by Blake Herzog
Dogtastic trails that will make every hike a breeze for you and your beastie
If you’re a dog owner in Greater Prescott who hikes, it might seem a no-brainer to take your best pal along with you, combining their daily walk with your favorite cardio nature workout. And it almost is.
But not all trails are as suitable for our canines as they are for people. Granite or rocky surfaces can be too hot or slick for their tender paws, and gorgeous meadows can be rife with burrs and bugs. You need to also consider your pup’s discipline, behavior and excitability, and whether avoiding high-use trails might be best for everyone involved.
All that said, there are miles and miles of trails where you and your dog can revel in nature and healthy movement together, safely.
Officially known as the Prescott Peavine National Recreation Trail, this popular path follows a former Santa Fe Railroad bed 6 miles north to a trailhead at State Route 89A; its dirt path is wide enough to accommodate the plentiful hiking and biking traffic it attracts. It meets the Iron King Trail into Prescott Valley and the Lakeshore and Flume trails along Watson Lake.
Trailhead on Sundog Ranch Road next to Yavapai Humane Society.
Park has 3.24 miles of loop trails that include views across the south side of Prescott and over to Thumb Butte, a series of bluebird nesting boxes with shade from juniper and other trees. User reviews warn it can be very muddy on winter mornings, particularly after snowfall. 421 S. Virginia St.
Watson Woods Trails
Prescott’s largest riparian preserve at the south end of Watson Lake has a 2-mile loop trail that threads through cottonwoods, past water burbling over rocks in Granite Creek and awesome views of the Granite Dells. This trail is narrow in spots, so be sure you have a dog who knows how to make room for others. Connects the Peavine and Discovery trails. 1801 AZ 89.
Lynx Lake Recreation Trail No. 311
The 2.3-mile loop around Lynx Lake can be very busy, but is for reserved for hikers only so the added distraction of mountain bikes shouldn’t be an issue. Well-shaded, you’ll both enjoy the views of the lake and trees, and it’s a good length for dogs. And if you’re both up for more, just go around again! Begins and ends at Southshore parking lot.
This large park includes trails that take you into the hills for a great nature-based workout with spectacular views of Prescott Valley and Lynx Creek via a bridge just east of the dam that forms the lake. The Lynx Creek Loop Trail is about 1 mile and the Cavalry and Canyon trails combined are about 1.6 miles. 2200 W. 5th St., Prescott Valley.