Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Willow Dells Trails, Prescott, AZ



After our short but fun hike and rock scramble in the blazing sun at Watson Lake last week, we decided to get an earlier start and check out the trail system at Willow Lake, Prescott’s other small reservoir that contributes to the beauty of this area.


The city of Prescott has constructed quite an impressive trail system. This description is from the city web site.

Mile-High Trail System

The Mile-High Trail System contains approximately 48 miles of trails including Rails-to-Trails projects along the former Santa Fe Railroad, the Prescott Circle Trail System, and the Greenways Trails System. The Prescott Circle Trail is a network of trails that continues to expand, and which will eventually encircle all of Prescott. The Greenways Trails are urban trails along Granite and Miller Creeks that run through downtown Prescott.

The Willow Dells Slickrock Trails take you up, over, in and around a maze of gigantic boulders, at times ending up high on the rocks with views of the lake. It took us a couple hours to hike the 3 mile loop since we had trouble following the trail in places and did some backtracking. Much of the “trail” is just walking on slickrock,  marked by a series of white dots painted on the rocks, and was quite a workout for the legs with all the ups and downs.

It was one of the most fun hikes we’ve done lately. And the scenery wasn’t bad, either.






You can see the white dots marking the trail on the rock.



It was easy to forget that the city of Prescott is just across the lake. What a great place to hike.


On the way back from the laundromat yesterday, we noticed smoke not far off in the distance, which turned out to be from the Dolce Fire, 8 miles northwest of Prescott, that began yesterday morning. Where we are staying is about 20 miles from the fire, but we have a perfect view of it from our site.




It has yet to be determined what caused the fire, but it increased from 20 acres late yesterday morning to 7,000 acres overnight. It was very windy yesterday and is supposed to be again today, with gusts to 40 mph, so it’s not looking good for containment. 500 homes have been evacuated but none have been damaged as of this morning.

One interesting thing is that quite a few trucks pulling horse trailers came in last night to board their horses here at the Fairgrounds stables. Hadn’t thought about what people do with their big animals when they have to evacuate. Most shelters don’t even allow cats and dogs, let alone horses. Let’s hope they make some progress getting the fire under control today.


  1. Gorgeous photos of hiking those boulders and lakefront trails!
    The fires are getting to be a regular summer event...we need some rain out west.
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. Beautiful scenery. I enjoyed looking at your pictures. Sure hope that fire gets contained. They seem to spread so fast. I always worry about the animals when there is a big fire.

  3. It is amazing how many trails are so close to that town. The view is gorgeous. Marking that down on our to-do list. Our plans right now are to head to AZ this winter instead of FL.

    Those fires are awful. The TV has terrible news about them every night.

  4. For a city to have 48 miles of trails is amazing. I love rock scramble trails. There is a great one near Charlottesville that I talked about in a recent post. Sure looks like fun.

    Those fires make me so sad. I do so hope they can get it under control. If it expanded from 20 to 7000 acres over night what will it do in another day?

  5. I love the boulder hike! It is such a great full body workout when you have to climb boulders. So glad you are sharing this great hiking area. We already know what a cute town it is, now we can hike, too!!

    Too bad about the fire. Glad people have some place to take their horses. It is hard to watch that smoke billow overhead.

  6. Now Prescott is going on our list of places to visit! Love, love, love slickrock trails...amazing how many miles of trails they have around there!

    Fingers crossed the fire is contained soon.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  7. You guys always find the best places to boondock! Really nice photos.

    Your blog post about the fire is scarey. In the photos it looked so close. :(