5 mile sections of The Prescott Circle Trail – Peavine to Willow Lake

The Prescott Circle Trail Watson and Willow Lake Section

The Prescott Circle Trail is over 50 miles in length.  While completing it in a single day is possible for mountain bikers and trail runners, realistically for “the rest of us” we might want to take a slower approach.  With that in mind, Explore Prescott will be doing a series of short sections of the Circle trail for visitors to the area to pick and choose from.  This installment covers the Peavine Trail to Willow Lake.  For reference to this section of the trail be sure to download the City of Prescott’s “Trails and Outdoor Recreation Map.

Starting at the Peavine Trail parking area

Hike in Prescott AZ on the Circle Trail Mountain Bike and Horseback

Parked at mile zero on the Prescott Circle Trail. The Peavine Trail Parking area

Referring to the City of Prescott Trails map you’ll find that the Peavine Trail is the suggested starting point (mile zero) for the Circle Trail.  So that’s where we’ll start this series out as well.

  1. From the Peavine Trail head to mile number one:  The first mile is a nice warm up for your hike or ride.  The Peavine trail is a nice flat former rail bed.  You won’t spend much time on the Peavine as you’ll be taking the trail around the southern part of Watson Lake pretty quickly.  Large trees and a riparian preserve will greet you on your ride toward Watson Lake’s southern boat launch (mile number 1).
  2. From mile one to mile two you’ll be traveling along Watson Lake.  Leaving the southern boat launch you’ll climb to one of the high points at Watson Lake Park.  Views of the lake and the granite formations will dominate this part of your ride, and the scenery will likely slow you down.  That’s okay, there’s no hurry along this section of the trail.  Enjoy the scenery!
  3. Mile two through mile 3 starts out a little dull.  You’re leaving Watson Lake headed for Willow, but there’s a little “road time.”  Exiting Watson Lake you’ll cross Route 89, and travel along Willow Lake Road.  About half way through this section you’ll get off the road and back onto trail along the southern park of Willow Lake.
  4. Mile three to mile four you’ll find yourself enjoying a mild trail along the southern edge of Heritage Park (Willow Lake Park).  Great views of the Granite Dells to the north.  Great views along this section!
  5. Mile four to mile five you’ll find yourself turning north toward the Willow Lake parking area.  You don’t actually go all the way to the parking area.  Just south of it you’ll turn west onto the Embry Riddle trail to continue your journey toward Granite Basin.

If you’re keeping to small sections along the Circle Trail you might be interested in continuing to Heritage Park (Willow Lake) and enjoying some time lakeside near the boat launch.  Or you might want to enjoy a trail or two in the park as well.  And if you parked your vehicle back at the Peavine Trail parking area, you’ll have some more distance to go to get back.

On a recent mountain bike ride along this section of the Circle Trail I covered nearly 11 miles in the morning.  On the bike the trip went quickly and I was done in under an hour and a half with plenty of photo stops.  So if you’re riding on your mountain bike you could cover a few more sections if you’d like.  We’re breaking these sections up into short ones to allow visitors to the area to select what they’d like to fit in for a day visit.

Below you’ll find a quick video of some of the scenes along the trail for this section.  Enjoy!

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