After a lovely night on Thumb Butte Road, the following morning Annie and I drove to Granite Mountain Trail about half an hour north. Along with Thumb Butte Road, Granite Mountain Trail is located in the Prescott National Forest. Granite Basin Lake is nearby, so there are a variety of parking areas for the beaches and boat launching. There is also a parking area with bathrooms at the trailhead as indicated by AllTrails.
Granite Mountain Trail
The trail begins in forest which was appealing to me. I prefer evergreens over cactus and scrub. Annie enjoyed it too, once again running around like crazy. Sometimes I wonder how she can have so much energy. She exhausts me while I attempt to exhaust her!
The trail ascends through the trees to open, southwestern terrain with views of Granite Mountain. I was surprised to find a drier climate of cacti and scrub oak as we climbed. Regardless, it afforded magnificent views of the surrounding valley when I wasn’t busy pulling cacti thorns out of Annie’s bleeding leg!
I stopped for many photos along the way, and I’m glad I did, as I think some of the best views were along the ascent with the giant boulders that lined the trail. While the hike to Granite Mountain is 7.9 miles, almost all of 1,650 feet of elevation is gained in two miles, though the grade was reasonable.
After following a handful of switchbacks, soon I reached the ridge where the trail turns to the right and provides views of the valley on the other side. This side of the mountain suffered a forest fire. What was once a forest, was now burnt trees.
While it’s sad to see the destruction, it was also sort of pretty in its own way. We trekked through the burnt trees and popped over another ridge for our previous views. Here the trail is flat and making it this far is rewarding enough.
While I kept going, the views didn’t improve much, though exploring opportunities abound. You hike past more boulders and eventually see Granite Basin Lake. As a result, for anyone who wants a shorter hike, you can shave off a mile roundtrip by stopping at the last ridge and still appreciate the grandeur.
We had the peak to ourselves as we snapped selfies and ate a snack. Or at least I did. Annie dropped her bone between the crack of two rocks and there was no retrieving it. Fortunately, I had a few treats left. Overall, I really liked the variety of Granite Mountain Trail and recommend this moderate hike. ETB
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