The Miller Creek Trail follows part of the stream it is named for, which usually takes the form of a babbling brook running down from the mountainside. In spring it can be more a raging creek — as the snow in the mountains melts — then shrinks to a trickle in the summer.
It traverses ponderosa forest and riparian woodlands that host nuthatches, acorn woodpeckers and other small forest birds.
This short trail’s slight incline makes it an easy route, and its attractive scenery makes it ideal for introducing younger children to the joys of hiking outdoors and learning about different animal and plant species.
The trees are plentiful but not overly dense, which makes it easier to spot kids who tend to wander off into nature when they can. It follows the south bank of the creek and can be crossed on foot, wheels or horses during lower flows.
This single-track stretch and many others in the area have been included in courses for the Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike races held at the end of April, so it is well-used by those training for or fantasizing about the iconic MTB event that brings throngs of enthusiasts to Greater Prescott.
Since this trail is not directly accessible from a parking lot, it is included in a variety of looping routes in the shadow of Thumb Butte. One 3-mile-plus loop travels along the trail until it ends at Thumb Butte Bypass Trail No. 326. This trail climbs the terrain until it reaches Garden Grove Trail No. 392, which treks back to the Miller Creek trail toward the parking lot.
This route provides a nice variety of tree- and cactus-studded habitat.
At its eastern end ,the Miller Creek Trail also branches off into Pott’s Creek Trail No. 327, which continues for another half-mile to the foot of Thumb Butte Trail No. 33 up and down the west side of that landmark, a good alternative approach to that very busy walkway.
Photo by Blushing Cactus Photography