Prescott Circle Trail History & 2023 Challenge
This year, we encouraged our community members to “get outside” and enjoy our beautiful resources by participating in the “Circle Trail Challenge,” an individual challenge of exploring all 54 miles of our unique Circle Trail.
The Prescott Circle Trail is a 54-mile non-motorized trail that gives hikers, backpackers, horse riders, and mountain bikers a route through Prescott National Forest, City of Prescott, Yavapai County, and state lands. You will get views of Watson Lake, Willow Lake, and Goldwater Lake, cut through Granite Dells, and take in Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte.
Back in 1990, the Yavapai Trails Association initiated the idea of a non-motorized trail that would “circle” the city of Prescott. With many partners and volunteers, by late 2014, the 54-mile Prescott Circle Trail (PCT) was completed for the enjoyment of hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.
The topography of the trail ranges from 5140 to 6990 feet in elevation and it passes many Prescott landmarks including Watson, Willow, and Goldwater Lakes; Thumb Butte, the mountain that towers over town; and Pioneer Park on the north side of town. There are three campsites along the trail for those who are interested in camping along the way. The PCT is a beautiful trail that meanders through forest, chaparral, and grasslands.
Recently, Yavapai Trails Association has partnered with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s to offer the community the “Circle Trail Challenge”. It is our hope this challenge encourages people of all ages to get outside and spend time on our marquee trail. Get out your hiking poles, saddle your horse, put on a helmet, and hit the trail!
The trail has been divided into 11 segments to be completed in a day, weeks, months, or even years; simply keep track of the sections you complete. The trail is for you, whatever way you chose to complete it, or when. Finish all the sections of the Challenge, then complete the Challenge Completion and Additional Information form ( PDF here). You will receive a certificate of completion, and a Circle Trail Patch or a Circle Trail bumper sticker (sponsored by Russ Lyon Sotheby’s). Your name will be added to the permanent PCT Challenge list of completers.
YTA invites you to achieve the physical accomplishment of completing the entire Prescott Circle Trail any way you can! Visit http://www.prescott-az.gov/recreation-events/recreation-areas/trails/ for more information about the Circle Trail.
Have fun! Be safe.
Follow the trail etiquette rules. We hope to see you on the trail soon! Any questions may be directed to email@example.com
Bringing your four-legged fur babies on the trail with you? Take a look at this video to understand the rules and regulations around animals on the trails.
Here is the list of those who completed the Circle Trail Challenge so far:
Billy the Kid McMillen
James M. Smith
Jessica Manley Ewald
Megan Elizabeth Merry
Joyce A Lefler
Irene Paulina Moreno
Diana Van Trump
Amanda Kay Olmut
David W. Sorenson
Collen Sober (2016)
Gregory Sober (2016)
John P Walsh
Michael P. Thieme
Here are the comments from some of those who completed the challenge about their experiences :
Ron Sampson, 56:
“It was a FANTASTIC experience and exceeded my expectations!”
(He completed the PCT on bicycle in 6 hours and 50 minutes.)
“I started out with camping gear in my backpack, but completed the first day so quickly, that I took a Lyft back to my house in less than 15 minutes. The next two days, I started hiking where I left off & finished the entire trail in 3 days; a little weary, but very happy. Gorgeous scenery & so accessible.”
“As a fairly new resident of the area, the Prescott Circle Trail was (and is) a great way to explore the natural beauty of the area. I LOVE the easy access points to get on and off the Circle Trail. What a great asset to the Community!”
Nelson Zarate, 70:
“We were two hikers starting at the Sundog Ranch trialhead at 3AM that day. The temperature was about 28F but slowly it got warmer to around 75 in the afternoon. We tried to keep a steady pace to about 3 miles per hour finishing at about 9PM!”
“I am proud of Prescott for offering the hiking trails, maintaining them, and adding new trails. Many THANKS.”
Leah Gilbert, 75:
“Great feeling of accomplishment. Have completed some segments more than once. Thank you to so many for their vision in making Prescott a unique place to enjoy nature and the great outdoors!”