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Peavine Trail, AZ

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Guide 45 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott NE
2.9 of 5 by 17
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,190 feet
Elevation Gain -67 feet
Accumulated Gain 79 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.25
Kokopelli Seeds 6.4
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-09-07 kingsnake
9  2019-08-10
Watson Lake Loop
9  2016-05-31
Watson Lake Loop
31  2016-04-16
Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
19  2016-04-16
Constellation Willow-Watson Loop
16  2016-04-16
Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
20  2015-10-07
Watson & Willow
15  2015-08-01
Watson Lake Loop
Page 1,  2,  3
Author PrestonSands
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 149
Photos 5,534
Trips 1,317 map ( 6,690 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Oro Valley, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:14am - 6:34pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Ghost train to Prescott
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
The Peavine Trail follows the route of the old Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad through Granite Dells, north of Prescott. The S.F.P.& P. Railroad (nicknamed "The Peavine") was built in the early 1890's from Ash Fork, south through Prescott, and eventually to Phoenix, to provide an alternative to the poorly constructed Prescott and Arizona Central Railroad, and to serve the mining country of the Prescott area. When the tracks were removed from Prescott in the early 1990's, a project began to turn some of the old railroad grade into a recreation trail, hence the Iron King and Peavine Trails.

Beginning at the trailhead just south of Watson Lake, the trail heads northeast and parallels Granite Creek and its forest of cottonwoods. The trail soon passes along the eastern shores of Watson Lake, then gradually enters the natural stone sculptures of Granite Dells. At the halfway point, the trail passes an opening in the rocks, allowing for a great view of Granite Mountain across Watson Lake. The trail curves through the dells, passing through old cuts in the granite bedrock, where the railroad construction crews blasted a path for the iron horse over a century ago. I soon forgot that I was near a major city, as I traveled through the orange and pink hued granite. While you travel through this maze of rocks, it is easy to see why Granite Dells was used as a hideout by highwaymen and hostile Indians.

After a couple miles of gentle downhill through the pinyon pines, the trail arrives at what was once known as Prescott and Eastern Junction. Here, beneath two large granite buttes, is where the P.& E. Railroad left for the mining towns of Humboldt, Mayer, Crown King and Poland. During the early days of the railroad, this was a busy spot, complete with a depot and a railroad worker's bunkhouse. From here, you can return the way you came, or turn east onto the Iron King Trail for some more rails-to-trails hiking.

As a lifelong railroad fan, it was sad to see these tracks removed, but it is nice that one can hike the old railroad route and relive the history.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2006-07-24 PrestonSands
    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
    Peavine Trail
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    This being my first time hiking the Granite Dells, I cannot attest to the remainder of the park, but at least along Peavine Trail, and in the Storm Trails, each trail intersection is marked by a map of the full Storm Trails system, with relevant terrain features, and a black dot indicating current location. In addition, all the Storm Trails' actual paths are marked by a spray-painted white dot every 100 ft. or so.

    After picking up an excellent trail map at the trail register, we headed down the Peavine Trail. Such as “down” is. (Peavine only descends 200 ft. in 5.5 miles to AZ-89A.)

    There were lots of birds — primarily geese, with some ducks and a single Great Blue Heron — on the shallow, muddy, southern shore of Watson Lake. They were too far away to shoot with my dinky pocket camera: I would have need a tripod and zoom lens. If you hear shots, it isn’t duck hunters, it is cops on the adjacent outdoor range. Mind the “CAUTION: Hazardous conditions exist. Please stay on trail.” signs. 😉

    Captains Trail is only 0.72 miles, with 143 ft. of elevation gain. There’s a little bit of shade after a ⅓ of a mile, and some decent Watson Lake photo ops at the ½ mile mark. But there is better to come! Just before the end of Captains Trail, and the start of Easter Island Trail, there is a use trail off to the left. A few yards over is a rest bench and great views of Watson Lake, the Granite Dells and, in the distance, Granite Mountain. 📸

    Easter Island Trail has even less shade than Captains Trail. After 250 yds. on Easter Island Trail, or maybe a ¼ mile from Peavine Trail, the vertical boulder which gives Easter Island Trail its name — it resembles the moai on Rapa Nui — came into view on our left. The trail wraps around the boulder, so Prescottstyle & I took photos from multiple angles & distances. It was warming up quick enough that Prescottstyle & I decided to forgo hiking out to the Flintstones-themed trails at the far end of the Storm Trails system. Instead, we turned up Big Rock Canyon Trail. 😅

    Big Rock Canyon Trail starts just after the Easter Island boulder. It is only 0.28 miles long. Not exact the Appalachian Trail. While eyeing some shade, I got rattled. I looked high & low for the culprit, but could not spot him in the darkened rocks, branches and leaf litter. Prescottstyle & I kept moving. 🐍

    Boulder Creek Trail is 0.53 miles. Since we just took it back to Peavine Trail, I’m clueless how much AEG it might have. Certainly not Matterhorn, or even Glassford Hill, levels of gain. Boulder Creek did have some water, but the flow was so light it was inaudible.

    We took Lakeshore Trail and Peavine Trail back to the trailhead. Thick clouds were rolling in. We made it to the covered picnic tables just as it began raining. 🌧

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    Flowers were isolated in the Storm Trails system, but there were dense thickets of tall, yellow, sunflower-type flowers along Peavine Trail.
    Peavine Trail
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    First time to Watson Lake. I was expecting a simple walk around the shoreline with some rocks to play on, but the dells along the north shore were mysterious and we spent some time exploring. We found a makeshift shelter that had a definite creepy vibe. Lots of blood sucking mosquitoes fed on our group, especially while exploring along the stagnant north shore coves.
    Peavine Trail
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    Constellation Willow-Watson Loop
    Joe through a dart at the Constellation Trail system and said, come up with something. I didn't know anything about this "Little Gem" so I started downloading stuff. There are 11 trails in the Constellation Trail system, totaling less than 5 miles. So that wasn't going to make the drive to Prescott worth it. I'd looped Watson lake before and enjoyed the heck out of it. I'd always wanted to loop Willow Lake also, so it was on.

    The Constellation Trail System is a wonderful group of of short trails through a boulder wonderland. Officially it's a self-enclosed system. But as we found on the way back, there is a trail that connects this with the Willow Dells system and Willow Lake. The Ron James Approach Trail does not show to connect on the maps, but it does. There is no signage and it's not obvious though.

    All but the east side of Willow Lake looked like just a means to connect the loop, but then we stumbled on the Cottonwood Spur. Some of the biggest Cottonwood stands I've seen. `

    Willow Lake Video :next: ... YbKg
    Back on the Jan Alfano Trail and then we jumped over to Watson Lake, to do the loop there.

    Watson Lake Video :next: ... CTBU

    The highlight on this loop is the Lakeshore Trail and the Over The Hill Trail, taking you to the Granite Creek Dam.

    Granite Creek Dam, Watson Lake Video :next: ... nVp0
    A little road walk got us back over to the Willow Dells Trails.

    Once again the hiking was great, except for 1/2 hour bug storm we ran through.

    I really enjoyed looping these two Granite infested lakes, and the weather was perfect!

    A great time out with the Squad.

    On the day....A Gopher snake, Squirrels, Cottontail rabbits, Cormorants, all sorts of Ducks, Bluejays, Blue Herons, A hawk diving out of the sky right in front of us snagging a bird.
    Peavine Trail
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    Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
    The more I hike around Prescott, the more I like it. Joe tossed out a starting point (the Constellation trails) for this hike and Bruce filled out the rest. The result is a gem. A beautiful granite landscape dominates a big chunk of the hike while giant cottonwoods add variety and splendor along the way. The weather, while a bit windy at times, was perfect otherwise. We did have to improvise to connect the dots, but it worked out well. Lots of large swarming gnats chased us around the east side of Willow Lake on the return, but that was a minor inconvenience for a few minutes on an otherwise great hike.

    Bruce and Joe, thanks for inviting me along. As always, I had a tremendous time!
    Peavine Trail
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    Constellation Willow Watson Lake Loop
    Last summer I spent several hours tracing up the constellation trails. Driving by the area intrigued me so I looked it up online. Prescott is dialed in on being a trail friendly community and it shows in all the details.

    On a whim I remembered and mentioned it to Bruce. He made it sing adding in Willow and Watson lakes. Prescott hadn't been an area that intrigued me much other than Granite & Groom. It's been growing on me a little over the years.

    Yesterday I pulled a leg muscle. This seemed easy enough that I could hobble it out with a trekking pole.

    The Constellation Trails are well marked with "you are here" maps at major junctions. The area was popular on this chilly April morning and on our return with more families. If you're an avid hiker with family/friends that get bored/whiny after a mile or two they might enjoy a little loop through this disneyland of granite.

    Bruce sold the Willow leg as the boring part of the hike. We all enjoyed it more than expected. Temps and a little jaunt through huge cottonwoods on the peninsula did the trick.

    Like all of the loop I'd never been to the famed Watson Lake. Seems like everyone gets a great photo here and now I know why. Aravaipa Running had an event going on. Ray and I held back a tad as Bruce hiked by the onlookers and through the finish line backwards. They cheered finishers coming in and didn't yell at him so we proceeded. A minute or two later I was standing at the postcard shot of the lake. Not a cloud in the sky when we started but they raced in just as we arrived. After marveling the scene I noticed the perfect snow capped San Francisco Peaks back yonder. Wow... forwards, backwards and upside-down Mom!

    We lunched overlooking Granite Creek just before the dam. Squads were out enjoying the weekend lake vibes. After lunch Bruce escorted us over to the dam. Water shoots out from high above. It would be really nice on a hot day. Continuing on is a cottonwood paradise high above the creek. This would be another great area to take non hiking friends for an hour of piddling around as parking is near.

    To make the loop work we needed to cross private property. Got lucky as a man was taking out trash to the garbage. Ray asked the REI shirted gentleman and our dream loop came true.

    This hike put Prescott on the map for me.

    some indian paintbrush, nothing else rings a bell
    Peavine Trail
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    Culture can only be bookended with adventure, and Watson Lake fit the bill.

    9L wanted to get as many links in the shortest hike possible, so he went to HAZmasterB for research -- and Bruce's hiking history directed us to this gem of link heaven :y:
    (Richard, I expect to see you up here in the next two weeks ;) )

    There was some kind of car show in the Watson Lake Park, so we had to fight traffic to get in, but once there it was quite a peaceful hike. Only saw a couple of people on the circumference until the Peavine Trail. Below the dam is the most "strenuous" part of the hike and nobody goes there. It was stupid humid out and we were all soaked and ready for a swim. Too bad I wouldn't touch this water in a HAZmat suit!

    Clouds made for some nice lighting though. South end of the lake is rather boring, Claire got to ogle some firefighters in action so that was good I guess. :roll:

    We had a quick snack before continuing our adventure trifecta.
    Peavine Trail
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    Flora: Datura, Globe Mallow, Thistle, a vine (not a Pea) that I am still working on the ID since we hiked Fish Creek, Verbena, Eggs & Bacon, Indian paintbrush.

    Fauna: Yellow headed Black bird, Heron ( watched him stalk and catch a fish), Ducks, Scorpion(careful making benches)

    We were excited to do this trail and as excited as we were we still hadn't appreciated the treat we were in for. First off, the first 1/2 mile or so has a dump next to the trail, nothing overly unsightful but a little stanky. Persevere though and just try to appreciate the marsh on the other side of the trail.

    We hiked the Peavine in quick order and this was all we planned to do. We really hadn't done as much review of this hike as we usually do. It's pretty straight forward. The Peavine is an easy hike with lots of pay. Lots of bikers too, but with such a wide path they really only added to the charm.

    We ate our lunch at the "Point of Rocks" site under the shade of an old Emory Oak tree that stood in front of the foundation that used to be part railway that ran through here but now just an old cement foundation.

    We decided to hike the lakeshore trail and some of it's tributaries on the way back. It was out of our way but hiked the "Over the Hill" trail to boulder creek. From here the real fun began. Just visible off trail is dam wall. We just had to take advantage of the landscape and find a way up to the top through the maze of boulders. We got upper shelf of the damn but there was still the top. I looked but the only two ways up seemed sketchy. One was a ramp built into the ramp itself. Running up seemed doable but coming down seemed like a broken leg was possible. The other was a chimney wedge and I wasn't gonna put Wendi through that. Just as we were getting ready to head down another couple was coming up, with such a tight trail, we just waited for them to come up. They were of like mind and wanted all the way up, he ended up going through the effort of getting all the way up, so the challenge was on! I knew I could make it up but Wendi and the girl that came with the group would be a challenge. The answer was right in front of me. On the ground was an old thick tree branch that once wedge in the crevice made an excellent if not sketchy ladder. We stood on top of the damn wall watching the choppy waters break against the cement. There was sign that cautioned "Do not stand on damn wall" it was meant for Kayakers and they obviously were not expecting us.

    We missed the first junction or the Tree House Loop so we skipped that and save it for next time.

    All in all this is fun hike. One word of warning: If you get lost on this trail I will laugh at you and recommend that you not ever leave your house. There are pocket maps at each end of the trail. At each and every junction there are sign posts that include maps, topographical no less, that are marked with your current location. In between junctions the trail is either obvious or if crossing rock, which is often, the trail is marked with little white dots. They are small and look almost like bird pooh, but once I realized the were trail markers I noticed them every where, almost to distraction. In some areas it is to a point that they no longer mark the trail but tell you where to step. If you get lost it'll be like this :sl:
    Peavine Trail
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    Went out to spend the day around Watson Lake hiking and kayaking. Started out at the TH for the Watson Dam trail and looking for a route around the Lake clockwise. I'm amazed at how few HAZ'ers have been up to this area.

    Climbing in and out of the rocks led to some gorgeous views. There is a real sweet riparian area abutting the base of the Watson Lake dam. It was a very peaceful hike with very few hikers for a Saturday. There are many areas to explore around the rocky outcroppings on the lake.

    The hike was quite enjoyable on all but the road hike to get back to the car.

    Here a collection of short videos taken from around the lake.

    My clockwise route around the Lake took me on:
    Watson Dam Trail,
    Flume Trail,
    Over the Hill Trail,
    Lakeshore Trail,
    Peavine Trail,
    Lower Granite Creek Discovery Trail,
    Watson Lake Trail (Circle Trail),
    Route 89a (.5 mile)
    East Granite Dells Trail (.2 mile)
    Peavine Trail
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    My brother and I started out at 9:30 AM. We should have started about an hour earlier as the sun got pretty hot toward the end even though you're at 5000 feet. We took part of the trail through the riparian area and then veered right up on where the old railroad tracks were. There were lots of birds (including cormorants which I hadn't seen since my visit to Sanibel, FL a few years ago) and some wildflowers along the trail which follow the lake part of the way.

    There were beautiful bumble bees hanging out on some of the thistle flower (weed) tops along with butterflies and some dragon flies. There were even a few squash plants which we thought was a bit odd. At various places on the trail are part of the old railroad track. There are great viewpoints of the lake as you walk along and various informative signs.

    As we walked along the well-groomed trail the breeze would come up off and on which made the hike more comfortable. It is a great hike you could obviously do at a lot faster pace than we did but it was our first hike on that side of the lake so we have a tendency to overdo it on the pictures and just taking it all in. In fact, my brother got just a little annoyed that I was taking so many pictures of these tree snags in the lake that had quite a few birds resting on them... we ended up calling them the family trees which is ironic as I am working on our family tree, ha!

    Permit $$
    Various Prescott parks, lakes & trailheads. $3 per car

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Peavine Trailhead
    Mtnlver writes
    If you are taking 17 to highway 69 towards Prescott, turn right at Prescott Lakes Parkway. After about 2 miles, take a right at Sundog Ranch Rd. On your left will be a large parking lot and the trailhead for the Peavine. You will see the the trailhead for Lakeshore Trail at the one mile marker of the Peavine.

    Preston Sands writes
    From the highway 69/highway 89 junction in Prescott, head north about 2.3 miles, and turn right at Prescott Lakes Parkway. After about 0.25 miles, there will be a large parking area on the left. This is the trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 104 mi - about 1 hour 55 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 208 mi - about 3 hours 23 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 92 mi - about 1 hours 39 mins
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
    help comment issue

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