The Centennial Trail follows a curving path through boulders and canyons studded with scrub oak and ponderosa, all just more than half a mile west of Dignity Health-Yavapai Regional Medical Center.
Its rocky slopes and sometimes technically challenging directions give hikers a good workout throughout its semi-urban setting, with a good run of elevation gain at the end before seeing some remarkable petroglyphs.
There are a few ways to work this trail. Starting at the east end of the 2-mile crooked crescent on Westridge Drive you can proceed to the other end and turn back for a good 4 miles or turn around at the Kile Street trailhead at the halfway point for 2. You also can park at the end of Kile and travel 2 miles in either direction.
To see the trail in its entirety begin at the Westridge parking lot, which is about a fifth of a mile away from the Centennial trailhead. You first come to a series of steps, then travel a route that offers panoramic views of much of Prescott’s viewshed, including the Rodeo Grounds, Thumb Butte and Granite mountains. You’ll also see industrial and residential areas before reaching the second trailhead and crossing into the more challenging half of the path, watching the area’s continuing development.
Tackling steeper terrain, the trail follows Rockwood Drive above its path until it plunges into a secluded tree-lined canyon, which you cross three times on the trail before it loops around the petroglyph-adorned boulders that mark the end of the trailway and sends you heading back the way you came.
The Centennial Trail is as lovely under a blanket of snow as at other times of the year and you have a better chance of being treated with a glimpse of a running stream. Be careful, though, of the mud and ice that forms when it starts to melt!
Opened in 2012 in honor of the state’s centennial celebration that year, this scenic trail takes you up and down past intimidating yet magnificent boulders and some of the most sweeping views in Prescott, culminating with views of ancient petroglyphs at the trail’s highest point. The trail’s proximity to the Rodeo Grounds gives it connectivity to the Greenways Trail System that follows Miller Creek before threading through downtown.
The Centennial Trail is the product of the City of Prescott’s collaboration with the developer of the surrounding Preserves housing development, the Over the Hill gang and several other groups, giving this formerly informal trail new convenience for users.
This semi-urban trail has two access points with parking lots. One is reached by turning south onto Kile Street from Iron Springs Road, which takes you to the midway point, offering a 2-mile out-and-back trip either direction. The other is just past the eastern terminus of the trail on Westridge Drive west of Gail Gardner Way. Here, walk down Westridge until you see the trailhead on your right.
- Parking fees: None
- Uses: Hiking, mountain biking
- Distance: 1.94 miles (one way)
- Level of difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation: 5,447 feet to 5,729 feet