park Trails

The Vista Park Trails System is a network of trails in the Prescott Lakes Community of northern Prescott. The trails are comprised of the Vista Trail, Panorama Trail, and Petroglyph Trail. The trails are very technical to run with sharp rocks and large boulders as you navigate to the top of the mesa.

The Vista Trail is a 6 ft wide trail which connects to the Panorama Trail. Once you reach the Panorama Trail it is a single track trail that climbs steadily up towards a mesa. The trail then intersects Solstice Dr, which is a short steep road climb that connects to the Petroglyph Trail. The Petroglyph Trail climbs the remainder of the way to the mesa top, where you can find unprecedented views of northern Prescott and a petroglyph site.

Elevation: 5200’ (low) – 5470’ (high)
Length: 2.5 miles round trip
Skill Level: Advanced
Directions: Downtown Prescott to Vista Park
directions

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Happy Trail Running :)

Peavine Trail

Peavine Trail

The Peavine trail was formerly a railway path built by the Santa Fe Railway in 1893 that was converted to the Prescott Peavine National Recreation Trail. The trail has amazing views of Watson Lake and Granite Dells, as well as, wildlife viewing along the entire trail.

The trail is flat with smooth soft dirt with very few large rocks. A great trail for doing longer faster training runs.

Elevation: 5160’ (low) – 5220’ (high)
Length: 12 miles round trip
Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced (running round trip)

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Happy Trail Running :)

Rancho Vista Trail

Rancho Vista Trail

The Rancho Vista Trail is a beautiful technically challenging trail to run in southwest Prescott. The trail starts at around 5600 feet and makes a very steep accent to over 6000 feet in just under .5 miles. The Rancho Vista Trail climbs over a series of switchback trails that take you above the tree line to reveal beautiful majestic views of all of Prescott and Bradshaw mountain range.

I ran about 1.5 miles up which took me into the Prescott National forest trails, which go on for miles. The trail is so steep in parts that you are doing a slow trot or fast hike, but running back down was amazingly fast and fun, you feel like an alpine skier jumping and sliding down the mountain.

Elevation: 5680’ (low) – 6052’ (high)
Length: .6 miles (one way) + Prescott National forest trails
Skill Level: Advanced
Directions: Google Maps: Rancho Vista Trail

Rancho Vista Trail

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Happy Trail Running :)

Watson Lake Loop Trail

Watson Lake Loop Trail

The Watson Lake Loop Trail circles Watson lake through a network of connecting trail segments. The Northshore trail covers rocky steep terrain, the Over the Hill trail covers rocky and slightly more moderate terrain, and the Peavine and Lower Granite Creek Trail are flatter softer trails.

The Watson Lake Loop Trail is an amazing and challenging trail run. I started the loop at the southern part of the lake on the Lakeshore segment of the trail which is a beautiful wooded section of the trail. The trail then moves though the network of trails that traverse the large granite boulders of the Dells. This is where the trail becomes very challenging as you climb and jump across rocks as you make your accent around the northern part of Watson Lake.

Elevation: 5075’ (low) – 5237’ (high)
Length: 4.79 miles
Skill Level: Advanced

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