7:00 am: Carpool time from Fry’s at Hayden and Thompson Peak
9:00 am: Expected start time from the trailhead
This moderate 5 mile mile loop hike is rewarded with beautiful views of Watson Lake throughout the hike. The hike will begin from the trailhead by the parking that is farthest from the main entry (near the Kayak boat dock. We will hike the loop counter clockwise.
The first mile will be through a Riparian Preserve and then connect with the Peavine Trail where we will share the trail with bike riders, birdwatcher and walkers. It’s fairly popular so we need to stay to the right the best we can. The hike starts off more or less as a nature walk. However once we cross back over into Watson Lake Loop, we’ll start to Boulder Hop and it is really important to follow the white dots. We then connect again with the Watson Lake Loop to the left, and veer around the lake, crossing over onto Treehouse Loop where there is an abandoned Tree house. At about mile 3 ½ we will cross a stream and, if the water is still as high as it was when I scouted it, it will require helping each other across! Once across the stream, we’ll take a break by the dam where it is shady and cool. The return will take us onto the trail, over a grate (yep a grate) and up the Granite Dells, which are huge boulders that you walk on. We will follow the white dots all the around, up and over until we connect with the Over the Hill Trail and back to the Watson Loop Lake Trail.
I took three experienced hikers with me and they did suggest no need to take hiking poles. We will stay together to help each other, so no one is left behind. It is very scenic so bring your cameras, particularly if you have never seen the Granite Dells.
This trail will be in the sun.
Trail type: Some boulder scrambling and a stream crossing
Estimated hiking time: 3-4 hours hiking time
Hiking distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: Approximately 400 feet
What to bring: At least 3 liters of water, snacks or lunch, clothing suitable for the weather. Good hiking boots/shoes.
Fee: Park Entrance is a $2.00 fee by self-parking Kiosk per car
Carpool location: Fry’s patio at the southeast corner of Hayden and Thompson Peak in Scottsdale. We will leave at 7:00 am. The drive to the trailhead is 1.5-2 hours. Plan on a $5-7 contribution to the driver.
Directions to the trailhead: From Fry’s, go south to the 101, west to I17N, North to AZ 69 toward Prescott. Continue on AZ-69 N for about 20 miles, then take a right onto Fain Rd. In 7 miles, merge onto State Rte 89A and then 89 toward Prescott/Chino Valley and then turn on to Watson Lake Park Rd. Go to the parking lot farthest from the main entry (by the Kayak Boat Dock).
Number of guests per member: Maximum 2