Hitting the Trails: Hiking and Biking in Prescott, Arizona



The natural beauty of Prescott, Arizona is one of the many factors that consistently ranks our town as one of the best retirement destinations in the country. Combine that with the mild winters, cool summers, and clean air, and it makes it hard to imagine living anywhere else. What better way to enjoy all of that than grabbing a bottle of water and hitting some of the city’s hiking trails? The City of Prescott maintains over 70 miles of hiking and biking trails in and around the city while the Prescott National Forest offers over one million acres of land to explore.

We’ve written before in the History of Dorn Homes, that before breaking ground on a new community we look for inspiration in the natural world that surrounds us. At Walden Farms that meant building a community with panoramic views of the Dells and surrounding areas, areas that you can explore for yourself on the Peavine Trail. So join us for a quick trek through Prescott to explore some of the best hiking northern Arizona has to offer.

The Iron King Trail

The Iron King Trail connects the towns of Prescott and Prescott Valley and intersects with the Peavine Trail on the outer edges of the Granite Dells. This trail was once part of the Prescott East Railroad and still features several rest areas where you can view railroad service cars from a bygone era. Railway history is literally built into the trail as it has three wash crossings built on retired flatbed railcars. This trail is a great place to start for individuals without much hiking experience as there is minimal elevation gain and it’s graded by the City of Prescott as one of the easiest trails. Please note that there are no facilities on the Iron King Trail so be sure to pack enough water for your trip.

The Peavine Trail

By far one of the most popular trails in the area, the Peavine Trail is another excellent choice for beginners. Similar to the Iron King Trail, this has limited elevation gain and a good trail surface. The Peavine Trail stretches from Highway 89A in the north down to the Granite Dells where it picks up the Iron King Trail. From there it runs south alongside Watson Lake and the Granite Creek into the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve. Like the Iron King Trail, the Peavine Trail is not a loop, this means you should prepare to either backtrack or coordinate transportation to meet you at a trailhead for pickup. Facilities are limited to the Watson Lake Park, so once again, plan on carrying your own water.

Prescott Circle Trail

The Prescott Circle Trail is a collection of area trails that combine to form a 54-mile loop that encircles the town of Prescott. This trail is jointly managed by the City of Prescott and the Prescott National Forest and features a total of 15 trailheads and a 6000 ft total elevation gain. The Prescott Circle Trail includes portions of the Embry Riddle Trail, the Peavine Trail, and Willow Lake Trail among many others. Should you feel adventurous enough to tackle this hike, you’ll find it encounters Willow, Watson, and Goldwater Lakes as well as several campsites while getting as close as three miles from downtown. The City of Prescott recommends hiking or biking this trail or seeing it from horseback.

More information about the City of Prescott trail system (including maps, photos, and recommended use) is available under the “City Services” tab on the city’s website. While we’ve highlighted a few of our favorites here, there are many more miles of trails to explore, including the Greenways Trails, urban trails that run along Granite and Miller Creeks through downtown Prescott. We urge you to explore the city’s website for more information and to take appropriate precautions when hiking, including packing sufficient water and notifying others of your plans.

For more information about recreation in the Prescott area and what our town has to offer, reach out to one of our Online Home Advisors today.