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Glassford Summit Trail
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mini location map2016-02-12
46 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Glassford Summit TrailPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 12 2016
Hiking4.26 Miles 1,160 AEG
Hiking4.26 Miles   4 Hrs   7 Mns   1.80 mph
1,160 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Huge kudos to Peter for pulling off another fun adventure! After many of the all-day bushwhacks we’ve done that involve getting torn up, beat to crap, and/or are on the ‘super-technical’ side [for the average hiker], Glassford is a definite exception. It’s as toned-down as it gets for a bushwhack and definitely makes for a great, first time off-trail experience. This is not to say more seasoned adventurers will find it boring…

…“boulder hopper’s playground” is a very accurate way of describing our ascent tracks up the rocky spine that is situated in the middle of the two prominent hillsides comprising the horseshoe. We were not expecting much if any boulder hopping, so this was a real treat. As an added bonus, for those less experienced/comfortable with hopping boulders, the rocky spine can easily be avoided without having to go miles or even a quarter mile out of the way; [something that cannot be said for some of our other adventures where your only options are conquering the boulders or turning back]…

…which leads me to the next point of appeal: tons of variety! This hike can easily be done 10x over without repeating your ascent or descent tracks. With drainages, rock spines, ridgelines, and gradually sloping hillsides that rank very low in terms of both the brush-factor and loose footing, choice of route comes down to whatever suits your fancy. The biggest risk/consideration would be time of year: as Peter mentioned, snake season would NOT be an ideal time to do this bushwhack…!

Like the previous week to Sun Devil Peak, Peter once again created a summit register and left another gift [this time, an unopened deck of playing cards], for the next luckily visitor who wants it; although this time we forgot to include a log. The register/cards are located on the inner false summit [i.e. the summit at the top of the rocky spine ridge that is situated in between the middle of the hillside that forms the ring/horseshoe]. The true highpoint had a lot going – solar panels, RF towers, etc., most of which was enclosed by a tall fence with barbed wire at the top. It’s a good thing Peter decided to leave the register at the lower summit. Although there was no gate or ‘do not enter’ / ‘keep out’ signs on the highpoint, a worker noticed us and asked us to leave just a few minutes after we had arrived. More time to soak in the summit views and explore all of the neat things/structures up there would’ve been nice; but we were lucky for the few minutes we had before getting booted!

On the way back, we hit up a “cave,” [which looks a lot more like an old mine [adit] than an actual cave]. Regardless, it was pretty neat and the large boulders by the entrance made for a great resting spot. Peter’s superb navigation skills definitely came in handy for finding it! While very easily spotted from below, we had opted to go up the rock spine and then loop around to the hillside with the cave on our descent. Let’s just say, [without having way-pointed it], finding the cave on the descent was not as easy as we anticipated.

The new road that town is constructing, [which is currently packed dirt and runs all the way from the inside of the horseshoe to the top of the southern-most ring], goes very near the mine/cave. The others in our group, [some of which were newbies to bushwhacking], graciously seized the opportunity to finish the adventure by way of this dirt road. Meanwhile, Peter and I decided to take a much more scenic ridge ride down the southern-most ring, heading ‘as-the-crow-files’ back to the parking area. In addition to awesome views of Prescott Valley and the surrounding area, we also saw a herd of antelope.
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