Central Arizona's mild climate, stunning scenery, and world-class trails beckon residents and visitors alike to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. With motorized, non-motorized, and wilderness trails, Prescott National Forest provides outstanding opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders, and OHV enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Special events, such as mountain bike races and OHV events, occur on the Forest's trails. Public input and volunteer participation help shape the world-class trails system on Prescott National Forest today.
Some of the trails you'll visit on the forest are multiple-use, meaning that hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders annd ATVers may all share the same trail. A basic etiquette rule is Wheels Yield to Heels. Keep this in mind when approaching other trail users. Bicyclists or ATVers yield to all other users while hikers, walkers, yield to horseback riders. Please visit our Trail Etiquette: Sharing the Trail webpage for more information on respectful and responsible trails use.
Report Trail Conditions: Help us manage trails for your safety and enjoyment by reporting your experience here.
Wet Soil Hazards: Visitors Asked to Help Prevent Damage to Roads and Trails after Wet Weather
Travel of any kind, motorized of non-motorized, can cause damage to roads and trails during and after heavy rain and snow events. Please refrain from using trails if your mode of travel leaves deep marks or ruts. This Wet Soils Hazard Map (3 MB PDF) shows which parts of the Forest are most and least susceptible to damage.
Prescott National Forest offers excellent opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians with nearly 950 miles of scenic trails--450 of which are open to cyclists--and contains portions of the Prescott Circle Trail, a 50-mile loop around the City of Prescott. Use of electronic bicycles (e-bikes) is not allowed on non-motorized trails on the Forest.
If a backcountry experience is your pleasure, there are eight Wilderness Areas totaling more than 104,000 acres located entirely or partially within the Prescott National Forest. Within wilderness, travel is limited to foot or horseback, no mechanized equipment or vehicles are allowed.
Prescott National Forest has nearly 400 miles of trails designed for motorized travel. Two day-use sites, Hayfield Draw and Alto Pit, offer open areas to ride and there are challenging trails for everyone from beginners to expert riders. Alto Pit OHV Campground is located within an open ride area surrounded by trails designed for off-road enthusiasts. Of the 1300 miles of road on the forest, over 1200 miles are open to off-highway vehicles.
Electronic Bicycles (E-bikes)
For information about e-bikes on the Forest, please see Use of Electronic Bicycles (E-bikes) on Prescott National Forest
Travel Management Rule and Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)
The Travel Management Rule (TMR) was implemented on Prescott NF in 2009. TMR is a federal rule that requires all national forests and grasslands to designate a system of roads, trails, and areas for motorized use, and to prohibit all motor vehicle use off the designated system. Travel Management balances the public's enjoyment of motorized travel while caring for the land and its natural resources.
- Free Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) that indicate what roads, trails, and areas are open to motor vehicle travel are available at each district office and online. It is your resoponsibility to ensure you are driving on an open road or trail or within and open area, and the free MVUM will provide you with this information. Follow the link above to download a copy.
Volunteers are the backbone of the Forest's Trails program, and there are numerous ways for you to get involved if you're interested in helping take care of Prescott National Forest's outstanding trails system. For more information contact Michael Reveile by email at: email@example.com, or by phone at: 928-777-2216.
- The Over the Hill Gang volunteers from 7:50am to Noon on Thursdays. They work throughout the Prescott Basin. Work locations vary, email Michael Reveile, firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 928-777-2216 for more information.
- Verde Valley Trail Volunteers work from 8:00 am to Noon on Mondays. They work in the Camp Verde and Cottonwood area in the winter and spring and Mingus Mountain Recreation area in the summer. Email Isabelle Stine, email@example.com, or call 928-567-1126 for more information.
- Back Country Horsemen of Central Arizona sponsors group rides and several trail work days throughout the year.
- Prescott Trail Riders sponsors group rides and monthly trail work days throughout the year on motorized trails across the forest.
- Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance sponsors races, group rides, and monthly trail work days throughout the year. PMBA also maintains the Spence Basin trail system through the Prescott National Forest Adopt-a-Trail program.
- Yavapai Trails Association completes work projects by securing grant funding and sponsors several volunteer trail work days throughout the year.
- Prescott National Forest Adopt-a-Trail Program: Both organizations and individuals can adopt trails. With over 900 miles of trails to maintain, the Prescott National Forest continues to seek volunteers who are interested in adopting their favorite trail(s). For more information please visit the Prescott National Forest Adopt-a-Trail webpage where you’ll find detailed instructions for how to go about adopting your own trail!
Horse Riding & Camping
While most trails on the Forest are open to equestrians, some are more suited to a peaceful ride than others. The Forest's eight Wilderness Areas are ideal places to ride horses as mechanized equipment is not allowed in Wilderness so there are no OHVs or cyclists that may spook horses on these trails. Horse camping opportunities are plentiful on the Forest. Groom Creek Horse Camp is a specialized campground for equestrians only that is available by reservation, and horse riders frequent the trails in the area. Trailhead #307 is located across the road from Groom Creek Horse Camp and offers day-use parking for equestrians to access area trails including the Groom Creek Loop Trail. In Granite Basin Recreation Area, Cayuse Equestrian Trailhead has plenty of room for trailers to park and turn around, and adjacent trails are popular with horse riders.
Most developed recreation sites on the Forest are fully- or partially-paved and accessible to people who use wheelchairs.
Accessible trails include:
- The western portion of Lynx Lake Recreation Trail #311 is paved between the North Shore and Shouth Shore picnic areas
- The Groom Creek Nature Trail is paved and has features designed for blind and visually impaired people
- The trail to the Verde River at White Bridge Picnic Area is not paved all the way to the river, but is paved to where the river can be seen and enjoyed
- Black Canyon River Access Point is paved to the edge of the Verde River
- There are paved trails at the Highlands Center for Natural History
Easy trails: A complete list of "easy" trails would be difficult to compile. The beginning of of even some challenging trails is easy for a stretch. If you're looking for a trail to hike with small children or people with limited mobility, it is a good idea to visit the trail's webpage and see if the description gives clues to its difficulty level. Our most popular trails include this information. If you have questions about more remote trails, that may have limited information on the website, please contact us. Easy trails that are not listed with the accessible trails above, include:
Prescott National Forest has numerous interconnected trails across the forest. The Prescott Circle Trail crosses multiple jurisdictional boundaries as it circumnavigates the City of Prescott. Descriptions on individual trails' webpages note which trails interconnect. If you have questions about loop trails and can't find the information on the website, please contact us.
Alerts & Warnings
- Crooks Fire Closure Area, Reduced
- STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONS NOW IN EFFECT; RESTRICCIONES DE FUEGOS ETAPA 1
- Fossil Creek & Forest Road 708 Closed until 12/31/22 for public health and saf
- Target Type restrictions implemented across the Prescott NF
- Temporary Camping Restrictions along Highway 260 and Salt Mine Road Corridor
- Drones Use on Forest Service Lands