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Monday, March 9, 2009

SEVENMILE GULCH

SEVENMILE GULCH #9854 Prescott National Forest Meandering in the forested woodlands above Prescott Valley, the Seven Mile Gulch trail delivers a variety of panoramic views. The shared-use trail is open to hikers, bikes, motorcycles and ATVs, and the rocky route is wide enough to accommodate the traffic. The hike begins with an easy stroll through a forest of Ponderosa pines, walnut, mahogany and a vigorous undergrowth of vines and wildflowers including hefty clumps of electric-orange skyrocket penstemones. After a short stretch, the path emerges from the woods and begins climbing up sun-drenched rolling hills. Among the acres of manzanita shrubs, Sacred Datura vines with their showy, white trumpet flowers bask in the sunlight while delicate prickly poppies thrive in shadier spots. The open section of the trail levels out at about 6,400 feet of elevation and serves up 360-degree views. To the north, the San Francisco Peaks stand out on the horizon and the bright blue swath of Lynx Lake shimmers in a ravine to the east. After that, the route continues to climb through scrub oak and pinon pine to the 6,700-foot junction with the Watershed Trail #299—the turnaround point for this hike. LENGTH: 6.2 miles round-trip RATING: moderate ELEVATION GAIN: 1,160 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 for the Cordes Junction interchange. Go west on Highway 69 toward Prescott. Just before entering town, go left (south) on Walker Road (Country Road 57) and continue for 2 miles to the “Sevenmile” trailhead. Roads are paved all the way. No facilities. INFORMATION: (928) 771-4700 or fs.fed.us/r3/prescott

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