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Willow Lake Loop Trail, AZ

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Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
Rated
3.2
3.2 of 5 by 6
 
1
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 5.45 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,160 feet
Elevation Gain -95 feet
Accumulated Gain 431 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.89
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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25  2019-09-02
Willow lake loop
MadCheshire13
12  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
The_Eagle
11  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
Tortoise_Hiker
11  2017-12-02
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
joebartels
7  2017-11-30 Peter_Medal
5  2016-05-28
Constellation Willow Lake Loop
The_Eagle
31  2016-04-16
Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
rayhuston
19  2016-04-16
Constellation Willow-Watson Loop
The_Eagle
Page 1,  2
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Nov, Mar
Sun  6:14am - 6:34pm
Official Route
 
5 Alternative
 
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2012-10-24
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One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
The final leg of our 58 mile loop around Prescott, started at the Peavine TH in the low 40's.

The low morning sun cast intriguing shadows on the rocks and trees around Watson Lake. The lake was busy with waterfowl of all types. Willow Lake was just as thick with ducks and geese.

We climbed out of Willow Lake, to Emery Riddle and an RC plane doing aerobatics.

The middle section today was a pleasant mix of tall grasses, mixed conifer, rolling hills, and long views.

After lunch we made the final push ending in a gorgeous stand of pines.

It was great catching up after five weeks away from the gang.

Good times gentlemen :y:


Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Prescott Circle Trail - Act 3
We brought the PCT Trail full circle. Today was the 3rd leg Bruce created breaking the PCT into 3 reasonable segments for day hikes. I enjoyed the entire circle. That said this would be the area least appealing to most.

Started out in the first cold weather morning of the season. 'Twas spectacular skirting Watson & Willow lakes. The tail end of Autumn Foliage had the massive cottonwoods screaming y(h)ellow in the low morning sun.

The majority of the hike along Pioneer Pkwy, Williamson Valley Rd and a local neighborhood would unlikely interest the masses. Personally I enjoyed seeing how it connected but wouldn't be jumping for a redo.

We hiked this man club style doing each segment in the direction of the most aeg. Which was an appreciated group tactic to keep me from crying like a baby👶

Thx to B&D for setting up all the necessary shuttles!


Foliage
short section in the final stages, see description
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Constellation Willow Lake Loop
The convocation of Deb and I spent, a portion of the day playin' in the bolder wonderland of The Constellation Trail System and Willow Lake.

I was surprised to still see the Cormorants in the Huge Cottonwood tree, on the Cottonwood Spur trail. I counted at least 8 nests in that tree with 16+. The roosting noises they make are a cross between the oinking of a pig and the noises penguins make. Kind of eerie actually.

There are endless possibilities out here, with the two lakes in close proximity to each other and all the bolder exploring you could do.

It got a little warmer than the forecast high I believe, but the breezes kept it tolerable.
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Constellation Willow-Watson Loop
Joe through a dart at the Constellation Trail system and said, come up with something. I didn't know anything about this "Little Gem" so I started downloading stuff. There are 11 trails in the Constellation Trail system, totaling less than 5 miles. So that wasn't going to make the drive to Prescott worth it. I'd looped Watson lake before and enjoyed the heck out of it. I'd always wanted to loop Willow Lake also, so it was on.

The Constellation Trail System is a wonderful group of of short trails through a boulder wonderland. Officially it's a self-enclosed system. But as we found on the way back, there is a trail that connects this with the Willow Dells system and Willow Lake. The Ron James Approach Trail does not show to connect on the maps, but it does. There is no signage and it's not obvious though.

All but the east side of Willow Lake looked like just a means to connect the loop, but then we stumbled on the Cottonwood Spur. Some of the biggest Cottonwood stands I've seen. `

Willow Lake Video :next: https://youtube.com ... YbKg
Back on the Jan Alfano Trail and then we jumped over to Watson Lake, to do the loop there.

Watson Lake Video :next: https://youtube.com ... CTBU

The highlight on this loop is the Lakeshore Trail and the Over The Hill Trail, taking you to the Granite Creek Dam.

Granite Creek Dam, Watson Lake Video :next: https://youtube.com ... nVp0
A little road walk got us back over to the Willow Dells Trails.

Once again the hiking was great, except for 1/2 hour bug storm we ran through.

I really enjoyed looping these two Granite infested lakes, and the weather was perfect!

A great time out with the Squad.

On the day....A Gopher snake, Squirrels, Cottontail rabbits, Cormorants, all sorts of Ducks, Bluejays, Blue Herons, A hawk diving out of the sky right in front of us snagging a bird.
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
The more I hike around Prescott, the more I like it. Joe tossed out a starting point (the Constellation trails) for this hike and Bruce filled out the rest. The result is a gem. A beautiful granite landscape dominates a big chunk of the hike while giant cottonwoods add variety and splendor along the way. The weather, while a bit windy at times, was perfect otherwise. We did have to improvise to connect the dots, but it worked out well. Lots of large swarming gnats chased us around the east side of Willow Lake on the return, but that was a minor inconvenience for a few minutes on an otherwise great hike.

Bruce and Joe, thanks for inviting me along. As always, I had a tremendous time!
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
Last summer I spent several hours tracing up the constellation trails. Driving by the area intrigued me so I looked it up online. Prescott is dialed in on being a trail friendly community and it shows in all the details.

On a whim I remembered and mentioned it to Bruce. He made it sing adding in Willow and Watson lakes. Prescott hadn't been an area that intrigued me much other than Granite & Groom. It's been growing on me a little over the years.

Yesterday I pulled a leg muscle. This seemed easy enough that I could hobble it out with a trekking pole.

The Constellation Trails are well marked with "you are here" maps at major junctions. The area was popular on this chilly April morning and on our return with more families. If you're an avid hiker with family/friends that get bored/whiny after a mile or two they might enjoy a little loop through this disneyland of granite.

Bruce sold the Willow leg as the boring part of the hike. We all enjoyed it more than expected. Temps and a little jaunt through huge cottonwoods on the peninsula did the trick.

Like all of the loop I'd never been to the famed Watson Lake. Seems like everyone gets a great photo here and now I know why. Aravaipa Running had an event going on. Ray and I held back a tad as Bruce hiked by the onlookers and through the finish line backwards. They cheered finishers coming in and didn't yell at him so we proceeded. A minute or two later I was standing at the postcard shot of the lake. Not a cloud in the sky when we started but they raced in just as we arrived. After marveling the scene I noticed the perfect snow capped San Francisco Peaks back yonder. Wow... forwards, backwards and upside-down Mom!

We lunched overlooking Granite Creek just before the dam. Squads were out enjoying the weekend lake vibes. After lunch Bruce escorted us over to the dam. Water shoots out from high above. It would be really nice on a hot day. Continuing on is a cottonwood paradise high above the creek. This would be another great area to take non hiking friends for an hour of piddling around as parking is near.

To make the loop work we needed to cross private property. Got lucky as a man was taking out trash to the garbage. Ray asked the REI shirted gentleman and our dream loop came true.

This hike put Prescott on the map for me.

Wildflowers
some indian paintbrush, nothing else rings a bell
Willow Lake Loop Trail
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There was plenty to explore here, my favorite part was playing follow the leader up a 50' narrow walled-in section of trail, rock walls flanked the sides. Wendi didn't like it because the leader was a snake that stayed a head of us, moving in an out of hiding in the tall grass that occupied what ever little remaining earth not occupied by trail.
There is also zoo, if interested, and an archaeological site dating to around A.D. 900-1100. We accessed the archaeological which are covered and signed to tell you what you're looking at.

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page created by joebartels on Oct 24 2012 6:33 pm
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