Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Butte Creek Bridge at Stricklin Park
Besides packing the usual gear and water, hikers on Prescott’s Butte Creek Trail #321 should be prepared to duck.  That’s because the 1.6-mile city-managed section of the route passes through the private Hassayampa Golf Club.  
Part of the trail goes through a private golf community 
This pleasantly diverse pathway that skirts manicured greens and glass-faced homes with wrap-around balconies provides alternative access to the Thumb Butte Area in Prescott National Forest.  The trail begins at Stricklin Park where a bridge embellished with whimsical dragonfly sculptures crosses Butte Creek.  
Fragrant cliffrose
Even in drier years like this one, the creek corridor is alive with greenery.
Canyon grapes thrive near the creek
Massive Fremont cottonwood trees sway above a meandering strip of willows, oaks, wild roses, reeds, Canyon grape vines and boxelders.  The well-marked trail wanders through a shady, boulder-lined woodland before it crosses another bridge and enters the golf community property.  The slim path is open to all for recreational use, but you must stay on the trail.  The next mile explores the suburban-forest interface passing by emerald greens, golf cart paths and steep-walled riparian ravines where humid pine-moss-addled air mingles with the scent of cliffrose and fresh cut grass. 
A pine-shaded passage of Butte Creek Trail
As the trail gains elevation, the iconic form of Thumb Butte rises to the north followed by views of Prescott Valley, the Bradshaw Mountains and the peaks of Flagstaff.  At the 1.6-mile point, the trail enters Prescott National Forest. For a short stretch beyond the boundary gate, the trail moves through a forest clearing full of not-so-pretty slash piles (cut branches staged for burning or removal) but soon regains its beauty in a woodland dominated by Scrub live oak, manzanita and Ponderosa pines. 
Riparian vegetation on Butte Creek Trail
After 0.7-mile, the path meets the first of several junctions that connect with the Thumb Butte Area trail system. 
Thumb Butte seen from forest boundary
Download the forest service map to customize a long loop or head back the way you came (watching out for errant white balls flying among scrub jays and ravens) and take a walk around 5-acre Stricklin Park where you’ll find an archeological site with interpretive sign.
Greenery along Butte Creek
Claret cup cacti bloom along the trail May -July.
LENGTH: 6.2 miles out-and-back
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 5450 – 6100 feet
Watch out for flying golf balls.
Stricklin Park Trailhead: 1751 Sherwood Drive, Prescott.
From downtown Prescott, travel 1.8 miles west on Gurley Street to Sherwood Drive. Turn left and continue 0.2 mile to the Strickland Park sign on the left. Park along the street.

No comments: