Follow Me On Twitter

Monday, January 30, 2017

GLASSFORD HILL SUMMIT TRAIL

GLASSFORD HILL SUMMIT TRAIL

Town of Prescott Valley
Inside the volcano
There’s a little volcano in Prescott Valley that despite its lack of climate-altering fireworks a la Krakatoa or a festering apocalypse like the one under Yellowstone National Park, still managed to create a big enough impression on the landscape to warrant a hiking trail to its summit.  
With its out-of-nowhere character, the new route walks out of the suburbs into the spent inferno of an extinct volcano culminating on a scenic highpoint in Arizona’s Central Highlands.  Dedicated in May 2016, the Glassford Hill Summit Trail makes a moderately difficult climb among the crumbling lava flows and eroding slopes of a Miocene-epoch volcano situated at the edge of State Route 69.
Prescott Valley with San Francisco Peaks on horizon
When viewed from the highway, the rounded form of Glassford Hill doesn’t look that special. With a smattering of subdivisions and shopping centers lapping at its base, the grassy mound humbles in comparison to cloud-brushing Bradshaw Mountain Peaks visible across the valley.  However, the hill’s back side is quite a different scene. A gaping gash severs the mountain’s north face. Between 10 and 14 million years ago, this area was a cauldron of bubbling magma, fiery cinders and molten lava bombs that broke the surface and froze into bizarre pillars and rivers of basalt.
Grazing pronghorn
Layers of ocher and russet stone are evidence of multiple volcanic events that built the hill and eventually caused it to spill its guts.  The first mile is a moderate stroll through sparse grasslands, weather-beaten junipers and hardy shrubs where resident pronghorn graze. Interpretive signs along this section provide information on local wildlife and geological features.  
Bradshaw Mountain views
Beyond the 1-mile point, the wide, dirt path heads upwards, ascending more than 900 feet by way of tight switchbacks. At each turn, the trail becomes steeper but picnic tables placed at each juncture and mileposts located every quarter mile make it easy to take a break and decide if you want to press on or turn back.
Entering the collapsed volcano
Those who reach the summit are rewarded with unobstructed, 360 degree vistas, a display of historic heliograph equipment and more picnic tables. The bald zenith rises over a sprawling valley ringed by mountains. On clear days, the peaks of Flagstaff, Williams and Prescott National Forest gleam on the horizon while homes and business roll out in neat grids below the hill’s fractured slopes.
Summit of Glassford Hill
LENGTH: 2.1 mile (4.2 miles roundtrip)
RATING: more difficult
ELEVATION:  5183’-6123’
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix, go north on Interstate 17 to exit 263 for State Route 69. Follow SR 69 26.5 miles to Prescott East Highway (located just past mile post 289), turn right and continue 0.6 mile to Sunset Lane. Turn left and go 0.1 mile to Castle Drive, turn right and continue 0.3 mile to the parking lot on the left.  From the map sign, head right and hike 0.1 mile on the dirt road to the bridge and the beginning of the trail. Roads are 100% paved and there’s a portable restroom at the trailhead.
INFO & MAP:
http://www.pvaz.net/DocumentCenter/View/3172

No comments: