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Watershed Trail #299, AZ

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Guide 25 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott S
2.7 of 5 by 10
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,176 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,405 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.43
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
9  2019-08-03
Prescott Lakes Tour
7  2019-08-03
Lynx Lake Tour
15  2018-08-25
Prescott Lakes Loop
7  2018-08-25
Prescott Lakes Tour
13  2017-06-11
Prescott Loop
10  2017-06-11
Prescott Loop
27  2016-09-16
SMG 9854 Loop
21  2016-07-27 RowdyandMe
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
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:13am - 6:35pm
Official Route
11 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hills & Trees
by MEWhiteman

Likely In-Season!
The Watershed Trail #299 is part of the Prescott Circle Trail and runs from the Senator Highway to forest road 52A in 3.2 miles. It is partially shaded and provides some views. It is a wide gravel and dirt path accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, horses, motorcycles and ATVs. We hiked on a Wednesday and didn't see any other users. The trail offers several options for a hike: (1) hike to FR52A and return, (2) hike to Spruce Mountain summit via this trail and FR52A and return, (3) hike to Walker Road via this trail and the Seven Mile Gulch Trail #9854 one way with a car shuttle or round trip, or (4) hike to Walker Road via this trail, FR52A and the Smith Ravine Trail #297 one way with a car shuttle. PDF View

The Hike. The trail begins on the left side of the parking area which is large enough for a number of cars. There is a fiberglas forest service sign marking this point. The trail immediately begins to climb and continues up at a moderate incline for the next 1.5 miles gaining 700 feet of elevation. At .6 miles (N34 29.957 W112 25.902) there is a concrete basin for Deer Lick Spring to the right of the trail which had water in it when we hiked in Aug 2009. At 1.2 miles there is the junction with the Seven Mile Gulch Trail #9854 (N34 30.207 W112 25.526). At about 1.5 miles the trail levels briefly and you begin to see views to the east through the trees. From here to the end of the trail you are walking on an undulating ridge. At 2.7 miles you come to a powerline tower (N34 29.211 W112 25.062) and begin a steep .1 miles climb to another powerline crossing beyond the next tower. From here it is .4 miles down to the junction with FR52A at N34 28.916 W112 24.945.

At this point you can return to the trailhead for a total of 6.4 miles and 1,405 feet of accumulated elevation gain (AEG). We felt energetic the day we did the hike so opted to continue on FR52A to the summit of Spruce Mountain. This is a road walk past private cabins on a well graded road accessible to family sedans. It isn't super interesting but provides some nice views, access to the summit and a good workout. To do this turn left on FR52A and follow it to the summit. At about 4.0 miles from the trailhead you get good views of the summit of Spruce Mountain to the right with the fire tower very evident. At 4.4 miles you come to the junction with the Smith Ravine Trail #297 (N34 28.490 W112 24.058) on the left. The road becomes steeper beyond this point. At 5.2 miles you reach the gate (N34 27.830 W112 24.027) and at 5.7 miles you reach the junction with the Groom Creek Loop (#307), access to the tower trail, picnic tables and an outdoor bathroom. The entire round trip from the trailhead to the summit and back is 11.36 miles and 2,395 feet AEG.

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.

2009-08-13 MEWhiteman
    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
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Prescott Loop
    ray invited john and i to do this loop sunday
    several other haz members have done it, and it's always looked interesting
    got going around 8:00
    went clockwise, a pleasant stroll along lynx lake first, then a short bit on hilltop
    homestead rolled through ponderosa and oak forest
    smith ravine went through an old burn for a mile or so, but even that offered good views and a breeze
    the upper part was also through forest, and toward the top, we stopped for a coffee break
    john had brought his backpacking stove and home roasted coffee and fired it up for an excellent cuppa
    :) delicious!
    topped out on spruce mountain road and followed that north for a mile or so
    more enjoyable road walking than anticipated
    next was watershed trail, which started out a little rocky but was partially in shaded woods
    finished on seven mile gulch, which has been everyone's least favorite part
    didn't care for the steep scree slides, but there were still good views
    conclusion: counterclockwise - get an exposed climb on crappy footing done early
    nice to hike in shady woods on new trails with the boys!
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Prescott Loop
    I haven't been hiking much so Kelly threw out a challenge. I accepted and we invited John along. I had three hikes in mind for this weekend (so I didn't have any excuses), but two were at the Mogollon Rim. This one didn't look bad. John and Kelly liked it too.

    A serene start on the west side of Lynx Lake was followed by a nice trek through the pines on Hilltop, Homestead and Smith Ravine. If we had turned around at the top of Smith Ravine, this would have been an excellent out and back hike, about 16 miles round trip. We continued on. Spruce Mountain Road was kinda cool. We saw some relics from the mining days and some homes with really nice views. The first half mile or so on Watershed was rocky and exposed, a minor disappointment after the splendid areas we had passed through previously. It didn't last long, though; we were back in the canopy of trees soon enough. That is until starting down Seven Mile Gulch trail. Rocky, exposed and steep in parts, were it not for great company, good views, reasonable temps and a nice breeze, this trail might have been awful. We probably should have done that trail in the morning.

    While the hike may not have ended as well as it started, it did not disappoint. This was an absolutely gorgeous day south of Prescott and it was great to be outside enjoying it. We enjoyed some snacks and cool refreshments back at the car before heading home. Thanks Kelly and John for a great time!

    Columbine at Smith Ravine Spring
    Watershed Trail #299
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    SMG 9854 Loop
    Well another late start but I got it done. This hike has been on my to do list for about a month and something always seem to come up and I let it go. Today was the day to just do it. I got a late start which seems to be the norm for me. We hit the trail just before 12:30pm and we did it.
    Funny but SMG 9854 was my least favorite trail and Smith Ravine Trail was awesome.
    Rowdy sure enjoyed this hike and I always enjoy my hikes with him.
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Well I have been wanting to do this hike all week but the Weather Channel kept me from going as the reports ran from 67% to 71%. Today however the Weather Channel said only 19% chance of thunderstorms.
    So what are the odds of me getting caught in a storm? today 100%. ... fDZs
    I was just trying to find a cooler place to hike with Rowdy. This was my second time here and my second storm here.
    I really can't complain about the heat as we started it was 90 and when we finished 68.

    As we started on the Watershed Trail everything was great and this time We made to the end of the trail. I really was surprised when we reached the end I thought the trail would keep going somewhere but it end on a super dirt hiway. That dirt is better than a lot of paved roads that I been on.

    On the way back I decided to take Seven Mile Gulch Trail to the Ranch Trail. And of course this is when Hell let lose on us. I did met another hiker on Seven Mile Gulch of course we just laugh as we were already soaked.
    The thunder was load and the lighting was bright. We had rain and hail for about 3+ miles and I think I need a new camera as well.
    I did get a little nervous as I was hiking using a aluminum trekking pole. And I need it as we hiked the boots had no traction as the tread was full of mud. I did slip a few times going down hill and my pole kept me from hitting the ground.
    Now that you know what happen today let me say if you have never hiked Ranch Trail#62 you should this is my favorite trail so far in Prescott. It has views and it itself is beautiful.
    Watershed Trail #299
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    What a crazy day. I headed out to Prescott this morning (10am) to do Ranch Trail as a balloon but ended up being a loop as the day got crazier.
    As I headed north on the I17 I spotted a fire just outside Cordes Lake it was a small fire maybe an acre and there was a sheriff there so I kept on going. Once on the 69 just outside Mayer I spotted another fire this one was smaller. I pulled over hoping I could put it out. I made Rowdy stay in the car and as I got out a strong breeze came thru and it got larger fast. At that point I called 911 and I was talking to the operator when I notice another fire burning just up the road. At this point I had no idea what was going on and as I am talking to the operator I spot a third fire burning. People had stop and tried to put out the fires with water and a few fire extinguisher but the fires just grew. I told the 911 operator about all three fires by Bug Creek and headed out.
    As I left I did see fire trucks headed toward the fires. As I headed toward Dewey-Humboldt I could believe it as I spotted another fire this was the fifth fire I had seen in about 10 miles just crazy. As fire trucks were headed to the fires I just couldn't believe how many people that would not pull over and let them by.

    As we finally made it into Prescott I made my usual stop at KFC to get Rowdy some chicken breast and me some steak fries.
    When we reached the trailhead it was already 87 degrees out. It was very humid as well but as we headed up the trail the views were awesome. After a mile or so we encounter some light sprinkles which was much welcomed.
    Before long the sprinkles turned to rain. I had planned on doing the complete Watershed Trail but decided to just head back to the trailhead as we now had lightning and thunder to deal with as well as the rain.
    On our way down we met a couple that told me that I17 was closed going both directions. Once we were back at the car I checked on my phone and I17 was closed so I took the 89 to Wickenburg and connected to the 74 to the I17 and then home.
    And by the way when I started my car the temperature gauge showed 66 degrees at 3pm.
    What a crazy day hiking. ... MpWc ... XPnQ ... dg7w
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Prescott lakes tour
    A last minute plan B hike.
    I decided to recycle and tweak a previous hike to his area.

    Temps were pretty good as the shade and breezes were nice. A nice 67 to start, to a high in the upper 80's.

    I only crossed paths with a handful of people all day on the trails.

    Seven Mile Gulch Trail #9854, is exposed and the steepest climb of the day. Best to do early. It's also a mixed use trail, so you could run into motorcycles. The Watershed #299 is also mixed use.

    The Ranch Trail #62 and Smith Ravine Trail #297 still are my favorites. Plenty of shade, decent trail tread and nice views.

    The Goldwater #396 trail is nice also, but can get busy, but not on this day.

    Homestead #305 is a roller coaster through the conifers.

    There are plenty of shorter and longer loop opportunities in the area utilizing the many trails out there.

    I still need to try the restaurant on the North end of Lynx Lake.
    Open Thurs - Sunday for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
    lynxlakerestaurantp ... html

    Anybody ever try it?
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Prescott Loop
    Our original plan was to beat the heat and bag Granite Mountain outside Prescott, but at the last minute Granite was all "Waah Waah Waah, you can't hike off trail because of the fire!" Whatev.
    Brian (mt98dew) put together a backup loop that supplied a nice pine-scented sampler of the area, the greatest challenge being trying to decide where to drink the Prescott Brewery IPA and Amber Ale that had been designated as summit brews.
    We were back at the Honda by 11:15 am, where James sprung some Stone IPA on us, and soon after stopped at the Circle K, where Brian picked up, oddly enough, a Mountain Dew. :-k
    Watershed Trail #299
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    Goldwater - Lynx Lakes Loop
    First time in this area and starting from the Sevenmile Gulch TH. I'd never been to Lynx Lake or the Goldwater Lakes either, so I put together this loop that hit both of them. All of the trails I was on today seem to get a lot of action from Mountain Bikers. I'd suggest this as a CW Loop if on a MTB. Although on this perfect weather Saturday, other than around the lakes, I didn't see another soul.

    Seven Mile Gulch #9854 starts flat in the woods for the first .5 mile and the starts climbing through sun exposed scrub for a bit. Once in the pines It gets better.

    I missed the turn to the Ranch Trail #62 at mile 2.3, thinking the turn was to another trail going down the northside. No problem, I actually cut some mileage off, going off trail for 200' to meet up with it again. Back on the Ranch Trail headed westish towards Goldwater Lakes, I was amazed at how nice this trail was. In the pines, great views, gentle grade, a recently built or renovated track, and was about as smooth a trail as I've been on for awhile.

    Crossing the Senator Highway, I was now on the Goldwater Lakes Trail #396. I had planned to do a loop to the north around Upper and Lower Goldwater Lakes and come back on #396 to the south. There were a handful families fishing or hiking around the lake. Nobody seemed to be catching anything. When I got to the north side of the dam on Upper Goldwater, there were signs saying No Trespassing, City of Prescott. I decided to try the trail that goes around the south side of the lake that goes to the Dam. Once again, there was a trail that used to go through there, but has since been fenced off with No Trespassing. So I hopped out to the #396 again and went to get a view of the Lower Goldwater Lake. Back to Upper GW Lake, I filtered some water and started the rest of my loop back.

    Now on the Watershed Trail #299 it was a climb back up on an ORV trail. A bit steep and loose until once again into the pines around Deer Lick Spring (Dry) .6 mile away. Once up top, this trail follows a ridgeline affording some pretty sweet views. The Watershed trail is 3.25 miles long and ends at Spruce Mountain Rd.

    It's 1.25m on this dirt road until you get to the Smith Ravine Trail #297. Keep an eye out, as from the road, the signs are hard to see. The hikers/bikers gate was the give away.
    This was the surprise of the day for me. Almost completely in the pines for the entire 3 miles down to Walker Road, but still great views. This was another trail in great shape.

    Next the Homestead #305 to make my way over to Lynx Lake. This is a roller coaster trail once again in the tall pines.

    I opted to go around the lesser traveled east side on Lynx Lake on the Lynx Lake Recreation Loop Trail #311. This is a very pretty lake and not anywhere as busy as I expected it to be.

    I passed the Store / Restaurant on the north side of the lake, thinking I'll need to stop in and check it out in the future. Back on the 305 and a short trip back to my truck.

    I really enjoyed this loop!
    Watershed Trail #299
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    After reviewing my options, I settled upon a Watershed-Boy Scout loop hike. My wife dropped me off at the Watershed trailhead on a beautiful late autumn afternoon, and I promptly disappeared into the Bradshaw Mountains. I climbed the gently ascending, forested route of the Watershed Trail to a divide ridge, and turned onto the Sevenmile Gulch Trail, encountering a couple of groups of courteous atv riders along the way. I cruised along ridgetops on Sevenmile, and then turned onto the Ranch Trail. The top of the Ranch Trail offered an outstanding view of the area, before descending a little draw to a junction with the Boy Scout Trail.

    Boy Scout (my favorite section of this loop) seemed much less traveled than the previous trails, but was still well marked, and I descended a shallow canyon bottom lined with ponderosa pine and gambel oak. The canyon eventually opened into an open grassy flat, where the Boy Scout Trail (actually the Turley Trail at this point) met an unmarked road from the west. I turned and followed the unmarked road a short distance to where it terminated at a residential street: 1232 Pine Ridge Loop. Signs told me I had unknowingly been on State Trust Land (oooh, I'm so scared!). I followed Pine Ridge Loop drive through Oak Knoll Village back to the Senator Highway, feeling rather conspicuous wearing a large backpack and looking filthy. Prescott College is more the place for that. I dodged traffic while walking along the busy Senator Highway, and reached the Watershed Trailhead at sunset. My wife soon arrived, and we were off to dinner at one of our Prescott favorites, Chi's Cuisine. It was a great introduction to a trail system that will hopefully soon be my backyard.
    Watershed Trail #299
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    I hiked this trail to test out my new GPS (Garmin Map76S). It was a chilly day but sunny with a little breeze. I didn't see anyone on this trail the whole day. It is a steep climb from the trailhead, approximately 6-800 feet. It is a well marked trail that at times offers some beautiful views of Prescott Valley. Watershed Trail (also known as #299) is on Senator Hwy on the way to Crown King. The elevation is around 6800 feet. I have all this on my GPS but am to lazy to get up and get it. I did post this hike on my web site and I also posted a trail map (with Long/Lat's) marking the trailhead and view points. The trail really veers off of the Topo map in one place as plotted by my GPS.
    I ran into a herd of deer on the way up but couldn't get any pictures of them. The trail shows a 3.1 mile length but then you have to hike back as it dead ends at a forest road (unless you car pool and park a car at the other end).

    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
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    To access the trailhead from downtown Prescott, travel east on Gurley Street for 0.3 miles to Mt. Vernon Avenue. Turn south on Mt. Vernon and continue for 4.1 miles as it becomes the Senator Highway. The TR 299 (Watershed Trail) trailhead is on the east (left) side. It is about .5 miles past the access road to Goldwater Lake as you travel from Prescott.
    page created by MEWhiteman on Aug 13 2009 3:58 pm
    2+ mi range whistle
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