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Groom Creek Loop Trail #307
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mini location map2014-07-27
24 by photographer avatarwinotron
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Groom Creek Loop Trail #307Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 27 2014
Hiking9.33 Miles 1,800 AEG
Hiking9.33 Miles   3 Hrs   35 Mns   2.87 mph
1,800 ft AEG      20 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took another drive up to the Prescott area for a hike in the cooler weather. I've been wanting to hike this trail for a while now. Got to the trailhead and the parking lot was pretty full, but there was still plenty of parking. It was beautifully overcast and slightly breezy. It felt like it was 65 degrees when I started around 9am, while it was already 90+ when I left Phoenix at 7am. The ground was cool but slightly muddy from the rain the night before.

I chose to hike the loop clockwise, which I knew meant I would get most of the AEG out of the way in the first 3 miles. The first couple miles were a slow but steady climb through the tall pines. The last mile or so before the Spruce summit the blue firs (apparently not spruce as Abe points out in the description?) started appearing, and they were just gorgeous. The climbing also gets a bit steeper here, but nothing too bad. This was still more difficult than the hikes I've been doing for the past couple months though, so it kicked my butt a little. Just before the Spruce summit I saw a deer not 20 feet away, just off the trail. Couldn't get a picture in time though.

I was glad to make it to the summit and took a short snack break. Even though it was overcast and the weather was very cool, it was a little humid and I was absolutely drenched in sweat. I went up to the lookout and the views were amazing up there. The views were distant and I loved seeing the transition from green pine forest to the Verde Valley. Took a 10 minute break up here and headed back down.

The hike down was all very pleasant. Some more blue firs at first, then just pines, then back to oak and juniper. A few more mild ups and downs but mostly stress free. At around mile 6 the clouds started to clear and it warmed up a bit. Still plenty of shade on this trail, though. I was getting tired by mile 7 or 8 and I was glad to see the sign saying the trailhead is 1/2 mile away.

Overall this was a great trail, and I couldn't have asked for a better day to be out. I saw maybe 20 people out there, but still felt alone 99% of the time. I'm trying to work myself up to longer, 10+ mile hikes, and I feel like I'm almost there. Great feeling to know I held up pretty well on this one. :)
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