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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hike in Prescott's granite dells


Lost Wall trail

Some people believe that good luck will ensue if you can hold your breath while traveling through a tunnel. There's an opportunity to test this theory at the gateway to Prescott's Constellation Trails. Take a deep breath of clean prairie air and--if you're taller than 5'4"---duck down, head through the AZ89 underpass and exhale birth-like in a weathered world of ancient granite dells at the trailhead on the other side.
The crystal-infused granite dells are a wonder and this web of loop paths takes hikers through a beautifully varied terrain in just under 3 miles.  "You-are-here-style" maps are posted at the  trailhead and at every junction throughout the system, making navigation super simple. The most challenging legs are North 40 and Lost Wall---both of which traverse the area's highest, rockiest places. From the bare-rock high points, views of bucolic Williamson Valley frame the distant peaks of Flagstaff and Williams at the edge of the Northern Arizona's Colorado Plateau.  The trails move among juniper- shaded glens and exposed slickrock where white paint dots mark the way. A couple of fun squeezes through stone corridors get hikers up close and personal with bizarre patterns infused within igneous rock. Back at the trailhead, there's a commemorative plaque paying tribute to the Navy crewmen of the Air Force Lockheed C-121G USS Constellation, which crashed here in 1959.   A small pile of wreckage sits nearby. 
passage in the dells

LENGTH: 2.74 miles collective
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION:  5016' - 5229'
FEES: none
DOGS: leashed dogs are allowed
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to the Cordes Junction AZ69 interchange.  Head west toward Prescott on AZ69 and continue through town to the AZ89 junction.  Go north on AZ89--past Watson Lake--to just beyond milepost 318 and turn right at the entrance for Phippen Museum.  Look for the "trailhead parking" area---do not use the museum lot. Trail begins at the gate near AZ89.

View of Williamson Valley from the trails

City of Prescott


1 comment:

RahX said...

I miss Arizona so much. This was my hiking grounds before we moved to Colorado. You should hit the spruce mountain hike, its about 4 miles one way iirc. For pictures, you can just drive to the peak but the hike is great.