Red Mountain, in the Blue Hills


October 13, 2020, Dewey, AZ-

There are two Red Mountains, within a day’s driving distance of Prescott. One of these lies just south of this little ranching and farming community, southeast of Prescott. The Blue Hills, in which this Red Mountain may be found, are a rugged subrange of foothills to the larger Bradshaw Mountain chain, which stretches from Prescott’s southern edge to Black Canyon City and Crown King, at the southern tip of Yavapai County.

I’ve hiked a fair amount in the Bradshaws, over the past nine years. The hike today was my first visit to the Blue Hills region. I got there a little past 11:30, finding only two other visitors in the parking area. They were on their way out, so I had the trail to myself. Off it was, to Red Mountain of the Blue Hills.

The trail was introduced recently by the estimable Phoenix hiking trails writer, Mare Czinar. I found the trail exactly as she described it-beginning on a stony Forest Service road, then entering a forest of Gambel’s Oak and Alligator Juniper. After about 1.5 miles, the trail loses the forest, entering into a sparsely-vegetated area of scattered lone juniper trees and prickly pear cacti.

Switchbacks and mildly steep inclines take up the final mile or so, landing one very close to the summit of Red Mountain, with a Forest Service gate, that begins a trail to Lynx Lake, some five miles westward. I will check out Prospectors Trail, from the Salida Gulch area, later this Fall. For now, here are some of the views I encountered.

This message has wider implications for all of us.

Blue Hills Trail System joint-use guide
Red Mountain, from the Trailhead
Sandstone Outcropping, near Trailhead
Sandstone and Juniper mix
The trail passes alongside Green Gulch, for about .9 mile. Green Gulch, Red Mountain, Blue Hills-wonder where indigo and violet come in.
Year ago, there were miners panning for gold, in Green Gulch and in Salida Gulch, further southwest. This foundation is what’s left of one such mining claim.
Smidgens of Fall colours could be glimpsed, here and there.
This gate took m eout of BLM land and onto Prescott National Forest.
This is close to the end of the thick forest and start of high desert scrub.
The climb out of Green Gulch, and up onto the ridges of Red Mountain, begins here.
This large sandstone outcropping lies slightly to the east of the final ridge of Red Mountain.
Here is the reddish sandstone that gives the peak its name.
Once through this gate, one goes down into Salida Gulch, and on to Lynx Lake and Highlands Nature Center- five miles, one way.
This is one of several heart-shaped rocks, which always affirm my journey.

Fain Park, Revisited


December 18, 2016, Prescott Valley-

This city, southeast of “old” Prescott, is sometimes seen as a counterpart to Gertrude Stein’s Oakland- “No there, there”.  It does have its gems, though, among them, Fain Park, in the southwest corner of town.

I hadn’t been back to Fain, for three years now.  So, this afternoon, following a small biweekly get-together at a Prescott Valley restaurant, I took an hour’s walk along the park’s Cavalry and Canyon Loop trails.

Here are some views from the hike.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is a small lake, created by damming Lynx Creek, which flows down from the Bradshaw Mountains, towards the plains of central Yavapai County.  Lynx Creek also is the basis for Lynx Lake, a popular recreational reservoir, about five miles further southwest. Above, is a photo of Lynx Creek Gorge.


This is a view of the Barlow-Massicks House, a still-occupied complex, once associated with the gold mining, which took place long before Prescott Valley was established as a town.



On private land, south of Fain Park, there are several preserved ruins of stone miner’s cabins.


This is the mostly dry bed of Rose Creek, a tributary of Lynx Creek, and another locus of gold panning, in the early Twentieth Century.


I came upon Lynx Creek again, just before returning to the parking lot. It was running, just a bit, after Friday’s copious rains.

Fain Park remains, along with Glassford Hill and Mingus Mountain’s western slope, a fine place for connecting with one’s natural self, along the edges of a growing suburban community.