Just a stones throw from downtown Prescott (an easy 6 mile drive), Granite Basin is a gorgeous section of the Prescott National Forest. Here, you can choose from more than a half dozen hikes.
Normally, I’d opt for the higher ground and head up Little Granite Mountain, but the day I visited was a scorcher. I chose an easy out and back on one of the lower creek-side trails, hoping that the ponderosa pines would shelter me from the blazing sun. Even with the shade, it was still HOT, too hot for hiking. And since I’d already beat myself up on the mountain bike at Goldwater Lake that morning, my mojo was a bit sapped too.
Granite Basin is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including snakes, lizards, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions. I didn’t see any of these critters most likely because they were all in siesta mode as I probably should have been too. Thinking back on it, a hammock under a shady tree by the lake with a refreshing beverage would have been made for an idyllic afternoon.
It was a pleasant hike, but not particularly scenic per se, except for the start and finish at stunning Granite Basin Lake. And I must say, it’s a bit tortuous on a hot day to look at a beautiful lake and be prohibited from jumping in it. Guess that’s mostly the case in Arizonia…Bummer, I guess you can’t have everything. I did spend some time on this hike day dreaming or hallucinating (not sure which) about my Eastern Sierra’s splash in Valentine Lake.
I’d like to come back to this area sometime when it’s cooler to explore some more and take in the views from Little Granite Mountain. And next time, maybe I’ll bring a hammock for that post-hike siesta too.
More info: Granite Basin Recreational Area, Prescott National Forest
Fee: $5 day use (Wednesdays are free.)
Use: Hiker, mountain bikers, horseback riders
Amenities: Restrooms & picnic tables
Granite Basin Campground: Yavapai Campground
Stay tuned for my top picks of places to stay and eat and for more of my active escapades in and around Prescott.
Hiking : Thumb Butte
Mountain Biking: Prescott Valley to Prescott via the Iron King & Peavine Trails