© 2010 by Jack D. Wilson
Prescott Arizona is an outdoor adventurers paradise, an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking. This guide focuses on the many trails in Prescott. However, kayaking, rock climbing, camping and fishing opportunities abound. Many believe that Prescott is the best place to mountain bike in the entire country.
Prescott is a pleasant two-hour drive 100 miles north of Phoenix. Our mile-high elevation means we are typically 15-20 cooler than Phoenix. Prescott is surrounded by the worlds largest Ponderosa Pine forest. The US Forest Service has over 450 miles of trails in the forest around Prescott!
Prescott is working on completing the 50-mile Circle Trail. We have trails to satisfy users at any level, while being a "cool " place to hang out in the evenings with the opportunity to take rest days and visit the museums/ theater, go kayaking on the lakes, play golf, rodeo, or even pan for gold!
A Mountain Biker’s Perspective
To give you a flavor of the exceptional trails in Prescott Arizona, here is a link to a blog post from the blog Diary of Scott Morris, sharing a mountain bikers perspective on some challenging riding on new trails in the picturesque Granite Dells area of Prescott: Play hard, get hurt. Also see Scott’s follow-up article Prescott Monster Redemption and Scott’s precursor to these two, Strategy in Prescott. With those blog posts as an introduction, I think that most would agree that Prescott Arizona is truly a mountain bikers paradise!
Whiskey Off Road Endurance Race
This is the premier mountain biking event in Prescott, check out the video:
The 8th annual Whiskey Off Road will be held on April 30, 2011. Registration opens on January 1, 2011 (see sponsor Epic Rides website The Whiskey Off-Road). Event activities are scheduled for April 29-May 1, 2011, with the actual race on April 30, 2011. The race will have a guaranteed cash purse of $20,000 split equally between men and women racers.
Besides the race there will be a bandshell with entertainment.
Here is the opening song from last years lead entertainer, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (video by Jack D. Wilson):
Trails in Prescott
City of Prescott Office of Tourism Trails Page
City of Prescott trails page has a comprehensive listing of city trails. These range from the easy, such as the Peavine trail (on a former Santa Fe railroad bed) to extremely difficult Willow Dells Slickrock Trail Loops See the Vimeo video Riding the Firebird Prototype in Prescott. Are you an advanced mountain bike rider and want a technical challenge?
Mountain Biking in Prescott
Riding the Firebird Prototype in Prescott
Prescott Area trail maps by Derek Brownlee at Sharlot Hall Museum. Derek was on my Prescott Bicycle Advisory Committee when I was mayor and he has the reputation of having ridden every trail in the area.
Bradshaw Ranger District Trails from US Forest Service.
Peavine Trail Video
Ron Smith’s Book
Description and cover picture from Amazon.com:
The author presents his personal trail journals for mountain hikes in the Central Highland region of Arizona. Trail descriptions include maps, trail specifications, elevation profiles, and Latitude/Longitude coordinates as convenience to GPS users. This is a guide for hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. Most trips can be completed in one day and average six to 12 miles in length.
About the Author
Ron Smith is semi-retired, after a 30-year career as wildlife biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. This career has taken him throughout Arizona’s diverse biological regions. His skills as keen observer, writer, and back country traveler have helped to make this guide more than just a technical reference. It also reflects a long cultivated sensitivity to the value of wild places and the need to protect them for ourselves and those who follow us. ”
Bike and Hiking shops in Prescott
|Shop/Click for website||Address/Phone||Comments|
|Ironclad Bicycles||710 White Spar Rd, Prescott, AZ 86302
|Bicycle sales, rentals and repairs. facebook.com/ironcladbicycles|
|Bikesmith Cycle & Fitness||723 N Montezuma St
|Oldest bike shop in Prescott.|
|High Gear Bicycles||505 E Sheldon St
Prescott, AZ 86301
|Hike Shack||210 S Montezuma St, Prescott, AZ 86303 (928) 443-8565||M-F 10a-6p, Sat 9a-6p, Sun 10a-4p Outfitters for Day Hikers, Backpackers, Climbers, Urban Walkers, Trail Runners, Trekkers, Boaters, Hunters, and Adventure Travelers.|
|Granite Mountain Outfitters (no website)||320 W Gurley St, Prescott, AZ 86301
|Mon-Thu 9am-5:30pm, Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9:30am-4pm, Sun 12am-12am|
Biking organizations in Prescott
Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA)
Prescott Cycling Club: http://www.prescottcycling.org/index.html
Trail and Hiking organizations in Prescott
Yavapai Trails Association
Yavapai Trails Association is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and developing recreational, non-motorized trails. They are an all-volunteer group that represents the interests of hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. They publish a quarterly newsletter, Trail Tracks, which you can view on their web site.
Yavapai Trails Association
P.O. Box 403
Prescott, AZ 86302
Call Membership Chair
Jim Pessin at (928) 771-2707
or go to: www.yavapai-trails.org
Prescott Outings Club
Prescott Hiking Club
TrekAbout Hiking Club
Treks around the Prescott area are held year-round. The club meets every Tuesday from 8 to 9 a.m. and Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m. during the summer months and vary in length and difficulty. Walks are graded on a scale of 1-4 (with 4 being the most difficult). Hikes are lead by staff and volunteers from the Prescott Recreation Department, YMCA, and Yavapai County Health Department. For information call Prescott Parks and Recreation Dept. at 777-1122 or the YMCA at 445-7221. Membership is $12 a year and includes 2 weekly guided hikes and monthly calendar. Hiking boots required, carry water, dogs must be on a leash. Click for PDF application.
Adventure Travel Providers
Perhaps you would like an expert guide to take you on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
|Vendor (click for website)||Comments|
|Rubicon specializes in adventure travel. Matt Brown is the owner and lead guide. From their web site
“Our year round guided tours in the mile high city now include Guided Mountain Biking and Guided Dayhikes. If you are looking for a relaxing weekend away our Self Guided Camping in Granite Basin Recreation Area is an easy way to get out and have some fun. Combine any or all of the tours above with a Guided Rock Climbing day and you will surely have a weekend to remember.”
|GO! Adventure Recreation||Dave provides guided mountain bike rides and guided hiking among other services.|
Rest days attractions
Need something to do on a rest day? Prescott has several interesting museums, details at Spotlight on Prescott Arizona Museums. There are lots of interesting shops downtown, including antique shops, details on these at Antique Capital of Arizona.
Accommodations in Prescott
There are lots of hotel, motels and bed and breakfast establishments in Prescott. I have listed a few that are outstanding. The first two were statewide winners in their categories is the Arizona Republic’s Best Hotel reader poll.
Prescott Motor Lodge, 503 S. Montezuma St., Prescott, AZ 86303 928-717-0157. See Arizona Republic story Best Arizona Bargain Hotel. Some say this might be the coolest budget hotel in Arizona. In addition to their website they have a blog and a Facebook page.
Residence Inn Prescott, 3599 Lee Circle Prescott, Arizona 86301 USA 928-775-2232. The Residence Inn is right across from the Prescott Gateway Mall. If you are partial to Four Seasons, you will like the Residence Inn. It is the best business destination in Prescott.
Do you like Bed and Breakfast accommodations? Then click on over to the Prescott Bed and Breakfast Association.
Food and Drink
|You will not be disappointed with breakfast at the Dinner Bell. It is located at 321 W. Gurley, (928) 445-9888. Cash only, but an ATM in front. Open until 2:00pm. Favorites include buckwheat waffles with mango and walnuts, cinnamon rolls and Huevos Rancheros. Use the creek side walkway to get to the back room/patio – it is the best place to sit (locals eat back there).|
|Grandma’s Bakery is located at 207 W. Gurley just off Montezuma. It is in the lower level space of the Hotel St. Michael’s. If you like fancy baked deserts such as Napoleons and Éclairs then do not miss this.|
|Kendall‘s is located at 113 S. Cortez and features Fifties music, décor and value. Made to order burgers, fries and an old-fashioned soda fountain.|
|The Raven Café is located at 142 N. Cortez (web site at http://www.ravencafe.com/ ). Breakfast, lunch and dinner, 35 beers on taps with 135 beers in bottles. Free wi-fi. Check out the upstairs patio area. The owners are supporters of biking. They hosted the Ales for Trails benefit on March 24, 2010.|
|The Palace is located at 120 S. Montezuma on historic Whiskey Row and is a bar and restaurant. If you can’t eat there at least stick your head in to check out the décor. The movie Junior Bonner shot some of its scenes inside and there is a very large Junior Bonner wall mural in the back portion. Their food is not the attraction, it is the old western bar ambiance.|
All photographs by Jack D. Wilson unless otherwise noted. Unauthorized use prohibited without prior permission.
I hope that you found this guide helpful, if you did please leave a comment or forward to a friend. If I missed something that you found along the way, leave a comment and I will try to update the information.
Jack D. Wilson first visited Prescott in 1995 and has been a resident since 2000. He took a sojourn into politics and was the mayor of Prescott Arizona from Nov. 2007 – Nov. 2009. While he was mayor, he participated in two Mayor’s Bicycle Ride to Work on a tandem bicycle with partner Billy Broadfoot and had a Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. He now writes a couple of blogs and is President of the Prescott Frontier Days Community Service Foundation.