The Prescott Circle Trail
56 miles | 6,689ft max elevation
22 trails | 6,700ft elevation gain
Circle Trail Description
The Prescott Circle Trail (PCT) is a 56-mile trail that navigates around Prescott, AZ. The trail is comprised of a variety of individual trails, all interconnected to create an amazingly varied experience. Each section can be accessed from a trail heads around town. It is composed of 22 different segments which total approximately 6,700ft of elevation gain. The table below details each trail, its distance and elevation gain and loss. Use the links in the table for more information about certain trails.
The Prescott Circle Trail explores both city and National Forest trails to offer a wide selection of terrain. The counter-clockwise attempt seems to be preferred by the locals since it avoids several steep and technical climbs.
|#396 Goldwater Lake Trail||4.6 mi||851ft/358ft|
|#62 Ranch Trail||4.5 mi||626ft/374ft|
|#126 Boy Scout Trail||0.9 mi||3ft/372ft|
|Turley Trail||2.4 mi||978ft/384ft|
|Badger Mountain Trail||4.0 mi||378ft/569ft|
|Sundog Ranch Trail||4.1 mi||444ft/675ft|
|Peavine Trail||1.7 mi||30ft/128ft|
|Watson Lake Trail||1.9 mi||N/A|
|Willow Creek Trail||2.6 mi||120ft/106ft|
|Jan Alfano Trail||2.3 mi||218ft/123ft|
|Legacy Trail||1.7 mi||214ft/181ft|
|Pioneer Park Trail||0.6 mi||51ft/6ft|
|Long View Trail||1.8 mi||155ft/119ft|
|Road Connector||1.5 mi||109ft/111ft|
|#341 Ho-Kay-Gan Trail||2.1 mi||502ft/147ft|
|#332 Javelina Trail||6.7 mi||778ft/780ft|
|#392 Garden Grove Trail||1.5 mi||357ft/24ft|
|#322 Circle Connector||0.7 mi||8ft/116ft|
|#327 Potts Creek Trail||2.1 mi||289ft/153ft|
|#393 Cold Springs Trail||1.5 mi||330ft/180ft|
|#48 Aspen Creek Trail||0.8 mi||149ft/29ft|
|#9415 Wolverton Mountain Trail||5.3 mi||248ft/1128ft|
The southeast portion of the trail, starting from Goldwater Lake Trail (#396) is perfect in the summer. It offers shade though a few challenging climbs and views of the Goldwater lakes. From there, the Ranch Trail (#62) leads into the National Forest for a serene and quiet getaway. Upon reaching the Boy Scout Trail (#126), test your skills for a few miles in a river bed with rocky terrain. Reaching the Turley Trail indicates you made it to the City of Prescott trail system. This section also introduces steady but steep climbs. The newly completed Badger Mountain Trail was designed for mountain bikers with nice flows downhill towards Highway 69. Be sure to keep an eye out for mountain bikers who are barreling down at high speed!
The northeast portion of the Prescott Circle Trail starts with a tunnel underneath Highway 69. Like the previous section, the Sundog Trail offers beautiful views of the city of Prescott. It eventually veers away to grassy fields and open spaces. Be sure to bring an extra jacket as it can get windy in this section. At the bottom of Sundog Ranch Trail, the old railway bed leads to the Peavine Trail overlooking Watson Lake and its beautiful dells formation.
One of the two asphalt sections on the Prescott Circle Trail connects Watson Lake to the Willow Creek Reservoir. Upon reaching the Willow Creek Trail, you are in for a few miles of fairly flat single track terrain that is very popular with bird watchers and dog walkers. At the end of this trail, you will close in on the Embry-Riddle campus. This is where the northwest portion of the Circle Trail starts.
The northwest portion begins with a short tunnel under Willow Creek road leading to the Jan Alfano Trail. The next few trails are all part of the Pioneer Park Trail network and offer view of Granite Mountain in the distance. The Long View Trail ends at the intersection of Pioneer Parkway and Williamson Valley road. At this stage, the second asphalt section of the trail runs south on Williamson Valley road. After a mile or so, enter the Wilwood Estate neighborhood where the Ho-Kay-Gan (#341) trail head awaits.
From there, a switchback-filled rocky trail awaits you. Your hard work will be rewarded with beautiful views of Granite Mountain. From there, Ho-Kay-Gan trail turns into Javelina Trail (#332) which leads to the south side of Granite Mountain. The longest trail on the Circle Trail, it eventually crosses Iron Springs Road and later Thumb Butte road. While en route, you will enter the Prescott National Forest again, brush the Emmanuel Pines area and cross a few river/creek along the way.
Upon completing the Javelina Trail (#332), cross Thumb Butte road to enter the southwest and final portion of the Prescott Circle Trail. Garden Grove Trail (#392) offers challenging switchbacks leading to a four-way intersection. Continue straight onto the Trail Connector (#322) and head downhill to Potts Creek Trail (#327) and later Cold Springs Trail (#393). This section provides quiet time through the forest on a flowing single track.
The Cold Springs Trail (#393) ends at the trail head along Copper Basin Road. From there, head up Aspen Creek Trail (#48) for a final challenging climb through rocky terrain. Reach the maximum elevation of 6,689 ft from the top of Trail #48. Be sure to take it all in! The final leg of your journey takes you down Wolverton Mountain Trail (#9415) while providing views of the mountain ranges all around Prescott. Goldwater trail head will eventually awaits along White Spar Road.
Circle Trail GPX Data
The map below presents the GPX data for the entire circle trail in one file.
The map below contains the 22 individual GPX files detailing each of the trails that compose the Prescott Circle Trail. Download this file if you plan on exploring each trail individually over several runs/hikes.
Copyright note: the GPX data is available for personal use only. Please contact me for commercial use.
If you need help with managing your GPX files, be sure to check the Tutorials section for help on how to combine GPX tracks, or simply dealing with a large collection of trails.
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