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Willow Creek Loop (#347 & #345), AZ

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Guide 14 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
3.5 of 5 by 4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,731 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,340 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.7
Interest Ruins & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2016-10-16
Willow Trail #347
10  2015-04-18
Willow Trail #347
26  2015-04-04
Granite Mtn 7185 & 7626 via Williamson Valley
25  2015-04-04
Granite Mtn 7185 & 7626 via Williamson Valley
8  2014-05-11
Willow Trail #347
8  2013-09-29
Willow Trail #347
4  2013-07-20
Ho-Kay-Gan Trail #341
11  2010-09-04 cabel
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, Apr, May, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:18am - 6:27pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Cowboys & Indians
by MEWhiteman

This is a 9 mile loop with rolling ups and downs in the Granite Basin Recreation Area southeast of Granite Mountain. The hike goes through forest and scrub with pine and juniper trees, cactus, manzanita and shrubs of various kinds. There are no steep or sustained climbs and the hike makes use of several connecting trails. At one point on the hike a short side trail leads to a site built by ancient people in the Prescott area.

Park in the dayuse day use area where there is ample parking and bathroom facilities. There is a fee except on Wednesdays when use is free and be sure to get one of the maps next to the pay station. I learned about this hike in Ron Smith's book A Guide to Prescott and Central Highlands Trails, 3rd edition, and basically followed his description.

To do the hike in a counterclockwise direction begin at the south end of the parking area. There is a sign for trail #346 (Willow Connector trail). After the sign immediately turn left to stay on #346 avoiding trail #349. This is a gradual uphill section with increasingly better views of Granite Mountain appearing behind you as you hike. After about .5 mile, you'll pass through a gate and shortly thereafter will come a junction with trail #347, Willow Creek Trail (N34 36.182 W112 31.762). Turn left here onto trail #347. In another 1.2 miles you'll reach a junction with trail #348, Chimbly Water Trail (N34 37.053 W112 31.999). Stay on #347 and after another 2.2 miles you'll reach the junction with trail #309 (N34 38.127 W112 31.135), a spur trail leading to Boone Court in a residential area. Stay on #347 and in another .3 miles (N34 38.309 W112 31.294) there is an unmarked spur trail to your right leading to the top of the hill. At the top of this hill is a prehistoric peoples site called the Janet Site. View this document for some additional information. This is an archaeological site and should remain undisturbed. If you do hike the .2 mile spur trail to the top of the hill to the site, please stay off the rock walls and do not move or remove anything. Anyone who damages or takes anything is subject to arrest and prosecution.

Continue of trail #347 for .25 miles to the junction with trail #345, Mint Wash Trail (N34 38.483 W112 31.292). Turn left here onto trail #345 and follow it to Granite Basin Lake. There was a small brook to our right in several places which was probably draining from Granite Basin Lake. In about 1.9 miles from the junction of trails #347 and #345, you'll come to the junction with trail #352, Mint Wash Connector (N34 37.443 W112 32.446). This could be used as a shortcut back to your car. Continue on trail #345 to Granite Basin Lake. There are bathroom facilities at the near end of the parking lot. After viewing the lake return to trail #345 which takes a sharp left just before reaching the lake. Continue for another .3 miles to the end of trail #345 at trail #351, West Lake Trail (N34 36.900 W112 32.766). Turn left here onto #351. In another .5 miles you'll pass the junction with trail #348 (N34 36.719 W112 32.360), but continue on #351 back to the Cayuse parking area in another .5 miles.

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.

2009-10-09 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
    Willow Creek Loop (#347 & #345)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My 4 legged friend and I started this one from the Williamson Valley Trailhead. I love to visit ruins, and this jaunt provided that opportunity. 2 dear crossed the path in front of us before we went through the 2nd gate. :) We encountered a few mountain bikers and 3 folks on horses. Otherwise it was a quiet trail.
    Willow Creek Loop (#347 & #345)
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Granite Mtn 7185 & 7626 via Williamson Valley
    On the way to meet Ray and until the sun began to rise, the Blood Moon was the focal point in the sky. Quite a ghostly red glow.

    I did the Granite Mountain Trail and 7626 a few years back with the Turtle, but didn't get to see much through the rain and at times, zero visibility. I wanted to see what I missed the first time, plus add some other trails I'd never been on before.

    We started from the Williamson Valley Parkway TH on the Willow Trail #347. The eastern most portion of this trail is just a means to get to the better stuff and allowed us to cruise and warm up from the 36 degree starting temperature. It starts getting a bit roller coastery after you pass the Mint Wash Traill. We took a short side trip to check out the large set of ruins on top of a mound, next to the trail. It had some pretty tall walls in areas. The Willow Trail led us to, Chimbley Water Trail #348 and then to the West Water Trail #351, that took us to the Granite Basin Area. Both of these trail were in great shape and were in tall pines for the most part.

    The Granite Mountain Trail #261 follows one of the flowing small creeks that feeds the Granite Basin for 1.5 miles to Blair Pass. The burn from 2 years ago becomes visible just before here. The burn extends to the West, North and East up Granite Mountain.
    The climb starts at Blair Pass. We took #261 to it's end and enjoyed the views to the South.

    Next it was off trail up to Peak 7626'. We found a cairned route that took us up a little more direct than the last time. It worked out quite well. We passed a group of 4 that were on their way down from 7626. We checked the top for Fliver Disks and the Peak Register. We found one triangulation marker and 2? triangle peak markers, 30' apart. The wind was blowing 40+ mph , so we signed the Register and started down.

    The Mint Wash Trail #345 was another pleasant surprise. This trail starts right behind the Granite Basin Dam and follows a pretty little flowing creek until you meet back up with the Willow Trail intersection. It then climbs out of the creek area and gives you some great views of the riparian area below.

    A fun day with some perfect weather (after it warmed up).

    Thanks for joining me and driving Ray!

    Granite Mountain Views :next: ... A7Ng
    Willow Creek Loop (#347 & #345)
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Granite Mtn 7185 & 7626 via Williamson Valley
    I went soaring with The Eagle along and atop Granite Mountain near Prescott. The trip to the meetup at Happy Valley PNR included a view of a blood moon in the western sky. Thanks for pointing that out, Bruce.

    Although this was a single 10 hour hike, you could easily break this down into three separate hikes rated as easy, moderate and somewhat strenuous. The first loop on the route is easy, but not as scenic (suburbs on the east side). The Willow Creek Loop, about nine miles in all, is moderate due to length, mostly flat, and is a gem. It's beautiful all along the route, which includes a side trip to some ruins on the east side and a nice creek (nice flow right now) on the west side. I plan to bring my wife up here first chance I get.

    The featured hike today was the Granite Mountain Trail and the Granite Mountain peaks. Most of the elevation gain is along this route. The final ascent is fairly steep along a cairned route. With the exception of the ascent to Peak 7626, the trails are in good shape with nice switchbacks as you ascend the Granite Mountain trail. There are some burn areas along the way, but not too bad. I had a few char marks on my hat and clothes from the final ascent to peak 7626, but I'm not the most graceful hiker. Bruce didn't have a mark on him.

    Fabulous 360 degree views from the top. Visibility was as far as the eye can see. It was a wee bit windy on the summit; I nearly lost my hat. Bruce signed the summit log for us. There were no other HAZers noted in the current log.

    This was a very enjoyable hike on a gorgeous day. Thanks for the invitation, Bruce. I had a great time!

    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
    When entering Prescott stay right on SR89 which is Sheldon St. Follow Sheldon St. to the 'T' intersection at Montezuma St. and turn right. Montezuma turns into Whipple which turns into Iron Springs Rd. (St Rt 10). Continue on this road. At about the 3.5 mile mark turn right on FR 374( You will see the brown recreation sign marking the Granite Basin Day Use area including the Metate Trailhead.) Follow the road about 2.0 miles back to the Day Use parking area on the right just past the Yavapai Campground on the left.
    page created by MEWhiteman on Oct 09 2009 4:30 pm
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