Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 2: Thumb Butte Road to Iron Springs


April 24, 2016, Prescott- Today was another picture perfect day, with less wind than yesterday.  Thus, it was the right time to hike the 8-mile round trip, from one iconic landmark (Thumb Butte) to the near approaches of another(Granite Mountain).

Actually, I reversed the order, as Iron Springs’ parking lot is spacious and well off-road.  I was met by a couple who were on a short bicycle ride.  They went as far as the Fireplace Ruin, a distance of 1.8 miles.  That segment of trail follows an abandoned rail bed, the route of which once connected the mining camps of Iron Springs with downtown Prescott.  With those camps long closed, the route evolved into a Rails-to-Trails path.  There are several fine views, to the east, from the trail.

The left photo shows the Bradshaw Mountains, while the right-hand view is of two adjoining subdivisions, to the east. Below left, is a view of Badger Peak, five miles to the southeast.

The above right scene shows some of the rock that was cut away, to push the rail bed through.  Below it, new growth has helped in recovery from the Indian Fire, of 2002, but the area was hit again, in 2013, by the Doce Fire.

The dryness of our region concerns me, and we are doing all possible to avoid another serious fire season. This section of trail seemed drier than the last two, with sandy soil along much of the route.


This pump house is situated to help, in the event of another fire.

Another 1/4 mile ahead, the ruins of an old mining cabin attest to the ravages of fire.  The only thing left standing is the fireplace!


Fireplace Ruin, Javelina Trail, Prescott

Granite boulders signal the turn-off from the abandoned rail bed, and Javelina Trail heads around a couple of small foothills of the Sierra Prieta.


Granite boulder field, Javelina Trail

Willow Creek’s South Fork is the only running water along the trail, and it was not running today.


South Fork, Willow Creek


Looking vaguely like a moai head.

This boulder reminded me,obliquely, of a moai, from Easter Island.

Once I hiked over and above the drainage area of Willow Creek, Thumb Butte could be seen to the southeast.


Northwestern view of Thumb Butte.

Arizona woodpeckers are active here, as elsewhere along Prescott Circle Trail. As I learned last summer, in the Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA, these birds share nests with a variety of other creatures.


Arizona Woodpecker nests, Javelina Trail

So I have explored another segment of our area’s comprehensive trail system.  One segment remains- the area between Iron Springs and Williamson Valley Road, a distance of 5 miles each way.  I will see whether the effects of the 2013 Doce Fire are as telling there, as they are, in patches, here.