The Best Hikes in Prescott

5,075 Triplog Reviews in the Prescott
Most recent of 1,261 deeper Triplog Reviews
5.31 mi • 353 ft aeg
Peavine Tr and Watson Lake
I set out with Musicdebbi on the Peavine Trail in Prescott, based on Mare Czinar's write up in the Arizona Republic that morning. Musicdebbi had been pining for some fall color, and the writeup suggested we might find some here. She doesn’t have my enthusiasm for hills, so this seemed just right. We fairly quickly diverged from Czinar’s hike plan, as we left the boring Peavine for the more interesting Lakeshore Trail/Watson Lake Loop and hunted up some geocaches. The lake was pretty; there was a little color along the shore. We spotted many American Coots and Red-winged Blackbirds, an American White Pelican, a few Double-crested Cormorants spreading their wings, and a Spotted Towhee.
7.5 mi • 1,320 ft aeg
I hadn't hiked the long version of this loop in over 10 years. It is still a great hike. I skipped the up and down at the end making it somewhat shorted with less aeg than described in the guide. I kept to FR51 for the trail 327 portion of the hike to match the guide and track. There were several new single tracks on and off the road marked 327 which are worth exploring. I also noted that the handy trail guide is no longer available at the trailhead but can be downloaded from the forest service website.
9.52 mi • 1,010 ft aeg
It's been a while since I've hiked the Little Pan loop and a Geocache was just listed along it, so off I went. The geocache is off the west side of the loop, so I went clockwise to reach it earlier in my hike instead of later.

Along the north end of the loop, it started sprinkling a bit, but nothing to get wet by. Below Cottonwood Gulch along the Agua Fria, I heard thunder. Water was running at the north crossing of the Agua Fria, but I was able to work my way across without getting my feet wet. The rain picked up a bit here and as I started climbing out of the gulch, I could see raindrops on the water. The thunder started picking up as I continued along the east side. Then, after crossing a wash and starting the longest climb of the loop, the rain came. I stopped and pulled out my umbrella and the rain cover for my pack. It was storming hard for a while and the wind picked up as I crossed the ridge when the climb leveled out.

Along the way down, I saw a small tortoise in the middle of the trail. The shell was probably 6" front to back and was clean and shiny from the rain.

The rain finally stopped as I neared the south end of the loop, so I closed my umbrella for the rest of the hike.

The east side of the loop could use some brushing as the catclaw is starting to encroach on the trail a bit. Nothing bad now, but it will be soon enough.
2 mi • 500 ft aeg
Prescott trip with Ryan, day 2, part 2:
Following our Woodchute hike Ryan and I climbed the eastern side of FR 503A to an overlook of the Verde Valley and surrounding area for some extra credit. I pointed out the wagon tracks cut into the limestone and bits of coke lying around that had fallen off the wagons in the 1880s-1890s. Made our descent just as a dark cloud above started dropping rain. Drove into old town Cottonwood after the hike for dinner at Bing’s Burger Station. Fun mountain drive in the dark back to Prescott over 89A to finish off a great day with my brother.
7.5 mi • 1,200 ft aeg
Prescott trip with Ryan, day 2:
Ryan liked the idea of Woodchute, like I always do, so we hit the trail mid-morning. Beautiful temperature, and lots of puffy thunderstorm starts floating around in the distance. We made quick time to the summit plateau, and then ventured off trail to the eastern edge overlook. Had lunch with a view as I explained the history of the wood-chute to Ryan. The return hike saw a number of others hiking in. We considered hiking up to the summit of Hickey Mountain afterward but a thunderstorm was setting in close by, so we ventured closer to Jerome instead.
9.01 mi • 1,486 ft aeg
This triplog uses the name of the guide I tried to follow, but my name for the hike is the Lakes-to-Peaks Trail after the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina. The official route for Beans Peak Loop starts at the trailhead next to White Spar Campground on AZ 89 about a mile from the Prescott city limits. I hiked in the reverse direction and made a few deviations from the official route, some deliberate and others that I was unable to avoid. Roughly the first half follows Goldwater Lakes Trail #396. At 4.1 miles, I stayed next to Upper Goldwater Lake to talk to a fisherman, then tried to get back on the official route. However, there are many roads/trails near the southeast end of Upper Goldwater Lake and in many places the official route is not on any of them. It's simplest to just head generally south on available paths, checking Route Scout to not get too far off the official route. After passing the Hassayampa Water Line Project marker (see photo) and crossing east-west Schoolhouse Gulch Trail #67 which is a fairly wide dirt road not far from paved School House Road, the southbound trail/road matches the official route for about a mile. As shown in both this route and the official route, there is a 100+ yard detour to go around a fence that crosses the trail. Near both of the peaks, the trail disappears (see photo) and what appears to be trails don't follow the official route. I spent a lot of time looking at my phone to try to find a trail on the official route. It would have been easier to follow an obvious route and just check Route Scout every 5 minutes or so. Coming down from the westernmost peak (Lima Bean Peak according to Kingsnake's guide), there is a clear trail that matches the official route for about a mile. As you can see from the route I recorded, I stayed on the clear trail for about a half mile further than the official route did. Kingsnake's guide says there are dozens of pink and orange trail ribbons marking the route between what he calls Lima Bean Peak and the trailhead. They're all gone now and it's cross country over ground clear of undergrowth without any indication of a trail going downhill toward a wash that the official route follows past the Stone Shelter on the official route. Eventually, a fire road is reached and a clear trail can be found on the other side that gets progressively easier to follow once you cross the small hill next to the road and find the trail headed northwest. The views from the peaks are worth the hassle, but this is not a hike for someone who gets lost when a trail disappears.

Foliage
More than the first weekend of October, maybe a dozen red vines approaching the trailhead and a few yellow trees along the shore of Upper Goldwater Lake.

Wildflowers
A few Arizona thistles were still in bloom, some mostly seed heads, in the area west of the peaks. Other summer flowers were still blooming here and there.
10.3 mi • 2,335 ft aeg
Prescott trip with Ryan, day 1:
Mingus looked comparatively storm free, so I stitched together a route on the drive up. We parked at the 89A highway summit and walked the Mingus road to Butterfly Trail. We followed Butterfly’s spaghetti-bowl route through stands of recently thinned ponderosa and muddy logging debris to the northern tip of Mingus Mountain, where we could see towering thunderstorms approaching quickly from the east. We made a quick descent on North Mingus’ upper ridge to get to lower ground, enjoying the rugged, forested slopes immensely. The storms faded before they hit us, thankfully. Saw just a hint of maples starting to change. We followed North Mingus Trail west to the unmarked connector trail that took us to Bug Hollow Trail, and then went off trail for a bit as I wanted to check out the mystery pit I had seen from afar on a brushy slope. Would it be a mine, or a cave? Neither. It was a large trench dug into limestone bedrock for some unknown reason. And there were two of them. Ryan and I dropped down through the thick brush to Mescal Trail and followed it up canyon to Upper Mescal Trail. At precisely 5:30 we turned onto trail 530 (Old Dump Trail according to Prescott NF’s website…great name), and made the short trek back to our trailhead. Headed into Prescott for the night afterward for Mexican food. Great hike, lots of variety, and Ryan’s first in-depth Black Hills/Mingus hike.
5.6 mi • 612 ft aeg
I have a high clearance vehicle but not 4WD so we made it fine using the directions from https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/prescot ... &actid=104 We opted to hike in on FR 95A which just added 1 mile to the trip.

Originally Lois and I were thinking of backpacking to Hutch's Pools near Sabino Canyon, Az. After reading some reviews we weren't super thrilled about it so we chose Apache Creek Wilderness. I'd never heard of Apache Creek Wilderness and it butts against the Prescott National Forest. I looked at Alltrails/RouteScout/Gaia maps, reviews, reports and The Prescott National Forest website. OK, feeling good about this choice! I download every map I find. Originally our plan was to do a loop. This isn't going to be a hard hike. Not a lot of AEG and only about 12 miles for a 3 day 2 night trip. Easy. After Lois and Cindy meet at my house, we decide to change our plan from a loop to, more of a base camp and and explore the creek, and then back out the same way. An out-n-back. Better option for sure! Temps were predicted to be 78/49 all days.
I love hiking with these girls. We stop often to look at plants, rocks or just anything interesting. It's not a rushed point to point trip. It's laid back and look around you kind of trip! And Apache Creek did not disappoint! It's a hidden flourishing, beautiful riparian area. Perennial water source and wildlife. No one else around this little treasure! We set up camp just up away from the creek. We expect rain on Saturday but hiking in on Friday after setting up camp, we got drizzled on. It was welcome and cooling. I'd forgotten that the full moon 🌔 is coming up so after dinner we were just admiring the sky. Not only was this close to the full moon, but also a meteor shower! Lois saw 2! 🌠
Saturday after breakfast we hike down the creek. Trail #9905 is the only maintained trail in the Apache Creek Wilderness area. But you must watch for the cairns! There is some overgrowth and areas of bushwacking but nothing we couldn't handle. The creek is beautiful and we stop and look around on this cliff admiring a waterfall. Lois says "A bear! A bear!" I look and see it's butt hightailing it out of there! HOW COOL (and yet scary at the same time)! 🐻 Later on down the trail Cindy sees a Javalina across the way. Just watching us. We boogie on down the trail. 😂 After lunch on the creek we head back to camp. We know there will be afternoon rains so we want to beat it. Once back at camp we huddle under an attempt of a shade/rain tarp. These trees SUCK! The ground was too soft for tent stakes so we attempted to hang it from tree branches. We rigged something up but none of us trusted it if a wind came up! 🤣 Back to Scouts camp for us! 🤦‍♀️ We stayed there until the wind came up and then ran to our tents! 🤣 Thunder is a beautiful sound as long as lightning isn't anywhere near you. It was nice. We don't experience a lot of rain in the desert, so this was fine. It cleared up pretty quick and we mirrored the evening before. It felt colder but we figured it was really just all the dampness that makes it feel colder.
Sunday we take our time and slowly break down camp. We hit the trail and the hike back to the vehicle was easy and cool in the shaded areas. We stop in Chino Valley for lunch and a celebratory drink! Cheers to another great backpacking trip!

Foliage
Just starting to turn colors.
11.65 mi • 598 ft aeg
Today, I hiked the second east-bound segment of the General Crook Trail, on General Crook Trail #64, from CF Canyon to Copper Canyon Trailhead, just outside Camp Verde. (Roughly P12 to P2.) I could have continued on to the historical Fort Verde cavalry post (P0), but I do enouugh suburban road walking in my neighborhood.

My hiking buddy Paul, aka Prescottstyle, and I started hiking at 7:25 a.m. Scattered showers were expected mid-afternoon in the Verde Valley, but morning was sunny. But we were so early, and heading slowly uphill to the east, that taking photographs of trail conditions was difficult. Despite the glare, the slight depression that is the 150-year old General Crook Trail was obvious. ☀️

At one point, General Crook Trail was more obvious than where we should have turned onto a jeep trail, and we did not realize it until we deadended at a gateless fence. That cost us an extra ⅔ mile — which explains why my total mileage, below, is more than the attached GPS route. (I do a lot of wandering & backtracking for photos & route confirmation.) Turn left after 1 mile, before the double boulders.

At 1¼ mile, wait for a gap in traffic, then sprint across AZ-260. (There is no tunnel.) On the north side of the highway, there is a wired-shut gate. Without the tools or time to open it, Paul and I low crawled it. (The bottom strand is barbless.) Because the hiking General Crook Trail has diverted from the historical General Crook Trail, we curved northeast ¼ mile to FR 9603F.

FR 9603F heads east, past a full-looking Mistake Tank. (On satellite view, it is a mudhole.) When FR 9603F bends north (left) to parallel Interstate 17, there is a General Crook Trail #64 sign. Split right past the sign, through creek bottom shrubbery, to a double culvert under the freeway. I was surprised at the lack of graffiti. 🎨

On the east side of I-17, Paul and I resumed following the now faint General Crook Trail which heads east a ½ mile to Bates Windmill. The windmill is non-functional and the corral fenceless. After 3 miles, at Bates Windmill, turn left onto FR 136, which winds through pinyon & juniper as it climbs north. Paul & I briefly stopped to chat with some deer hunters in an OHV.

At the 4 mile mark, by the powerline, FR 136 intersects FR 9603J. Bend left aiming at a saddle just ahead. From the saddle, it is all downhill through Copper Canyon, to the trailhead 5⅓ miles away. Just over the saddle, the trail splits: FR 136 left, General Crook Trail right. Paul and I went right. Stay left to avoid a 30 ft. drop off and numerous catclaw. General Crook Trail rejoins FR 136 in ⅓ mile anyway.

Following the powerline, FR 136 drops 500 rocky feet in only ⅔ mile. Though FR 136 continues to descend all the way to the Copper Canyon Trailhead, General Crook Trail basically levels out, becomming a pleasant three mile stroll through moist & verdant Copper Canyon. The foliage was so tangled, you would not want to be canyon crawling it like I do on the Mogollon Rim. 👋

Along the lush part of Copper Canyon, FR 136 is never more than 250 yds. from Interstate 17. Trucks air braking can be heard, and occasionally seen, 200 ft. above, but the foliage deadens most of the sound. The creek was running, and FR 136 crosses it several times. There were also quite a few wide puddles.

At 7¼ miles, I found a prospect on the south side of General Crook Trail. Paul spotted the mine adit. It was not hard, or dangerous, making entrance. Inside, I was able to stand up. But it only went in 30 ft. and there were only small traces of copper. Certainly nothing like the other Copper Creek! [ photoset ]

A ¼ mile past the mine is Copper Corral, which is in slightly better shape than Bates Windmill. A ¼ mile past Copper Corral, I saw an open area to my right (FR 513). As I turned to look, two large male javelina snorted as they ran for cover. Past FR 513, Copper Canyon opens up, with the vegetation returning to typical Sonoran Desert scrub.

The final two miles down FR 136 to Copper Canyon Trailhead were a rocky trudge. At least the clouds were beautiful! 🤗

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/758741345

Wildflowers
The best flowers were on the steepest part of FR 136: A dense 200 yd. long patch of yellow longleaf false goldeneye. But variety increased in deepest Copper Canyon. I spoted common sunflower, tansyleaf spine aster, broom snakeweed, field bindweed, oak apple gall wasp, desert marigold, fall tansyaster, southwestern prisklypoppy, trailing four o’clock, globemallow (rusbyi or hastulata?) and velvety goldenrod,
10.6 mi • 2,329 ft aeg
Great summit and really unique trail. Luna wins the day for making it within 10’ of the summit. The first steep chute up she wasn’t having it, but I moved around to the East and found a way up that she could handle.

It’s a little brushy but nothing poking really. No one best way up or down but I think it would be hard to cliff out. I only found a single choke point that required just a little backtracking. I did get rained on for my final 2 miles in the trees. Plenty of afternoon lightening and thunder that was close to me after 11:30.

I was buzzed by a chopper for most of the final summit ascent. I found out on the way down that they are looking for someone who has been missing for 4 days.
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