register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

West Spruce Trail #264, AZ

14 13 1
Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Prescott > Prescott W
3.3 of 5 by 3
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 7.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,800 feet
Elevation Gain -1,724 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,275 feet
Avg Time One Way 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.95
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Will recalculate on button tap!
10  2019-04-20
Thumb Butte - Potts Creek to West Spruce
7  2019-04-20
Thumb Butte - Potts Creek to West Spruce
20  2018-05-12
Mount Francis - Williams - Thumb Butte Loop
15  2017-05-06
Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
23  2017-05-06
Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
78  2016-07-23
Sierra Prieta Trifecta
14  2006-12-26 PrestonSands
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
Expand Map
Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  6:17am - 6:29pm
Official Route
4 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Away up high in the Sierry Petes
by PrestonSands

Likely In-Season!
Description is for the east half, stats are for the full trail segment. Co-Author for the west half is open.

The West Spruce Trail #264 follows the crest of the northern Sierra Prieta mountains west of Prescott. It is made up of two unconnected segments: the west half and the east half. This description is of the east half. Views, cool forest country and 7160 foot West Spruce Mountain are the attractions on this peaceful trail. West Spruce Mountain is actually named for its stand of douglas fir trees, which early settlers in this region misidentified as spruce. The Sierra Prieta peaks, of which West Spruce Mountain is a part, were made famous in the poem "Sierry Petes (or Tying The Knots In The Devil's Tail)", by Prescott cowboy Gail Gardner.

Beginning at the trailhead just north of the Sierra Prieta overlook, start heading up the trail on the east side of the ridge as it parallels county road 65. The trail soon reaches the top of the ridge, passing a gigantic old alligator juniper along the way. Arriving at a saddle below a brush covered outcropping of weathered granite, wonderful views of Copper Basin, Skull Valley, and distant mountain ranges open up to the west. Other points along the trail feature great views of Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte, and the San Francisco Peaks.

At about the 0.66 mile mark, the first of several side trails to the east appear; this one goes to fire damaged William's Peak. Keep left and follow the ridgeline when encountering these side trails to stay on the West Spruce Trail. Beyond this unmarked junction, the trail continues through the ponderosa and gambel oak forest, and begins a steady descent to its lowest point, in a 6600 foot saddle. The West Spruce Trail contours along the 6600 foot level for awhile, before starting to climb again around mile 2. At this point you will encounter the first of an increasing number of douglas fir trees, on a shady uphill stretch. At the top of this little hill, 7000 foot Porter Mountain comes into view ahead. The trail now traverses the top of a steep brushy ridge, where the occasional interspersed douglas firs seem out of place.

The trail crosses two more small saddles before making a 300 foot climb to the top of a unnamed, flat topped mountain, slightly southwest of Porter Mountain. Once on top, the West Spruce Trail passes the junction with trail #300 and crosses over the top of a gully before contouring along the eastern slope of West Spruce Mountain itself. For those wanting to reach the summit of West Spruce Mountain, it is a short off trail hike up the slope on your left.

The east half of the West Spruce Trail soon comes to an end at forest road 47B. Should you wish to continue on, the west half of the West Spruce Trail is reportedly a 1.4 mile hike to the west down forest road 47B.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2007-03-02 PrestonSands

    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
    West Spruce Trail #264
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    Aspen Creek #48 2nd Fav!
    The hike started out with a babbling creek and towering happy pines. A mile out-n-back on this would suit 94%. We only hiked 1.5 miles of the 6 mi before heading off trail. It appears pines are with you for the top 3 miles of this gem.

    Mt Francis Area
    My legs are still screamin' tender from Gun Creek mafia style beatings so I wasn't thrilled about any offtrail. I put my health aside and tried to lighten up. We both got lucky, it was pretty easy to the towers around 7,100 ft. Great views. Didn't hit the official peak a smidgen higher.

    West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    Roughly a 2.4 mi walk to West Spruce. Passed a couple dozen Whiskey Row Marathon runners. Most were crawling with running arm gestures. All were friendly and returned hellos!

    We only hiked a little of West Spruce before following a fading road to Williams Peak just over 7,000 ft. Bruce had a final offtrail piece that didn't look good so he changed the loop a bit to accomodate my well being. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, nice guy!

    Thumb Butte bypass #326
    We followed FR373 about 2.4 mi then 0.25 mi on FR51 to the end of Thumb Butte bypass #326 nary a crowd has seen. Most loops in the South Butte Area would include this trail in part or whole. If you do not require bells-n-whistles like peaks, creeks nor a destination this is mighty fine tall pine hiking.

    Garden Grove #392 1st Fav!
    We hiked this top to bottom. Views of Granite Mountain are majestic. Meadowish in the middle with I'm guessing a seasonal creek that is a tributary to Miller Creek. Sold!

    Interestingly I hiked this downhill seven years ago with @JimmyLyding and sorta met an idol
    The day before I hiked with johnr1 to Miller Peak
    The previous day was my first outta town hike with The_Eagle
    Days earlier I hiked with Groth, SuperstitionGuy and the world famous AndreyP

    Miller Creek #367
    According to FS stelprd3811790.pdf we did not hike this trail. It's up for debate. Bruce included it. He claimed a peak last week we didn't summit either. I'm only correct 4% of the of the time and might have a 10% shot at this one so pardon the gloat.

    Thumb Butte Trail #33 3rd Fav!
    Wow my first hike on this iconic crowd pleaser. It has a 1960's National Park quality feel.

    Potts Creek #327 & Cold Springs #393
    Great perkless tall pine stolling.

    It was nice to hike the mythical lure of dancing pines on a cool spring day most seek.
    West Spruce Trail #264
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Mt Francis - Williams Peak - Thumb Butte Loop
    After last weeks hike/injures, Joe asked me to put together Something "On Trail" and "No Water".

    I drew up the Scottsdale Green Belt, he complained "Too Much Water".
    So back to the drawing board.

    I picked an area in Prescott, West and South of Thumb Butte and put together some choices.

    There are tons of trails up here, most in the pines, most on friendly grades and well marked trails. Real Trails.

    After making our way through the detours associated with the now in progress Whiskey Row Marathon, we started at the Aspen Creek Trailhead.

    Aspen Creek #48
    What a gem in the pines. We were only on it for 1.6 miles before starting our only off trail section. I want to hit the rest of this trail sometime.

    Climb to Mt. Francis Area
    .4 mile and 300' AEG off trail to get to an old Forrest Road climbing to the towers around the Mt Francis area. At 7100+ there are great 360 views.

    Sierra Prieta Overlook, West Spruce #264, Williams Peak
    FR373 took us over to the overlook. We passed scattered runners from the marathon. Great views of Copper Basin and Skull Valley. [ youtube video ]
    Next an easy out and back up Williams Peak to take in the views.

    Thumb Butte
    Thumb Butte bypass #326, Garden Grove #392, Miller Creek #367 are all nice hiking trails taking us to the Thumb Butte area. Thumb Butte #33 climbs steeply to the saddle to the West of the Butte.

    The remaining trails wind in and out of pines, juniper, oaks and creeks on gentle grades, back to where we parked.
    Potts Creek #327 and Cold Springs #393 were the highlight of the remaining trails we traveled.

    This hike, was almost the identical mileage to what we did last week, but took about half the time... and that was with 2 long breaks. This is the hike that was needed this week.

    I was able to hike all new trails for me and only made Joe suffer on one short off trail section. Minimal whining too!

    There are plenty of looping opportunities out here.

    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
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the highway 69/highway 89 junction in Prescott, take Gurley Street west for 1.25 miles, then turn left (south) on Montezuma Street (highway 89). Follow Montezuma Street south, then west for 1.0 miles to the traffic light at Copper Basin Road. Turn right onto Copper Basin Road (County Road 64), and follow it about 6 miles to the junction with County Road 65. Turn right onto County Road 65 (to the Sierra Prieta Overlook), and follow it about 1.35 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is on the left, about 0.4 miles past the Sierra Prieta Overlook, and right as the road leaves the steep mountainside behind. There is a brown carsonite trail marker that reads 264 near the beginning of the trail.
    help comment issue

    end of page marker