With so many trails to hike, bike, run, climb, and ride horses along, one of the big issues for this writer is picking a trail to spend so time on. There are so many options in the Prescott area. Honestly, almost every trail around the city is scenic, so you’re always sure to have a good time.
One trail that I’ve neglected to visit for a while is the Constellation Trail. It’s on the northeastern side of Willow Lake, part of the city’s Heritage Park. So a few short days ago I met up with a local friend and we enjoyed a nice relaxing loop walk on the Constellation trail. Mild elevation changes, stunning granite formations, and a story behind the trail itself and the remnants of a crash military plane from years gone by make the trail a unique and historical venture.
The trail head is easily accessed from the parking lot of the Phippen Museum, and there is a lower parking area just for hikers and mountain bikers looking to access the trail. Currently you should note that as of September 1st of 2017 there is construction on Highway 89 in front of the Phippen museum. A new traffic circle is going in, and while it’s being constructed there may be some traffic issues.
The trail itself isn’t an “in and out” experience. There are multiple trails in the area looping in and out of each other’s paths. Many names for the short connectors exist. What you need to know is that no matter which spur trail you take, you can continue looping around and reconnecting to the Constellation trail quickly and easily. And you have to try a connector or two. Each spur trail leads to interesting views of the Granite Dells, and some areas offering a little elevation gain promise views toward Chino Valley and Flagstaff in the far distance. On clear days the Flagstaff peaks are very visible!
The trail and surrounding spur trails offer mild hiking to moderate hiking. You might get a little winded if you’re not used to the elevation. During the Fall and Spring hiking in the Dells is at it’s best. During the winter you might stumble across some snow or ice now and then, but not often. And during the summer months it can get pretty hot during the late morning through the late afternoon, so be prepared to get a little hot if you’re hiking then!
For further information about other nearby hiking and mountain biking trails be sure to check out this site’s Granite Dells section, and the two sub-pages about Watson Lake and Willow Lake specifically. Any hikes or mountain bike rides you do in the area promise stunning views, and unique challenges.