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Name: Prescott #305 Trail Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on one vote)
Type: Bike Difficulty: (Medium-if you shuttle, challenging if you don't) The trail is non-technical. I rode the entire trail down. There are some fairly steep sections that if I was riding UP, I would have to walk my bike, but no significant obstacles. Bring your lungs, especially if you don’t shuttle
Time: 1-2 if you shuttle, double or more if you don't Region: NW Arizona
Length: Approximately 7 miles (one way), but there are multiple starting and stopping points so you can make it as long (or short) as you want Elevation gain/loss/change: +910 / -428 ft / +482 ft (one way) Don’t let this fool you. There’s a ton of climbing up and down on this trail
Type: Out-and-back (or shuttle) Avg Elevation: 5800 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, early/late summer Fees: NA (see note below in Special Considerations)
Fitness rating: Medium Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: November, 2009
Short Description: A great singletrack ride through the pine trees near Prescott
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area. Smith Ravine #1 (there's also a 2 and 3 close by). AZrunr6
References / Contact Information: Singletracks; Mountain bike Trails; Mountain Bike AZ
Points of interest: Tall pine trees. Awesome singletrack! Lynx Lake Recreational Area. Zeke’s
Special Considerations: The last time I visited this trail (November, 2009), the Forest Service has done away with the $2/day fee for parking. We asked the person in charge of the trailhead and he informed us that they no longer collect the fee. Some internet sites (and the FS own literature) are not up-to-date and still talk about this fee. All the payment boxes on the sign at the parking area had been removed
How to get there: I have three recommendations for riding this trail: The full ride, a three-quarters ride and the shuttle. Each start from a different location (though you can shuttle down to whatever low point your heart desires). The full ride starts you out 0.5 miles from the intersection of SR 69 and Walker Rd. There’s a trailhead on the right side (west) of Walker Rd. at Waypoint 001. There’s two parking areas, the one on the left (just as you come into the parking area) contains the trail. To get to the trailhead, just before you get into Prescott turn left on Walker Rd, at the sign for Lynx Lake Recreational area. For Google Maps directions from Tucson, click here.

The three-quarters ride starts you two miles along Walker Rd. (from SR 69). At Waypoint 005, turn right onto a short dirt road leading down to a small parking area The trail immediately goes through a large, long drainage tunnel that goes under the road. This can be ridden, but also can be a little disconcerting and scary. Take your sunglasses off before entering. About a hundred yards after you exit the drainage tunnel, the trail intersects Trail 305 (Waypoint 004). Turn right to ride up the trail, left to take you down to the full ride parking area

The shuttle ride starts you off at the top of the trail. Obviously, you’ll have to park a vehicle down either at the full trail or three-quarters trail parking areas. Go up Walker Rd. to Waypoint 010 (about five miles from SR 69). There’s a small trailhead parking area for the Smith Ravine trail on the right. This trail head serves a trail leading up into the fire ravaged forest (you don’t want this one). Directly across the main road, there’s a dirt road. Although you can’t see the sign for Trail 305 from the main road, it’s only about twenty feet along the dirt road on the left. This is the starting point for some great downhill

Trail Description

This is nice all singletrack trail located in Prescott. It’s non-technical, except for some tight switchbacks and steep climbs. If you want to get out of the heat and into the pines, this trail’s for you. But … make sure you bring your lungs (and your legs), you’ll be doing a ton of climbing. The trail is well-marked and GPS coordinates shouldn’t be required. I didn’t have to use it once—and I usually get lost quite easily.

General Information and History

Okay, first I’ve got to come clean on this trail. I cheated. I shuttled this trail. From the little information I read online before I went up, it looked like my legs would give out at the halfway mark, so I decided to shuttle it. And I’m glad I did.

I know, I know, all you young mountain bikers (or the older guys who’ve got legs of steel) are calling me a wimp, not a true mountain biker, yada, yada, yada. All of which I readily accept. But I still had fun. I don’t enjoy grinding up loooong, steep stretches of mountainsides. At least, not as much as flying down them.

Even so, don’t think that shuttling this trail will be a breeze. Even going from the top of the mountain down, for us city slickers that are used to 2000 ft. of elevation, there’s enough climbing to get your heart pumping quite a bit.

The top half of the trail is a blast: fast downhill (although it’s broken up by numerous tight switchbacks) through tall pine trees. The bottom half is an up-and-down roller coaster through the foothills and scrub trees.

The Prescott area also has a bunch more to offer:

How about a side trip to Lynx Lake? It’s a nice area for fishing, camping, and hiking. The lake is fairly large (by my southern Arizona standards). From what I saw, the campground is decent and well maintained. One year, my two daughters and I rented a small rowboat with an electric trolling motor from the boathouse. We had a great time cruising the lake for a couple of hours.

And then there’s the area around Prescott. You can ride the trail in the morning, then explore the mountain’s south of Prescott. There’s a ton of dirt roads, most of which can be done in a high clearance 2wd vehicles (or a car if you’re careful). A trip along Senator’s Highway and back around the western side of Prescott through Groom Creek won’t disappoint you (see upcoming post on 4wd-Az coming soon). While you’re in the area, you can also visit Old Prescott, which has quite a history.

One final place you HAVE to visit after your ride is Zeke’s—a place for eatin’. We’d heard of this restaurant from a couple of friends who used to live there. They raved about the food … and the huge portions. I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical, I can eat a half a cow after a long mountain bike ride. Now it’s confession time: none of us could eat the entire meal. And it was great food too. Yum. The people were fun and friendly—a triple bonus. Going to Zeke’s was almost better than the ride. Almost.

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The Trail

Although I shuttled this ride, I’m going to detail it as if you’re a better (and more fit) mountain biker than I and start from the full ride parking area. Proceed south from the trailhead (Waypoint 001) through scrub pines and up and down the small foothills. These aren’t too bad and are just a warm up for what’s coming. There are a few trail intersections, but these are well marked. Keep going on TR305. After about ¾ of a mile, you’ll cross Walker Rd. Continue up the trail another 0.7 miles and you’ll come to the Lynx Lake Ruins parking area (you can also start the ride from here if you want). Find the TR305 signpost at the other side of the parking area and keep going. NOTE: if you are riding this down as a shuttle, coming out of this parking area can be confusing. The only trail marker you can see from the parking area says it’s TR301. Go on that trail for about twenty feet and you’ll see TR305 turn off to the right.

At Waypoint 004, you’ll pass through a strange archway of walnut branches. This is a sculpture made by some Prescott College art students. Now, I’m not an artsy kind of guy, but it was still pretty cool. Just beyond (or just before if you’re coming down the hill) is the intersection of the super short trail through a large drainage tunnel to the three-quarters parking area (Waypoint 005). You’ll see the somewhat feint trail at the wooden trail marker and a sign with a miner’s symbol and the number 12.

Keep curving left to continue up TR305. Now you’ll start climbing through some tall pines. You’ll cross some paved roads. At Waypoint 006, you’ll begin crossing the Lynx Lake campground roads. You’ll cross a bunch of these, but again, the trail is well marked.

At Waypoint 009, you’ll pass another dirt road. Not far from here is where the climb really starts in earnest. Climb, then climb some more, then you can do some more climbing. When you reach the dirt road at the top of the climb, congratulations, you’re done! The parking area across the street (Waypoint 010) is where you want to park if you shuttle this ride.

Now, you can retrace your route and tear down the steep downhills you just busted your butt getting up. Be careful of other riders, horses and hikers though. This is a very popular trail!

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