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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Potts Creek Trail #327, AZ

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Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
3.7 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 3.65 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,416 feet
Accumulated Gain 290 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.62
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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10  2019-04-20
Thumb Butte - Potts Creek to West Spruce
7  2019-04-20
Thumb Butte - Potts Creek to West Spruce
15  2018-08-25
Prescott Circle Trail - Trail #393
20  2018-05-12
Mount Francis - Williams - Thumb Butte Loop
10  2017-10-28
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 2
13  2017-10-28
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 2
15  2017-10-28
Prescott Circle Trail - Act 2
15  2017-05-06
Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
Page 1,  2
Author MEWhiteman
author avatar Guides 40
Routes 91
Photos 790
Trips 351 map ( 2,703 miles )
Age 75 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Sep, Apr → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:18am - 6:27pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
A Walk in the Pines
by MEWhiteman

Likely In-Season!
The Potts Creek Trail (#327) south of Thumb Butte is part of the Prescott Circle Trail (PCT). This trail runs from FR51 to the Cold Spring Trail (#393) and provides the link on the PCT between the Circle Connection Trail (#322) and #393. Originally it followed an old road but has been rerouted in many places onto a single track to avoid eroded areas and to make it more interesting. The hike is completely in a pine forest providing lots of shade and is away from civilization except for one camp seen in the distance near the south end. There are intersections with many other trails in the Thumb Butte area providing opportunities for loop hikes.

The Hike
This hike is described hiking from FR51 to trail #393. Hike east from the trailhead on FR51 indicated by a carsonite post. All the mileages are measured from this point. Along the way are a couple of dispersed, designated campsites. At 0.12 miles (N34 31.625 W112 32.592) you reach a gate across the road. Trail #327 begins at this point. There is parking for a car or two just before the gate. Continue on the road past the gate. At 0.27 miles (N34 31.617 W112 32.448) there is a fork with #327 going to the right. The Thumb Butte Bypass Trail (#326) goes to the left. The first mile of the trail winds back and forth across the road, sometimes following it for short distances, and loses elevation. At 0.57 miles (N34 31.495 W112 32.411) bear right to join the road and at 0.76 miles (N34 31.482 W112 32.226) turn left to leave the road. At 0.96 miles (N34 31.522 W112 32.160) turn sharp left to join the road. At 1.25 miles (N34 31.650 W112 31.963) bear left to leave the road and at 1.28 turn left to join the road again. At 1.39 miles (N34 31.661 W112 31.831) pass the junction with the Circle Connection Trail (#322) which is part of the PCT.

At 1.54 miles (N34 31.688 W112 31.689) pass the junction with the Butte Creek Trail (#321). .02 miles after passing this junction turn right to leave the road at an unmarked junction and begin the gradual climb to the end. At 1.71 miles (N34 31.686 W112 31.620) turn right to join the road again. Shortly pass the junction with the Rancho Vista Trail (#387) (N34 31.637 W112 31.574) on the left and 0.06 miles later (N34 31.596 W112 31.593) pass the junction with FR51A on the left. At about 2.3 miles you'll pass an old road on the right. At 2.40 miles (N34 31.211 W112 31.788) turn right onto another unmarked single track leaving the road. At 2.48 miles (N34 31.163 W112 31.785) reach a junction with the High Valley Ranch Trail (#391) and FR9401J. Trail #327 goes just to the right of #391 on a single track. The trail numbers for #327 are on the backs of the carsonite posts for #391 and FR9401J. The trail is now single track to its terminus. At 2.58 miles cross the road. At about 2.7 miles, 3.3 miles and 3.4 miles cross drainages. At 3.65 miles (N34 30.636 W112 31.881) reach the end of the Potts Creek Trail and the north end of the Cold Spring Trail (#393).

Accumulated elevation gain is 290' southbound and 462' northbound.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-07-14 MEWhiteman

    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
    Potts Creek Trail #327
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Prescott Circle Trail - Act 2
    Hike 104 with Denny and 274 with Joe had us on Act 2 of 3 for us on the Prescott Circle Trail.

    Perfect weather and many first time trails for me.
    All of these trails for the most part are impeccably kept.

    Javelina #322 starts on a nice smooth ole road that meanders through the pines and an old homestead.

    Garden Grove #392 is much better in the spring with the trickling creek next to you, but is still very nice.

    Potts Creek 327 and Cold Springs 393, both have some real pretty areas, especially around the Camp Stein area.

    Aspen Creek trail #48 is a gentle climb through the pines getting to the Wolverton Mountain Trail #9415.

    We went up the spur road to the Wolverton Summit. It affords some great views of the surrounding areas.
    [ youtube video ]
    Getting to the Wolverton Summit was a little bit of a bushwhack for us. It appears on Sat. view , that someone has cut another option that we SHOULD have tried, but thought was going in the wrong north direction off the peak.

    I've been on Goldwater Lake Trail #396 numerous times and I'll be back to that one. Just a beautiful walk through the hillsides with tons of shady pines, smooth roller coaster trails, and views of the lakes. It's a fun area to explore if you get a chance. It will not be without people though, for those of you that dislike humanity.
    Potts Creek Trail #327
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Prescott Circle Trail - Act 2
    As always trail segments above are in the order hiked. After an initial trailhead photo I did not take another worthy candidate until 12 miles into the hike midway through Wolverton Mountain Trail #396. Which was off the official trail on a short scratchy jaunt to the summit of the namesake. Which had a nice bench for our lunch.

    Garden Grove Trail #392 & Aspen Creek Trail #48 nurtured my higher ranking in late spring when water flowed in the creeks. Still a nice forest stroll anytime.

    Goldwater Lake Trail #396
    The highlight of the day, possibly the entire circle trail. If you live for best of, lack time or really don't care for the hiking part of hiking this is your ticket. Well at least the eastern half anyhow. Easy rolling trails, pines galore with happy oaks and lake views to tickle your fancy.

    I enjoyed the hike in full with fab company. The short side trip up Wolverton was worthy. Autumn appeared to be singing high notes a week earlier. 56.9 ounces of water was 4-8 short but close enough. Ending a 21 mile hike with a 1.8 lb pack is pretty sweet. Keep reaching for the stars @te_wa! Okay I cheated... Thx to Denny for carrying my long sleeve shirt after it warmed up. We saw a good variety out recreating along the trail!

    tail end of what looked to be a great display of primarily gambel oak
    Potts Creek Trail #327
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    Aspen Creek #48 2nd Fav!
    The hike started out with a babbling creek and towering happy pines. A mile out-n-back on this would suit 94%. We only hiked 1.5 miles of the 6 mi before heading off trail. It appears pines are with you for the top 3 miles of this gem.

    Mt Francis Area
    My legs are still screamin' tender from Gun Creek mafia style beatings so I wasn't thrilled about any offtrail. I put my health aside and tried to lighten up. We both got lucky, it was pretty easy to the towers around 7,100 ft. Great views. Didn't hit the official peak a smidgen higher.

    West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    Roughly a 2.4 mi walk to West Spruce. Passed a couple dozen Whiskey Row Marathon runners. Most were crawling with running arm gestures. All were friendly and returned hellos!

    We only hiked a little of West Spruce before following a fading road to Williams Peak just over 7,000 ft. Bruce had a final offtrail piece that didn't look good so he changed the loop a bit to accomodate my well being. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, nice guy!

    Thumb Butte bypass #326
    We followed FR373 about 2.4 mi then 0.25 mi on FR51 to the end of Thumb Butte bypass #326 nary a crowd has seen. Most loops in the South Butte Area would include this trail in part or whole. If you do not require bells-n-whistles like peaks, creeks nor a destination this is mighty fine tall pine hiking.

    Garden Grove #392 1st Fav!
    We hiked this top to bottom. Views of Granite Mountain are majestic. Meadowish in the middle with I'm guessing a seasonal creek that is a tributary to Miller Creek. Sold!

    Interestingly I hiked this downhill seven years ago with @JimmyLyding and sorta met an idol
    The day before I hiked with johnr1 to Miller Peak
    The previous day was my first outta town hike with The_Eagle
    Days earlier I hiked with Groth, SuperstitionGuy and the world famous AndreyP

    Miller Creek #367
    According to FS stelprd3811790.pdf we did not hike this trail. It's up for debate. Bruce included it. He claimed a peak last week we didn't summit either. I'm only correct 4% of the of the time and might have a 10% shot at this one so pardon the gloat.

    Thumb Butte Trail #33 3rd Fav!
    Wow my first hike on this iconic crowd pleaser. It has a 1960's National Park quality feel.

    Potts Creek #327 & Cold Springs #393
    Great perkless tall pine stolling.

    It was nice to hike the mythical lure of dancing pines on a cool spring day most seek.
    Potts Creek Trail #327
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    After last weeks hike/injures, Joe asked me to put together Something "On Trail" and "No Water".

    I drew up the Scottsdale Green Belt, he complained "Too Much Water".
    So back to the drawing board.

    I picked an area in Prescott, West and South of Thumb Butte and put together some choices.

    There are tons of trails up here, most in the pines, most on friendly grades and well marked trails. Real Trails.

    After making our way through the detours associated with the now in progress Whiskey Row Marathon, we started at the Aspen Creek Trailhead.

    Aspen Creek #48
    What a gem in the pines. We were only on it for 1.6 miles before starting our only off trail section. I want to hit the rest of this trail sometime.

    Climb to Mt. Francis Area
    .4 mile and 300' AEG off trail to get to an old Forrest Road climbing to the towers around the Mt Francis area. At 7100+ there are great 360 views.

    Sierra Prieta Overlook, West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    FR373 took us over to the overlook. We passed scattered runners from the marathon. Great views of Copper Basin and Skull Valley. [ youtube video ]
    Next an easy out and back up Williams Peak to take in the views.

    Thumb Butte
    Thumb Butte bypass #326, Garden Grove #392, Miller Creek #367 are all nice hiking trails taking us to the Thumb Butte area. Thumb Butte #33 climbs steeply to the saddle to the West of the Butte.

    The remaining trails wind in and out of pines, juniper, oaks and creeks on gentle grades, back to where we parked.
    Potts Creek #327 and Cold Springs #393 were the highlight of the remaining trails we traveled.

    This hike, was almost the identical mileage to what we did last week, but took about half the time... and that was with 2 long breaks. This is the hike that was needed this week.

    I was able to hike all new trails for me and only made Joe suffer on one short off trail section. Minimal whining too!

    There are plenty of looping opportunities out here.

    Permit $$

    Prescott Forest
    Prescott National Forest Pass

    Only trailheads with six "amenities" have fees. Amenities are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Directions: From the intersection of Gurley and Montezuma Streets in Prescott, drive west on W. Gurley St. At 1.3 miles bear left on Gurley Street which becomes Thumb Butte Rd. before the next intersection, and continue on Thumb Butte Rd to the trailhead. At 3.3 miles pass the Thumb Butte parking area. At 4.1 miles the pavement ends. At 5.2 miles bear left on Thumb Butte (Loop) Rd. avoiding Dearing Park Rd. which bears right. Beyond this point Thumb Butte (Loop) Rd. is not maintained but was passable by car at the time I drove it. At 6.8 miles arrive at the junction with FR51 on the left which provides access to the Potts Creek Trail and has parking for 3 – 4 vehicles.
    page created by joebartels on Jul 14 2013 9:43 pm
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