Prescott National Forest is known as a mountain biking mecca that embodies some of the best riding in the Southwest. The federally-designated land stretches across 1.25 million acres and contains more than 450 miles of non-motorized trail and singletrack. The entire forest is divided by Interstate 17, hugging the city of Prescott to the west and encompassing the Bradshaw, Juniper, Santa Maria, and Sierra Prieta Mountains. The eastern half sprawls toward the Verde River headwaters, covering notable destinations such as Mingus Mountain and Jerome.*
We took a look at www.mtbproject.com, an REI crowd-sourced trail guide that showcases thousands of routes and trails across the U.S. Here’s the top 10 recommended trails for the Prescott area, just minutes from Talking Rock: https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8011372/prescott
Acker Park, Goldwater Lake, 14.2 miles, intermediate, avg. grade 3%, at J.S. Acker Memorial Park. A fantastic loop from town and a local favorite. https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7043268/acker-park-goldwater-lakes-loop.
Pioneer Park NICA 2018 Race Course, 6.5 miles, easy/intermediate, avg. grade 2%, at Pioneer Park. The course for the high school and middle school races during the fall.
Goldwater Lakes Out-and-Back, 13.1 miles, easy/intermediate, avg. grade 4%, at Goldwater Lake. Easy to navigate.
Painted Rock Loop, 13.2 miles, intermediate/difficult, avg. grade 3%, near Thumb Butte area. Amazing trail with great scenery by Willow Creek.
Prescott Circle Trail, 57.1 miles, intermediate/difficult, avg. grade 4%, circumnavigates Prescott, may be started in any number of spots. The areas by Willow and Watson Lakes are the most family friendly.
#95 Salida Gulch Trail, 4.2 mile loop, intermediate, avg. grade 4%, access off Lynx Creek Ruin Rd. off Walker Rd. Gentle climb with petroglyphs, then fast downhill.
Constellation Trails, 3.0 miles, difficult, avg. grade 4%, north of Prescott. Trail is just past where a Lockheed C-121G Super Constellation crashed. Steep short climb and drops.
Emmanuel Pines Loop, 8.4-mile loop, intermediate, avg. grade 3%, Spence Basin Trail Network, west of Prescott. Contains some of the newest and most fun trails being built by the City of Prescott, Prescott National Forest and the Over the Hill Gang.
Mt. Francis Loop, 23.4-mile loop, intermediate/difficult, avg. grade 4%, climbs through Thumb Butte area. Several optional routes that climb through the ponderosa pines.
Smith Ravine & Spruce Mountain, 17.5-mile loop, intermediate/difficult, avg. grade 8%, southeast of Prescott. Great view from the top of Spruce Mountain, with wildlife along the trail.
Need a bike rental or repairs?
Bikesmith Cyclery, https://www.bikesmith-cyclery.com/
Carries bikes, parts and accessories ideal for the area and the southwest in general. A repair-focused shop. Call the shop to reserve a rental at 928-445-0280.
Soul Ride—Prescott Mountain Biking, 230 S Montezuma St, Prescott, https://soulride.bike/.
Founded by Prescott local mountain bikers, the purpose is to introduce all people to the joys of Prescott mountain biking. Tours, bike shop and classes.
Prescott Bike Rentals,
https://www.prescottbikerentals.com/, full service mobile bike shop. They can service your bike on location or pick it up and bring it back. Delivery service for bike rentals.
*Thanks to www.singletracks.com for this information.
If you love Prescott, but like your independence, visit Talking Rock www.talkingrockaz.com.
Thirty minutes from downtown Prescott, this private, guard-gated master-planned community offers a variety of home sites and new customized homes, whether you want to live on the golf course or adjacent to Arizona State Trust Land. Home sites are ½ to 10-acres in size.