Three Trail Combo
Overview: This hike is a loop created by combining parts of the Ranch Trail (#62), the Seven Mile Gulch Trail (#9854) and the Homestead Trail (#305). It is located very near Lynx Lake and is easy to reach from Prescott on paved roads. There are nice views along the first two legs as you climb and decend the hill. At a little over 8 miles and 1,600 feet of accumulated elevation gain (AEG) it provides a decent workout too.
Hike: There are at least 3 places you can begin this hike. We chose to use the trailhead for the Ranch Trail (#62) as there is a good deal of parking and a bathroom. Trail #62 begins at the north end of the parking area at a gate with a fiberglass trail sign (N34 32.484 W112 23.954). I refer you to the description of this trail already provided by Abe on HikeArizona. While it was close to civilization to begin with, I just kept looking to the left and put it out of my mind. At 3.3 miles and 1,000 feet of AEG you come to the junction with the Seven Mile Gulch Trail (#9854) at N34 30.657 W112 25.305. Turn left here and follow the gravel road. This trail has also been described on this site by Abe. It is open to all sorts of users, but we didn't come across anyone else on the Wednesday we hiked it. The views are great but you need to watch your footing also due to the small gravel in some of the downhill sections. We took a break at Seven Mile Tank at N34 30.656 W112 24.412. There was a handy log to use as a seat and it was shady, but the tank was dry. After 2.3 miles on Trail #9854 you reach its trailhead at Walker Road at N34 31.293 W112 23.589. This is an alternate place for beginning the hike.
From here it is a short road walk to connect with the Homestead Trail (#305) near the entrance to Lynx Lake. From the trailhead of #9854 turn right onto Walker Road. Walk about .2 miles to the entrance to Lynx Lake marked by a large sign and turn left onto the entry road. Walk about .1 miles to the #305 Trail on the left at N34 31.279 W112 23.360. It is marked by steel & concrete posts to keep out vehicles and has a fiberglass trail sign. Turn left onto Trail #305. This is a single track and probably gets busy on weekends, but it does bring you back to your car at the Ranch Trail trailhead. Shortly you'll come upon a fork. To the left a trail heads to a gate and Walker Road. To the right keeps you on #305 and is where you want to go. The trail will come out to a road that's part of the Lynx Lake complex. Walk up the road to the parking area and Trail #305 makes a sharp left; follow it. This parking area is a third place where you can begin the hike. At N34 31.869 W112 23.366 you'll come to the junction with Trail #301 which goes to the Lynx Lake Ruins. Visit them if you'd like. There's descriptive information back at the parking area. To get back to your car stay on #305. Eventually you'll cross Walker Road and will enter the Ranch Trail trailhead parking from the south. The Homestead Trail section is about 2.3 miles.
While not as isolated as many of the hikes in Prescott, we found it an enjoyable hike. Too bad the Lynx Lake Cafe had switched to winter hours before we did this hike.
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.
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.