Hikers beware, this Friday April 27 -Sunday April 29, 2012 is the weekend of Prescott’s famous
. This year, 1,750 mountain bikers have registered and as the route follows busy downtown streets and popular hiking trails alike, you may want to steer clear of the area if you prefer hiking with less traffic. We hiked a section of the course this past weekend and encountered dozens of athletes practicing for the race. These trails are part of the City of Prescott’s Circle trail system—a collection of national forest, county and local trails, strung together in a 50-mile loop. From the Aspen Creek trailhead, we began hiking on Cold Springs #393 which starts out with an immediate uphill haul, then flattens out, wandering through a forests of Ponderosa pines with many sunny clearings. Soon, views of Prescott’s Thumb Butte area pop out over the trees. Cold Spring–a damp rocky depression—appears on the left just before the trail ends at the Potts Creek #327 trail. Trail 327 has lots of ups-and-downs, staying close to the stream at first, but soon dives into the woodlands through shady canyons, sun-washed meadows and a short burnt section. A three-way junction for 327-391-9401J presents many options. Continue on 327 to access myriad trails near Thumb Butte or (as we did) take trail 9401J (unsigned, but it’s the trail on the left denoted by a path of logs) for a moderately strenuous, mostly exposed uphill haul to Sierra Prieta Overlook
LENGTH: 11.3 miles out-and-back
Cold Springs #393: 1.6 miles one-way
Potts Creek #327: 2 miles one-way
Trail #9401J: 2.3 miles one way
ELEVATION: 6,200’- 6,940′
Aspen Trail trailhead:
From the AZ69/89 junction in Prescott continue 1.25 miles west on 69 (becomes Gurley St) to Montezuma St. Turn left (south) on Montezuma (turns into AZ89/White Spar Road) and go 1 mile to the light at Copper Basin Road. Turn right and go 4.6 miles on Copper Basin (turns to good dirt after 1.6 miles) to the trailhead on the right—signed Aspen Creek Trailhead.
Bio: Serial blogger, manic hiker and “mom” to a dozen adopted dogs, Mare Czinar has been exploring Arizona trails for more than 20 years. After being led astray (or just plain confused) by outdated hiking books and online resources (hence the tagline: We got lost, so you don’t have to), Czinar sought to create a fully vetted, frequently updated online hike travelogue with current driving and hiking directions to spare fellow hikers the mental and physical wear-and-tear of aimless wandering.
In addition, blog entries are amended when road closures or wildfires restrict trail access. When not working, blogging, writing about the great outdoors or picking up dog poo, Czinar attempts to “stay found” while checking out new trails.