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Smith Ravine Trail #297, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott S
3.2 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,841 feet
Elevation Gain 930 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,176 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5
Kokopelli Seeds 7.12
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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
15  2018-07-03 kelly14
13  2017-06-11
Prescott Loop
10  2017-06-11
Prescott Loop
3  2016-11-05
Bigelow Peak
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Abe
author avatar Guides 17
Routes 0
Photos 296
Trips 59 map ( 426 miles )
Age 61 Male Gender
Location Prescott, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → NOON
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:34pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Nice when you visit Prescott
by Abe

Likely In-Season!
February 23rd, 2003:

Sinful! While the east and northeast is digging out of the aftermath of a large winter storm, I enjoyed a grand and glorious Sunday when I arrived at Smith Ravine, Trail # 297 in the late morning. Admittingly, I was thrown off at first looking for the trailhead, having passed a dirt road with a street sign claiming "Smith Ravine". I immediately went into react mode to turn around, fortunately, when I spied a turnoff to the right, I spied a small sign placed in the bushes stated the trailhead was there. I turned hard right into a small parking area, barely large enough to hold six vehicles.

Off the beaten path on Walker Road, two things strike me about Smith Ravine. First, it is a quiet trail that caters to hikers, horse folks, and mountain bikers.And secondly, while I studied the trail, I got the feeling Smith Ravine is a popular mountain biking trail. I seen more tire tracks embedded in the ground than foot prints of passing hikiers.

Ninety percent of the trail travels under the canopy of Ponderosa pines. Surprisingly, and I am grateful, I seen very few brown pines ravaged by the bark beetles. However, it is the first mile of the trail and the old growth of manzanita bushes on both sides. Some appear to be struggling to stay alive. Many are dying as you pass them. Most are dead. Grotesque gray branches and limbs, no longer bright red, vibrant, alive, and challnging. Skeletal remains of their former self, reaching to the sky.

The trail travels upward, with short brief downward jaunts. If you are are lucky, as I was on this hike, you may catch a glimpse of deers running, crashing through the trees and bushes to get away from you. At certain points you will get some awesome views to the east and to the north. My favorite was the view of Mingus Mountains, the red rock country of the Verde Valley, and San Fracisco Peaks.

Near the two and a half mile mark, I noted a small creek below. It was a broken creek you might say, water running above ground and then disappearing, and then coming back to the top. You could hear the slight pleasant lulliby of water running over rocks. You will know when are near the end of the trail when you spoted Spruce Mountain lookout tower high and to your left at about 7600 feet above sea level. It is a solitary man-made structure made of iron and wood, empty during the winter.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2003-03-01 Abe

    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
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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!
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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.
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
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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?
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Was thinking of doing a ~12 mile loop around Lynx Lake, but then hit on the idea of doing Trail #297 to the summit of Bald Mountain, followed by a short walk to the Walker Charcoal Kiln with my wife, then an exploratory drive on Big Bug Mesa Rd. over the hill to Five Corners. Got started about 90 minutes late, so did not hit the trailhead until 9:00 a.m. :roll:

    The first half mile of Trail #297 is through a small burn area. After that it is mostly shaded as it steadily ascended towards a saddle between the two branches of Smith Ravine. (Where I intended to re-join the trail after descending Bald Mountain.) I started seeing a fence south of the trail, about 1.5 miles into the hike. This fence seemed to roughly parallel the trail, sometimes a few yards away, sometimes up to 200 yards away, all the way to Spruce Mountain Rd. I found it odd, as the nearest claim that side of the trail is on the other side of Bald Mountain, a good quarter mile away. My understanding of property law -- IANAL -- is that a fence must be signed every quarter mile, plus all corners and gates. I never did see a sign on the fence. There was some decent fall colors, mostly yellows, along Trail #297.:FG:

    When I got the the end of the trail, I turned south on Spruce Mountain Rd. to the transmission line. I had seen a jeep trail that paralleled the line on FS Topo, but did not see it on sat view, so followed my plan to travel under the transmission line up to a saddle above the claim, then up a spur to the summit, thus staying off the claim. The transmission line had a fair number of grab & stabs. I had stopped by a tower for a quick snack, when a pickup went by on a road about 50 yards away. I guess the topo was right. So, I got up on the road for a bit, until I came to some signs just short of the claim boundary. :stop:

    I turned left up a gully towards the summit. That was very stabby: At least four different species of grab & stabs, including dense thickets of cat claw. :stretch: I got sick of it, so crossed from one slope of the gully to the other, as it looked somewhat less stabby. Plus, it put the spur between me and the claim boundary, as I could hear people over threre, and did not want them to know I was in the neighborhood. (I was off the claim, but no sense getting their dander up.) ;)

    The summit of Bald Mountain was grassy, making its name appropriate. Note that the high point, where I was, is about a quarter mile northwest of the named summit, which is about 100 feet lower (and on the claim). I found two stakes up there, but no marks, caches or summit logs. Bummer. Great views though! :D

    I followed my plan to descend a spur off the north end of the summit, as that would cut some miles off the hike (and as I had learned, much grabbing & stabbing). Initially, there was some cat claw, but not nearly as much my up route. Other than that, it was smooth, if steep, sailing down to Trail #297, then back to the trailhead.

    My recommendation, if you want to summit Bald Mountain, is to go both up & down the way I came down. It will be a bit steeper, but nothing most Hazards cannot handle, and will result in less blood loss. :D


    Video (3:21) :
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrating optionrated 1
    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
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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!
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
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    Spruce Mountain Road hike, actually...

    Left work, bound for Jerome, but 89A was closed due to an accident, so I decided to do a Spruce Mountain shorty, as daylight was limited. I parked on Spruce Mountain Road at the 7000 foot contour and hiked up to the summit to enjoy sunset coloring the distant, ragged monsoon clouds.
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    On-call for work and stuck in town, I pulled into the trailhead. Apathy set in as I surveyed the burned hillside I would be hiking, but I decided to give this trail a chance anyway. A half mile in, I was out of the burn and in nice pine forest. My mood improved. Far reaching views began to take hold along the wooded slopes of Bald Mountain. And white firs appeared... "ooh!". After 3 miles, this pleasant trail ended at Spruce Mountain Road.

    "Only just over a mile to Spruce Mountain", I thought, so I continued on. This would be my favorite part of the afternoon: climbing a prominent peak I had never been to, through a forest of bluish-tinged white firs framing incredible views of the flatlands far below. I had the peak all to myself, and I climbed the fire tower to enjoy the panorama. After numerous photos, I began my descent.

    I passed a group on horseback and spooked a herd of deer on the way down, and arrived back at the trailhead a bit before sunset, stoked from a fun hike that had surpassed my expectations. Definitely a hike I would do again.
    Smith Ravine Trail #297
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    :y: December 1st & December 4th, 2012 - Hiking the "SMITH-RAVINE" #297 Trail in Prescott, Arizona.
    I can't believe that this was my first experience using this trail! I didn't realize what a gem this trail was. I think I may have held off because I had heard, that about the first 1.5 miles was all burnout from a fire sweeping through the area a few years back (I thought that it may be somewhat depressing). Well, I am glad that I got over that, and decided to go for it anyway!!
    The trailhead is just about on the 5 mile marker on Walker Road. Take the first right after that 5 mile sign. Nice little area for parking and you know you're in the right spot because of the clearly marked Prescott National Forest Signs.
    Trail #297 (Smith-Ravine) is an "out-n-back" hike. 3 miles in and 3 miles out (total 6) it ends at F52. (There are some other routes if you want to travel farther... Look at your maps) Anyway, today we (my very awesome dog and hiking companion) just did the out-n-back. This hike starts out heading up.... (The elevation change in about 1000 feet) I believe the mountain top is about 7200 ft. The first 1.5 miles or so.... The terrain definitely looks as though it experienced a big fire. But, I noticed that mother -nature is trying to come back strong.... Lots of new growth!!! Bees were abundant, which is always a good sign? This first part was not as bad as I thought it would be. Even with the burnout, the green forested Bradshaw Mountains' are all around you. Once you get out of those 1.5 miles... You begin to see a change... Much more shade. The area is FILLED with Pine trees, Oaks, NATURE! ..... It truly is BEAUTIFUL! There was small animals heard through the dry leaves and lot' of birds. Also, there were a lot of "other animal" signs along the way too... Lot's of foragers, scat, etc...
    My hike was soooooooo Peaceful!! The Solitude is... Well,??? Fantastic!!! I ran into NOBODY! No Hikers, nor mountain bikers.... I felt like I was in a bit of a forest fairyland!! (On second day - 4th, I did come across a group of 5-6 hikers... All of them together heading up, while I was heading down... The leading lady asked me a cute question: "There still is a Dairy Queen at the end of this trial.. Right???" I told her, "Yes... I just had a Blizzard before heading back down." - NOT!!!!
    The trip took me about 3.0 hours total.... My Trailblazing, hikin' buddy - "Bubba - LUCY ROSE" keeps me going at a medium to strong pace!!! This is a great day hike for anybody around the Prescott area who wants a nice getaway. For travelers... Check out this Prescott hike!!!!
    PS: The weather right now in the area is PERFECT!!!!

    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
    From Highway 69 as you drive to Prescott, turn left down Walker Road and travel 5.7 miles. Watch the right side of the road. You will pass a road with sign stating Smith Ravine, it is the next turn off to the right.
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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