• Hike a “gold country” gulch
    Posted by at April 30th
    Share on Facebook+1Share on Twitter

    SALIDA GULCH LOOP TRAIL
    Prescott
    Lynx Creek
     
    When it comes to historic gold ore hot spots in Arizona’s hills, the mountains around Prescott held the mother lode.  Defunct mining operations have pretty much depleted the area’s precious metal deposits, leaving behind dredge tailing and pipe dreams for prospectors. Lynx Creek flows through the heart of this gold country and is a popular spot for recreational treasure hunters panning for dust and nuggets.  The Salida Gulch trail #95 begins at a section of the creek that is undergoing restoration from the effects of decades of mining.  It’s a beautiful   riparian strip with crisp water tumbling over a pebbly waterway that hikers must cross to pick up the trail. Roughly 0.1 mile beyond the creek, pass a gate and then look for the turn off for trail #95 on the right.  The loop begins within a few yards—go left for the shady “gulch” leg or right for the sunny “ridge” side– it all circles back.  I began with the gulch leg—a 1.6-mile trek through a narrow, stone-entrenched canyon.  Views are sparse on this east side of the loop but intermittent streams and runoff channels foster a cooling canopy of pine-oak woodlands and blooming shrubs.  At about the half-mile point, a prominent prehistoric rock art gallery of decorative coils, intricately sketched game animals and mystifying human forms are incised into massive grey boulders to the left of the trail.  There’s another panel farther up the path, but it’s not so easy to spot.
    Woodlands on the gulch side of the loop

     

    A mile beyond the petroglyphs, the trail makes a sharp turn and begins climbing to the ridge above the gulch.  This 2.4-mile leg leaves the forests and enters a scrubland of junipers, yucca and manzanita with views of Prescott’s famous Granite Mountain and the towers on Spruce Mountain.  At one point, you can look down on the gulch leg of the loop winding below off to the right.  For a trail located just about a mile south of a busy Costco shopping center and adjacent to popular Lynx Lake Recreation Area, this easy-on-the-feet hike is surprisingly quiet and enjoyable.
    View of Granite Mtn from the ridge

    LENGTH:  4.5-mile loop (includes access trail 9263)
    RATING: easy
    ELEVATION:  5050′ – 5742′
    FEES: none at this site
    FACILITIES: none, but there’s a vault toilet at the gold panning site
    GETTING THERE:
    From Phoenix, go north on I17 to the Cordes Junction interchange for AZ69.  Head west toward Prescott on AZ69 to the stoplight at Walker Road which is just past the Costco and milepost 293. Turn left and follow Walker Rd 1.2 miles to Lynx Creek Road (FR9401, signed Lynx Creek Ruins/Salida Gulch), turn left and continue 1 mile to the trailhead at the forest boundary sign.  Begin hiking on trail 9263, hop the creek and look for the trail 95 junction in about 0.1 mile.
    INFO: Bradshaw Ranger District, Prescott National Forest
    MORE PHOTOS:


    More Posts by Arizona Hiking

    Arizona Hiking

    Post Author: Arizona Hiking


    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.


    Website: http://arizonahiking.blogspot.com/