Last week our hiking club took a trip to Prescott Arizona. Our trips are usually to an area that is different than the Tucson area desert hiking! In other words green and with trees!
We had planned for 5 hikes but only did 4 of the 5 hikes. Watson Lake 5.1 miles, Thumb Butte 2.2 miles, Goldwater Lake 2.7 miles and finally Lynx Lake at 2.8 miles. what was our 5th hike you ask? Well it was the Granite Mountain Hotshot trail 6.3 miles.
What is the Hotshot Trail and why did we not do it? The hot shot trail is a new trail that memorializes the 19 firefighters that lost their lives on Granite mountain.
Why didn’t we hike it? The park only has 13 parking spaces. So if you get there and the lot is full you have to drive 3 miles down hill and turn around so you can drive back to Yarnell to pick up the shuttle, a distance of 12 miles. Then you have to wait for the shuttle. (As of March 30th they have moved the shuttle to Congress and it will run from 7:30 am to 4:30 Pm)
So we decided to not wait as we had already driven so far and wanted to get out and hike. A young man at the Motel told us about Goldwater lake. So we headed there as it was on our way back to Prescott area. More about Goldwater lake later.
After arriving at the motel, we headed out to our first hike of our trip. Thumb Butte. Thumb Butte is a 2.2 mile hike and the trail climbs steeply to a ridge just below the rocky crest of Thumb Butte. Here, Groom Creek Vista offers spectacular panoramic views of the Prescott area and there is a memorial to the 19 that died in the Yarnell fire. Although it is steep, there are a lot of areas to stop and rest. This hike is considered a moderate hike for someone in reasonable condition, for seniors it might be considered challenging. Trail surface is compacted earth on the way up and asphalt on the way down. There are hand rails for the decent.
This hike was a great way to start our hiking adventure and I would certainly recommend it. Good views, wildlife (an Australian lizard was sited in the hand of it’s owner out for it’s daily walk!)
Watson Lake an easy to moderate hike around a beautiful lake with lots of birding opportunities.
The hike varies from easy flat hiking along an old railroad bed to minor climbs within the boulders that are on the northeast end of the lake. Our distance hiked was 6.4 miles. But it is listed as 5.1! Where did the extra miles come from? We actually took a wrong turn as soon as we got on the trail! (need to look at gps a lot sooner!) We falsly believed that by following the white dots on the trail surface we were going in the right direction! Wrong! So we did a 1.1 mile loop back to the start. Oh well we did want to hike.
The trail took you from the uplands down to a canyon with running water with trees and grass. This was a great area to stop, enjoy the coolness of the canyon and rest for the final push to the end! Another great hike in the Prescott area.
Day 3 saw us venture to Goldwater Lake after trying to do the Hotshot trail I told you about earlier.
We had no gpx track for the gps. Only the map on the gps to follow. This hike was an easy to low moderate hike 2.7 miles in length.
The hike took us around to lake to the dam and then we had to backtrack to a trail the would eventually lead us back to our vehicles. The trail surface was hardpacked earth most of the way. we wandered through the forest, which by the looks of it had suffered a forest fire in the not too distant past.
Lots of birdlife could be spotted on the lake and the area was not heavily used. Saw several families enjoying the lake.
This hike was not the most scenic, but there were lots of trails to follow if one would like to explore.
Day 4 Lynx Lake 2.8 miles. I was not able to do this hike as I had to head back to Tucson for a medical emergency, but 4 other of our hikers did do this loop and gave it a big thumbs up!
The trail surface was hard packed earth, flat for the most part. It wove in and
out of the forest as it followed the shoreline of the lake. I would rate this hike as easy and would recommend it. That ends our visit to Prescott Arizona.
Where will we go next year? Not sure, but Prescott will be on our list for future hikes.
GPX files can be downloaded here
The Kilted Hiker