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Saturday, March 1, 2014

WATSON DAM TRAILS


WATSON DAM, FLUME CANYON & NORTHSHORE TRAILS
Prescott Mile-High Trail System
 
Bridges over Granite Creek
So many wonderful works of nature are tucked within Prescott's Granite Dells area. And, thanks to the city's Mile-High Trail System, there's no shortage of ways to get to the good stuff. The Watson Dam-Flume Canyon cluster of trails stands out because of its diverse terrain. A network of loopy trails wander through riparian woodlands along Granite Creek and soaring slick rock crests overlooking Watson Lake. Map signs posted at every turn make navigation easy. A particularly beautiful segment makes a footbridge assisted traverse of a precipitous gorge that forges the way to the base of Watson Dam.  Here, cattail reeds and gangling willows living in shallow pools and running currents huddle in a lush, shady cove fortified by vertical granite.
Late winter on the Flume Trail


LENGTH: 2.4 miles total
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 5057' - 5642'
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to the SR69 interchange at Cordes Junction.  Go 30 miles west on SR69 to Prescott Lakes Parkway, turn right and continue 2.1 miles to SR89. Turn right and follow SR89 1.7 miles to Granite Dells Road, turn right and go 0.2 mile to the trailhead
Watson Dam
on the right. No fees at this trailhead

INFO & MAP: City of Prescott

Monday, February 24, 2014

GRANITE GARDENS TRAILS


GRANITE GARDENS
Prescott Mile-High Trail System
Granite Creek

If this new system of four trails were a dog, it would be a Jack Russell Terrier---compact, feisty and righteously entertaining. So, before taking a pass on it due to its short length, consider its attributes. The bite hike begins on the Stairway Loop with an ascent up 38 steps constructed in 2013 that lands hikers on an overlook above Granite Creek.  At the top of the stairs, views of Prescott's Granite Dells area are breathtaking. Here, an overview of what lays ahead nips at your heels. Next up: an exposed meander over slick rock guided by white dots painted on slabs of granite that resemble splayed reptile hide. The route winds up around Castle Rock then descends to meet the Rock Stacker and Grotto Trails. Both aptly named, these two paths combine for a terrier-grade, energetic swoop through a wilderness of stone with steep climbs, narrow passages and a rib-tickling squeeze through the claustrophobic darkness of the "grotto".  Like a speeding carnival ride, this trek is over too quickly, but will have you yelling, "let's do it again".
View of Stairway Loop from Rock Stacker Trail. Note the hikers, left center.

LENGTH: 1.15 miles total
RATING: moderate-difficult
ELEVATION: 5050' - 5150'
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to the SR69 interchange at Cordes Junction.  Go 30 miles west on SR69 to Prescott Lakes Parkway, turn right and continue 2.1 miles to SR89. Turn right and follow SR89 2.2 miles to Granite Garden Drive (unsigned) located directly across from Granite Gate Senior Living Community between mileposts 317 and 318. Turn right onto this rough dirt road and go 0.2 mile to the trailhead on the right just before the creek. Those with low clearance vehicles may park in the turnoffs before the road gets too rough.

Entering the Grotto

INFO: City of Prescott

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