The Cayuse Loop includes West Lake Trail #351, Chimbley Water Trail #348, Willow Trail #347, and Willow Connector Trail #346, and begins at the Cayuse Equestrian Trailhead within the Granite Basin Recreation Area. It offers impressive views of Granite Mountain and the surrounding forested area. Although there is little elevation change along the loop, it travels through both ponderosa forest and chaparral. Due in part to this combination of habitats, the area is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including snakes, lizards, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, and others.
The Cayuse Loop starts out on West Lake Trail #351, which passes through stands of ponderosa pine and alligator juniper as it travels toward Granite Basin Lake. The trail crosses a creek a number of times. Although the creek is usually dry, its banks are lined with dense vegetation nourished by occasional flows. The loop continues on Chimbley Water Trail #348, which climbs gently over exposed granite for a short distance through chaparral before joining up with Willow Trail #347. The junction is in a forest setting where it is common to encounter various birds and small mammals, such as rabbits. This section of Trail #347 is fairly level and travels south past large granite boulders, some of which stand at unusual, seemingly precarious angles. Farther along, the trail narrows as it traverses an exposed hillside where it meets Willow Connector Trail #346. Trail #346 proceeds downhill and passes through a series of gates before turning north to return to the Cayuse Equestrian Trailhead.
This loop is open to hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bicyclists. Please be considerate of other users—slow down and know when to yield the trail. Dogs must be on leashes; please clean up after pets. Restrooms are available at the parking area. Other amenities at the trailhead include water for horses, hitching posts, and picnic tables.
- Cayuse Loop Description and Map (727 KB; Black and White; 8.5” X 11”)
- Granite Basin Recreation Area Brochure (1.54 MB)
At a Glance
|Operational Hours:||Day-use sites and trailheads:
|Open Season:||Year Round|
|Closest Towns:||Approximately 20 minutes from Prescott, AZ|
|Water:||Water available in parking area. Surface water should be treated.|
From its intersection with Willow Creek Road, travel northwest on Iron Springs Road for 3 miles. Turn right onto Granite Basin Road and proceed 2.4 miles to the Cayuse Equestrian Trailhead on the right. Continue 0.1 miles to the parking area. There is ample parking for horse trailers and regular vehicles. Road conditions are paved.
- USGS Map: 7.5’ quad for Iron Springs
- Prescott National Forest Map, west half
- Average hiking time: 1.5 hours, round trip
- This loop is a popular intermediate route that provides a classic biking experience in the Granite Basin area. Please be aware that this is a high traffic area with hikers and horseback riders on the trail. Maintain a reasonable speed and know when to yield the trail.
- A pleasant hike through the Granite Basin area. Please be aware that this is a high traffic area with horseback riders and bicyclists on the trail.
- This loop is a pleasant ride through the Granite Basin area. Please be aware that this is a high traffic area with hikers and bicyclists on the trail.
Alerts & Warnings
- STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTIONS IN EFFECT; RESTRICCIONES DE FUEGOS ETAPA 2 EN EFECTO
- 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