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Monday, May 5, 2014



Upper Goldwater Lake

When completed, Prescott's Circle Trail will make a 50-mile loop tour around the mile-high city using existing hiking trails, bike routes, roads and newly constructed paths. Swooping through a mixed bag of pine-wrapped mountains, creek side greenery, windy grasslands, municipal parks, national forests and high-country lakes, the route highlights the scenic diversity surrounding Arizona's original capital city.  More than a dozen trailheads along major roads make hiking the route in segments or via car shuttle treks a cinch.  One favorite segment for day hiking in warmer months is The Goldwater Lakes Trail #396. Massive canopies of Ponderosa pine, Alligator juniper and oak provide cooling shade as the route winds above the lakes and across the boulder-flanked ravine and crisp waters of Bannon Creek. Although the trail proper does not go to the lakes, obvious spur trails will get you there. The trek is anchored by two trailheads, which connect to longer national forest routes and, of course, the rest of the Circle Trail.
Granite Mountain & Thumb Butte visible beyond the trees

LENGTH: 4.7 miles one-way
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 5630' - 6165'

Spur trails lead to the water

East Trailhead:
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to the Cordes Junction interchange and head west on AZ69. Follow AZ69  to Senator Hwy/Mt. Vernon Ave., turn left and continue 4 miles the Watershed  #299 trailhead on the left. Trail #396 begins across the road.
West Trailhead:
Follow directions above, but continue past Mt. Vernon Ave to Montezuma St. (a.k.a. White Spar Dr, AZ89). Turn left and go 3 miles south to the White Spar Campground on the left.

Pools at Bannon Creek

Prescott Circle Trail & Maps:

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