The Prescott Circle Trail is a relatively new venture in the City of Prescott. Well, new to the public that is. The trail is over 50 miles long, and circles the city of Prescott. From Thumb Butte to Granite Basin, Watson and Willow Lakes, up into the mountains near Senator Highway, the trail offers a little bit of everything!
The city of Prescott has always boasted amazing outdoor recreational opportunities, and the Prescott Circle Trail has pulled together some of the major trail systems into a fun single day or multi-day route. For the adventurous mountain biker the circle trail can be completed in a day. For trail runners you may want to do a two day route. And for leisurely hikers and backpackers the trail has some convenient entry and exit points allowing you to take a few days to circle the city.
The Prescott Circle Trail In Segments
The trail’s terrain is a mix. The Watson and Willow Lake segment takes visitors through the breath taking Granite Dells. Incredible granite rock formations, two lakes, open wide trails, and broad views.
The Granite Basin section of the circle trail allows for stunning views of Granite Mountain, which dominates the skyline of the city. A different style of trail than the Watson and Willow section, visitors will find themselves in denser tree cover, narrower trail sections, and some challenge no matter how you’re exploring the trail.
The Thumb Butte section of the trail also offers more areas with limited view due to the tree cover. That’s okay though as you’re offered challenging and interesting trail.
Moving from Thumb Butte toward White Spar visitors will encounter additional elevation and the experience that you are much further outside of town than you really are. The trail takes you to Quartz Mountain, and onward to Goldwater Lake.
From Goldwater, heading North and slightly East you make your way through the Prescott Forest back to more open trails leading back to the Peavine Trail, and Watson Lake. That’s the full circuit (counter clockwise), and there’s varied terrain and scenery for all visitors exploring the trail.
Experience The Circle Trail Today
If you’re interested in exploring the Prescott Circle trail on your own there are maps available online. You can start planning your trip today. For runners, hikers, and walkers who are interested in doing the trail in sections, there are convenient points along the trail to leave one vehicle, and another at your destination. It will require a little more planning on your part, but isn’t that difficult.
There’s also a new group, Arizona High Altitude Training, offering tours along the Circle Trail. You can break the trail into sections, and AZ High Altitude Training will provide shuttling and a guide for each section.
Whether you experience the circle trail on your own, or with a guide, it’s quite an experience. Visitors come from far and wide each year to visit Prescott. And this new trail adds one more reason to visit the town and stay for a while to take everything in!